New online Inupiaq dictionary and sentence-building app

In June, Arctic Slope Community Foundation (ASCF) announced its language learning website, which combines Iñupiaq language preservation with modern technology.

Funded by the Dept. of Health and Human Services and administered by ASCF, the website was built by Alaska Native web developers Christopher Egalaaq Liu (Yup’ik) and Lonny Alaskuk Strunk (Yup’ik) in conjunction with acclaimed Iñupiaq academic administrator, linguist, anthropologist and educator Edna Ahgeak Paniattaaq MacLean, Ph.D.

The site references the North Slope Iñupiaq dictionary, which was primarily written by Dr. Edna MacLean in the 1980s, and combines innovative computer programming to make learning the Iñupiaq language easier for all.

Not only a dictionary, the website also offers a sentence-building function and an audio library to hear the way words are pronounced. Once a vocabulary is established, a user can learn the proper way to structure the words in a sentence and then reference the correct pronunciation in the audio library.

Based on the highly successful language website Liu and Strunk made for their Yup’ik language a few years ago, is the first of its kind for the North Slope dialect of Iñupiaq.

Arctic Slope Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the Iñupiaq people of the North Slope as well as provide quality educational tools for preserving their language and way of life.