Inuit language

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The Inuit language group is a term for the languages spoken across the Arctic region by the Inuit people. It is an agglutinative language (meaning, the language adds prefix, infix and suffixes to words to make new words and phrases). Though they are highly regular in their grammar, Innuit languages tend to be difficult to describe, since "parts of speech" (noun, verb, adjective) are not generally recognized or are fluid. A word that acts as a noun can be used as a verb in another construction, or can function as both in a third construction.

There is no actual or singular "Inuit" language. Scholars use the term "Inuit language" for a matter of convenience to reflect a geographic group of people, however, there are many languages spoken by Inuit people - languages which in several cases appear to have no direct relationship to each other in modern comprehension nor development.

Most Inuit languages are grouped under the family "Eskimo/Aleut" languages. For the vast majority of the Inuit languages, direct connections exist from one group of speakers to the next community. Subtle shifts have happened over time, such that Inuit from one part of the continent are not understood by Inuit from another part of the continent.

Scholars have attempted to classify Inuit as a Paleo-Siberan language based on the theory that the Inuit came from the Siberian peninsula.

Many words for snow

The popular belief that the Inuit languages have "over 100 words for snow" is actually a simple misunderstanding of agglutinative languages. The reality is that there are 4 or 5 root words for "snow" plus as many descriptions as a speaker finds useful. An example in English would be "Snow", "White snow", "Fluffy snow", "beautiful wet snow of early fall", etc. When spoken in an agglutinative language, those same phrases appear as different words, "whitesnow", "fluffysnow" or "beautifulwetsnowofearlyfall".

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