The Innu Language Project (ILP)
The Innu Language Project (ILP) is a true collaboration between university researchers and Aboriginal organizations. It has grown out of a number of continuously SSHRC-funded research projects over the past twelve years, the most recent and largest of which was the CURA project, Knowledge and Human Resources for Innu Language Development, which ran from 2005-2010.
The primary outcome of the ILP has been the pan-Innu dictionary database, which comprises over 27,000 words, with translations into both national languages, French and English. There are three printed dictionaries (English-Innu, Innu-English, and Innu-French) with a fourth (French-Innu) coming soon. As the only pan-dialectal dictionary of an Algonquian language (or of virtually any language), it is comprehensive but not exhaustive, documenting primarily traditional Innu vocabulary, and to a lesser degree neologisms (words for new items and concepts). The need for neologisms has been addressed through parallel projects which have recorded and created specific workplace vocabulary, for use in training and practice of interpreters and translators in various sectors (justice, health, education, and environment).
Current and Future Projects
Thanks to continued funding from our partner organizations, primarily Mamu Tshishkutamashuta / Innu Education and l’Institut Tshakapesh, the ILP has been able to continue to run workshops and develop Innu language curriculum and reading materials. We are currently in the final stages of editing a glossary of Innu medical terms, and are developing mobile apps for smartphones and tablets for the Innu dictionary as well as the upcoming medical glossary. Additional children’s books, online interactive language exercises, and numerous other materials are also in the works.