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November/December 2011

Over the last decade and a half or so the visual reproduction of the written syllabic form of the Inuktitut language has overcome many challenges while delivering more than a few “hits and misses” in its necessary transition to achieve cross-platform versatility and typographical perfection in our advancing digital age, the online revolution and the age of social media and instantaneous mass communication.

But as young northerners — many of whom are today pointedly tech savvy and well equipped with the latest in gadgets and digital gizmos will tell the ever-dwindling number of high technology contrarians that still might remain, “oh, that’s so yesterday, man.”

And so it is today with the advent of the “APP age” a fairly recent phenomenon in terms of years. For the last few years there’s virtually an application available for anything and everything that has been, or is being, developed. Hundreds of them definitely useful, expanding the efficacy of all the devices we’ve become dependent upon in our daily lives to the point that our devices are being seen as necessary to our very survival. On the flipside thousands of them might be categorized as nearly or entirely useless with few redeeming qualities other than that they exist or might be free under the guise of expanding the capabilities of our communications devices.

Thanks in fair measure to the efforts of tech visionary, the late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc., his company’s devices and the supporting software it and independent software developers and producers are making available for Apple and Android device platforms they lead the pack (sorry RIM) with new applications that would appeal and be useful to youth.

Coming soon and following on the heals of the successful online language learning website tusaalanga.ca and specifically for the i-Touch, i-Phone and i-Pad, is an integrated and fully interactive Inuktitut language learning application, Tusaalanga iPod APP developed in the North by the Pirurvik Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut. With the prevalence of Apple devices, especially amongst northern youth, a new door to continue learning and maintaining their language will be open to them and of course, simultaneously, to the rest of the world.

Also, a recent announcement by the Canada Council for the Arts, bodes well for those Inuit artists wishing to access grants to continue their work in their own language. The Canada Council recently made available its new software application for Apple devices and it will contain for the first time ever, a grant form in Inuktitut so that unilingual northern artists might apply for grants or assist ance in their own language.