Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by winthro, May 25, 2007.
I am looking for a word that was used/ is used by eskimos meaning Polar bear.
Hi winthro, welcome!
First of all, I have to point out that your title doesn't conform to the format we use here. It should have been written as "Eskimo Language: polar bear". This format was adopted so that the forum will not get messy with so many different languages.
Incidentally "Polar Bear" is a common Inuit name, which you can find in Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit_languages)
In Kalaallisut, it is called Nanoq. And in Central Sibirian Yupik, it is called Nanuq.
In Czech the word nanuk means ice-cream on a stick. Originally a brand name inspired by the film "Nanook of the North" (1922).
It's nanuq in the Iqaluit dialect also.
Please note that "Eskimo" is considered insulting, the proper word in Canada (but not Alaska) is Inuk (singular) or Inuit (plural), meaning "(the) Person/People." Inuit call speaking their language "speaking Inuktitut," i.e. "like (the) People," and most people call it Inuktitut (or Inuttut, etc. according to dialect) in English.
What's the pronunciation of nanuq? Is it [nænu:k] ? [nænuk]? [nænək] ?
Basically [nanuq] as written, roughly equal stress on syllables as Inuktitut doesn't have strong stress. The q is uvular, not velar - pronounced very deep in the throat; k and q are strongly contrastive in all dialects - and the u varies between u and a close o because sounds are a more open before q and r (which is also uvular). You'll see older spellings like nanoq that reflect this, as well as aiveq for aiviq ("walrus") that reflect a similar change of i to a close e next to q and r.
Separate names with a comma.