Culture

How many ways can you say “stop” in Inuktitut?

Elle Canada
Culture

How many ways can you say “stop” in Inuktitut?

StopSignsRankinInletIqaluit

There are apparently six different ways to say “stop” in Inuktitut. I snapped these two stop sign versions in Rankin Inlet (left) and in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

On a recent trip to Nunavut to check out one of Canada Goose’s new Resource Centres, I noticed something strange about the stop signs—the Inuktitut words were not all the same. “Is it just me, or are the translations on the stop signs different?” I asked Jimi Onalik, First Air’s business development manager—and our super-patient host and de facto tour guide—as he showed us around Rankin Inlet. Find out how the translations differ…  Jimi just laughed. “Sometimes the translation is ‘This is the place to stop’ other times it is ‘You all stop’ and sometimes the signs say ‘I stop,’” he said. He went on to explain that because the stop signs didn’t all go up at once and often need to be replaced, over the years, different governments have used different Inuktitut phrases and translations which accounts for six or so variations. “It’s a complex language and it can be hard to agree,” he said. Personally, I think it's pretty cool—as long as everyone still gets that "stop" means "stop." ELLECanadaFebruary2014ELLEWorld To read more about my adventure in Nunavut, pick up our February 2014 issue for ELLE World: Stitched Together: Canada Goose gets wrapped up in the strong sewing culture of Canada’s North. Read More: ELLE World: Close-knit: Is there a right way to make clothes? 
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How many ways can you say “stop” in Inuktitut?