Innu-aimun (commonly referred to as “Innu”) is an Algonquian language spoken by the Innu of Labrador and Quebec, in Eastern Canada.
It is spoken over a vast territory in Quebec and Labrador and consists of two large dialect areas: Western (spoken by the Innu of Mashteuiatsh, Betsiamites, Schefferville, Sept-îles and Maliotenam) and Eastern (spoken by the Innu of Mingan, Natashquan, La Romaine, St-Augustin, Sheshatshiu, and Natuashish).
Western Innu is further subdivided into two sub-dialects. The dialect spoken in Mashteuiatsh and Betsiamites includes the ‘l’ sound, while the dialect spoken in Schefferville, Sept-Iles and Maliotenam has the ‘n’ that is also heard in the Eastern dialects.
Eastern Innu is also divided into several sub-dialects: Mamit/Lower North Shore, Quebec (Mingan, Natashquan, La Romaine, and St-Augustin) and Labrador (Sheshatshiu and Natuashish). Sheshatshiu Innu shares many linguistic features with the Quebec dialects; Natuashish Innu (the Mushuau dialect) shares certain words and linguistic features with the neighbouring Naskapi language of Kawawachikamach, Quebec.
The Innu of Quebec speak French as their second language, while the Innu of Labrador speak English.