inuit word for polar bear

inuit word for polar bear

inuit word for polar bear

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inuit word for polar bear
inuit word for polar bear

inuit word for polar bear cub

Nanuq
The female cub was named Nanuq, the Inuit word for polar bear, and the male cub Siku, the Inuit word for ice. Names for the female cub were submitted by children and staff at the Churchill Children’s Centre and names for the male cub were submitted by conservancy staff.

 how do you say polar bear in inuit

In Inuit religion, Nanook (/ˈnænuːk/; Inuktitut: ᓇᓄᖅ [naˈnuq], lit. “polar bear”) was the master of bears, meaning he decided if hunters deserved success in finding and hunting bears and punished violations of taboos. The word was popularized by Nanook of the North, the first feature-length documentary.

what is the inuit word for polar bear

The female cub was named Nanuq, the Inuit word for polar bear, and the male cub Siku, the Inuit word for ice.

polar bear in eskimo language

In Inuit religion, Nanook (/ˈnænuːk/; Inuktitut: ᓇᓄᖅ [naˈnuq], lit. “polar bear”) was the master of bears, meaning he decided if hunters deserved success in finding and hunting bears and punished violations of taboos. The word was popularized by Nanook of the North, the first feature-length documentary.

Nothing cute about it: Misnamed plush polar bear irks Inuit

‘They’re taking our language and suiting it to their own interpretation. It bugs me,’ says Inuvik’s Joey Amos

When using an Inuit word to sell a product, at least translate it well.

Or just don’t use it all.

That’s how Joey Amos of Inuvik, N.W.T. feels about the plush bear Ty Inc. calls Nanook Nanuq.

On the tag, the stuffed animal’s name is translated as “cute polar bear,” when in fact, there’s nothing cute about it. The two words are just different ways of writing “polar bear.”

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“It’s not right, so I’ve tried making contact with the folks with Ty through their Facebook,” says Amos.

Amos said the Illinois-based company responded that they did not mean to disrespect any Indigenous group, and they would get back to him.  That was on June 21, Aboriginal Day.

inuit word for polar bear
inuit word for polar bear

More than two months later, Amos is still waiting for an answer. He warned them he would speak his mind on social media and finally did so on Sept. 5.

“They’re taking our language and suiting it to their own interpretation. It bugs me,” said Amos. “They should be actually talking with the Inuit that have traditional knowledge and know how to translate.”

The Nanook Nanuq polar bear was introduced in May, to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary. It’s presented as a “proud Canadian” and “the cutest and most lovable polar bear cub around.”

Ty Inc. also sells other polar bears called Igloo, Aurora, Alpine and Iceberg, as well as a husky called Yukon.

And another husky called … Nanook.

Inuktitut speakers question polar bear cub’s “Inuit” name

You’ve likely seen the images of the Toronto Zoo’s now three-month-old polar bear cub splashed across social media.

Photos released by the zoo in recent weeks show the cub’s little snout covered in snow as he frolics through his outdoor play area for the first time.

The 10.8-kilogram cub is growing quickly and zoo officials are now looking for a name, so they’ve reached out to the public for help.

And these are the options: Humphrey, Orson, James (from James Bay), Lorek, Stirling and Searik.

The last one, zoo officials say, is Inuit for “beautiful” — a fitting name for an Arctic creature that has captured a southern audience.

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Piita Irniq

But something sounded off to Piita Irniq when he heard the name Searik. A former Commissioner of Nunavut, who also served as the Government of Nunavut’s deputy minister of culture and language, posted the Toronto Zoo’s naming contest to his Facebook page this week, asking Inuit friends where this word came from.

inuit word for polar bear
inuit word for polar bear

The response? It’s not a word – not in Inuktitut, anyway.

“I have no idea about this name,” Irniq said. “Searik is not an Inuit word and it doesn’t mean beautiful. Nunavutmiut don’t seem to know what it means.”

In a flood of responses to a post on Nunatsiaq News’ Facebook page, most Inuit say the word beautiful translates as “piujuq” or “pinniqtuq” in the Nunavut or Nunavik dialects of Inuktitut.

Searik doesn’t appear to come from Inuktitut dialects outside of Canada, either. Nuka Møller from Greenland’s Language Secretariat wondered if it could have come “from a misunderstood form of the ending –tsiaq….that we sometimes use alone?”

Commenter Becky Mearns suggested the same thing: “It is a suffix that would be added to a word to imply the beauty of a said thing,” she wrote.

A number of Nunavimmiut

A number of Nunavimmiut commented that Searik sounds similar to “sirik,” which was traditionally used as an expression of thanks before a meal.

And someone else said Searik sounded close to the word “siutuq” or heartburn in Inuktitut.

In an email from the Toronto Zoo to Nunatsiaq News, a spokeswoman said the name Searik was suggested by the zoo’s wildlife care team.

“In our research we were able to confirm the meaning was correct,” she said, referring to a Wiki Answers page.

But Piita Irniq isn’t convinced. He’s written a letter to the zoo to tell them the word isn’t recognizable in the Inuit language, although he’s yet to receive a response.

A number of other comments to Nunatsiaq News suggested the zoo instead name the cub “aputik,” which means snow; others just found it difficult to imagine an Arctic animal living in a southern setting.

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The cub is the fourth addition to the Toronto Zoo’s polar bear family. The baby was born to mother Aurora and father Inukshuk last November. Both adults were orphaned as babies along a southwestern stretch of Hudson Bay, and brought to the zoo in 2002 at four months of age.

You can vote for the polar bear cub’s name here until March 3.

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