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Unified Canadian Aboriginal SyllabicsCans

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7

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Title
Athabaskan Syllabics
Blackfoot Syllabics
Inuktitut sample written in Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics
Inuktitut Syllabics
Sample Texts
The Cree Account of the Origins of Syllabics
Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics for the Carrier (Dakelh) language

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26
Writing systems that use this script (26)
Name Code Is used to write language
Beaver written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script bea-Cans Beaver [bea]
Carrier written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script crx-Cans Carrier [crx]
Chipewyan written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script chp-Cans Chipewyan [chp]
Chippewa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ciw-Cans Chippewa [ciw]
Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script cr-Cans Cree [cre]
Eastern Canadian Inuktitut written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ike-Cans Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian [ike]
Eastern Ojibwa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ojg-Cans Ojibwa, Eastern [ojg]
Inuinnaqtun written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ikt-Cans Inuinnaqtun [ikt]
Inuktitut written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script iu-Cans Inuktitut [iku]
Moose Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script crm-Cans Cree, Moose [crm]
Naskapi written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script nsk-Cans Naskapi [nsk]
North Slavey written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script scs-Cans Slavey, North [scs]
Northern East Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script crl-Cans Cree, Northern East [crl]
Northwestern Ojibwa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ojb-Cans Ojibwa, Northwestern [ojb]
Ojibwa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script oj-Cans Ojibwa [oji]
Plains Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script crk-Cans Cree, Plains [crk]
Sekani written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script sek-Cans Sekani [sek]
Severn Ojibwa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ojs-Cans Ojibwa, Severn [ojs]
Siksika written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script bla-Cans Siksika [bla]
Slave (Athapascan) written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script den-Cans Slave (Athapascan) [den]
South Slavey written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script xsl-Cans Slavey, South [xsl]
Southern Carrier written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script caf-Cans Carrier, Southern [caf]
Southern East Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script crj-Cans Cree, Southern East [crj]
Swampy Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script csw-Cans Cree, Swampy [csw]
Western Ojibwa written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script ojw-Cans Ojibwa, Western [ojw]
Woods Cree written with Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script cwd-Cans Cree, Woods [cwd]

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  • Athabaskan syllabic writing systems were developed in the late 1800s by French Roman Catholic missionaries who adapted this originally Protestant writing scheme to languages radically different from the Algonquian languages. Most Athabaskan languages have more than four distinct vowels, and all have many more distinct consonants than Cree. This has meant the invention of a number of new consonant forms. Whereas most Athabaskan scripts, such as those for Slavey and Chipewyan, bear a reasonably close resemblance to Cree syllabics, the Carrier (Dakelh) variant is highly divergent, and only one series - the series for vowels alone - resembles the original Cree form.

    In order to accommodate six distinctive vowels, Dakelh supplements the four vowel orientations with a dot and a horizontal line in the rightward pointing forms: ᐊ a, ᐅ /ʌ/, ᐈ e, ᐉ i, ᐃ o, and ᐁ u.

    One of the Chipewyan scripts is more faithful to western Cree. (Sayisi Chipewyan is substantially more divergent.) It has the nine forms plus the western l and r series, though the rotation of the l- series has been made consistently counter-clockwise. The k- and n- series are more angular than in Cree: ki resembles Latin "P". The c series has been reassigned to dh. There are additional series: a regular ch series, unsupported by Unicode, but graphically a doubled t (something like Ɛ for cha, Ɯ for che, 3 for cho, etc.); and an irregular z series, where ze is derived by counter-clockwise rotation of za, but zi by clockwise rotation of zo:

    ᘛ   zi
    ᘔ ᘕ za zo
    ᘚ ze

    Other series are formed from dh or t. A mid-line final Cree t preceding dh forms th, a raised Cree final p following t forms tt, a stroke inside t forms tth (ᕮ ttha), and a small t inside t forms ty (ᕳ tya). Nasal vowels are indicated by a following Cree final k.

    All Athabaskan syllabic scripts are now obsolescent.

  • Blackfoot, another Algonquian language, uses a syllabary that is quite different from the Cree and Inuktitut versions. Blackfoot has eleven consonants and three vowels, most of which can occur long or short. It has nine basic consonant forms, only two of which are identical to their Cree equivalents. The others are in their e series are modified from the Latin alphabet, though three Cree series are retained with new sound values. The new forms, given in the o series (which corresponds graphically to the a series of Cree), are ᖲ o, ᖶ wo, ᖺ no, ᖾ ko, and ᗃ ha. Old forms with new values are ᑲ po, ᒐ mo, and ᒪ to. Forms with the same consonantal values are ᓴ so and ᔭ yo (here only the vowels have changed). There are also a number of distinct final forms.

    The four vowel positions are used for the three vowels and one of the diphthongs of Blackfoot. The script is now obsolescent.

  • This is a sample of the Inuktitut language written with the Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabic script. The carving was done by Tim Brookes as part of the  Endangered Alphabets Project.

    Source

    From an original carving by Tim Brookes. Used with permission.

    Copyright© Tim Brookes 2011
    LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Allows modification and redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The eastern form of Cree syllabics was adapted to write the Inuktitut dialects of Nunavut (except for the extreme west, including Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay) and Nunavik in northern Quebec. In other Inuit areas, various Roman alphabet-based schemes are used.

    Inuktitut has only three vowels, and thus only needs the a-, i-, and o-series of Cree, the latter used for /u/. The e-series was originally used for the common diphthong /ai/, but this was officially dropped in the 1960s so that Inuktitut wouldn’t have more characters than could be moulded onto an IBM Selectric typewriter ball, with -ai written as an a-series syllable followed by ᐃ i. Recently the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami decided to restore the ai-series, and the Makivik Corporation has adopted this use in Nunavik; it has not been restored in Nunavut.

    Inuktitut has more consonants than Cree, fifteen in its standardised form. As Inuktitut has no /ts/, the c series has been reassigned to the value g (/ɡ ~ ɣ/). The y series is used for either y- or j-, since the difference is one of dialect. The eastern Cree l series is used: ᓚ la, ᓗ lu, ᓕ li, ᓓ lai; a stroke is added to these to derive the voiceless lh (/ɬ/) series: ᖤ lha, etc. The eastern Cree f series is used for Inuktitut v-: ᕙ va, etc. The eastern Cree r series is used for the very different Inuktitut sound, /ɢ ~ ʁ/, which is also spelled r in Roman orthography. However, this has been regularized in form, with vowels of like height consistently derived through counter-clockwise rotation, and therefore rai the inversion of ri:

    ᕆ   ri
    ᕋ ᕈ ra ru
    ᕂ rai

    The remaining sounds are written with  digraphs. A raised ra is prefixed to the k-series to create a digraph for q: ᖃ qa, etc.; the final is ᖅ -q. A raised na-ga is prefixed to the g-series to create an ng (/ŋ/) series: ᖓ nga, etc., and the na is doubled for  geminate nng (/ŋː/): ᙵ nnga. The finals are ᖕ and ᖖ.

    In Nunavut, the h final has been replaced with Roman ᕼ, which does not rotate, but in Nunavik a new series is derived by adding a stroke to the k-series: ᕹ ha, etc.

    In the early years, Roman Catholic and Anglican missionaries used slightly different forms of syllabics for Inuktitut. In modern times, however, these differences have disappeared. Dialectical variation across the syllabics-using part of the Inuit world has promoted an implicit diversity in spelling, but for the most part this has not had any impact on syllabics itself.

  • A number of syllabics texts can be viewed in the appendices of  Michael Everson's proposal to WG2.

    ContributorScriptSource Staff
  • Although most historical accounts name James Evans as the inventor of the syllabic system, Cree oral history relates an indigenous syllabic script. According to one traditional account, a Cree elder named Calling Badger (also Badger Bull or Mistanaskowew), born around 1830, was on his way to a sacred meeting when he struck by a bright light, out of which he heard a voice calling his name. Soon afterwards, Calling Badger became ill, and apparently died. However, as the people were preparing to bury him some days later, they discovered that rigor mortis had not set in as it normally would have, so they allowed the body to remain for one more night. The next day, Calling Badger awoke and related to the people that he had gone to the spirit world, where he had been given a set of symbols with which the Cree people could write down their language.
    At the same time, a second Cree elder living on the opposite side of the country was also given knowledge of the syllabic system. Knowledge of the script spread from these two elders amongst all the Cree peoples.
    According to Cree oral history, when the missionaries discovered that the native people had a writing system, they stole the birch barks on which it was written, changed some of the letters, and claimed they had invented it.
    Notable supporters of this account from outside the Cree community include the anthropologist Verne Dusenberry.

    Source

    Winona Stevenson, 'Calling Badger and the Symbols of the Spirit Language: The Cree Origins of the Syllabic System', oral history forum d'histoire orale, 19/20 (1999-2000), 19-24

    ContributorScriptSource Staff
  • The first page of the first issue of a bimonthly newspaper, written in the Dakelh language using Carrier Syllabics (part of the Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics range). The newspaper was called Dustl'us Nawhulnuk and ran from 1891 to 1894.

    Source

    William J Poser, D lk’wahke: The First Carrier Writing System, University of Pennsylvania, 2003

    CopyrightNot indicated
    LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Allows modification and redistribution
    ContributorSteph Holloway

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Copyright © 2017 SIL International and released under the  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA) unless noted otherwise. Language data includes information from the  Ethnologue. Script information partially from the  ISO 15924 Registration Authority. Some character data from  The Unicode Standard Character Database and locale data from the  Common Locale Data Repository. Used by permission.