Wednesday, July 8, 2015

syllabics

Canadian Aboriginal syllabic writing, or simply syllabics, is a family of abugidas (consonant-based alphabets) used to write a number of Aboriginal Canadian languages of the Algonquian, Inuit, and (formerly) Athabaskan language families. They are valued for their distinctiveness from the Latin script of the dominant colonial languages and for the ease with which literacy can be achieved; indeed, by the late 19th century the Cree had achieved what may have been one of the highest rates of literacy in the world.
File:Winnipeg Forks - Plains Cree Inscription.jpg
Canadian syllabics are currently used to write all of the Cree dialects from Naskapi (spoken in Quebec) to the Rocky Mountains, including Eastern Cree, Woods Cree, Swampy Cree and Plains Cree. They are also used to write Inuktitut in the eastern Canadian Arctic; there they are co-official with the Latin script in the territory of Nunavut. They are used regionally for the other large Canadian Algonquian language, Ojibwe in Western Canada, as well as for Blackfoot, where they are obsolete. Among the Athabaskan languages further to the west, syllabics have been used at one point or another to write Dakelh (Carrier), Chipewyan, Slavey, Tli Cho (Dogrib), Tasttine (Beaver). Syllabics have occasionally been used in the United States by communities that straddle the border, but are principally a Canadian phenomenon.

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