Inuktitut Braille is a proposed braille alphabet of the Inuktitut language based on Inuktitut syllabics. Unlike syllabics, it is a true alphabet, with separate letters for consonants and vowels, though vowels are written before the consonants they follow in speech. It was published in 2012 by Tamara Kearney, Manager of Braille Research and Development at the Commonwealth Braille and Talking Book Cooperative. The book ᐃᓕᐊᕐᔪᒃ ᓇᓄᕐᓗ The Orphan and the Polar Bear was the first (and perhaps only) work transliterated into Inuktitut Braille.
Each letter of Inuktitut syllabics is transliterated with two braille cells. The first cell indicated the orientation of the syllabic letter, and the second its shape. Since the orientation of a letter indicates the vowel of a syllable, and shape the consonant, this means that e.g. the syllable ki is written ik. Vowel length, indicated with a diacritic dot in syllabics, is written by adding an extra dot to the consonant letter in braille, so that the syllable kī is effectively written iķ in braille.
The four vowel letters are as follows:
The vowels u and a mimic the orientations of some consonants carrying these vowels, being practically identical to the null-consonant syllables ᐅ u and ᐊ a as well as to ᐳ pu and ᐸ pa.
These letters do not occur alone, but are carried by a null consonant ⠁. For a long vowel, a dot is added to the null consonant letter, ⠡. Thus the syllables consisting of a vowel only are written:
- ⠰⠁ ᐁ ai
- ⠘⠁ ᐃ i
- ⠘⠡ ᐄ ī
- ⠕⠁ ᐅ u
- ⠕⠡ ᐆ ū
- ⠪⠁ ᐊ a
- ⠪⠡ ᐋ ā
Consonants follow English Braille as closely as possible. For example, the consonant k is ⠅, and this is used in Inuktitut Braille for final k at the end of a syllable (syllabic ᒃ). Syllables beginning with k are written as follows:
- ⠰⠅ ᑫ kai
- ⠘⠅ ᑭ ki
- ⠕⠅ ᑯ ku
- ⠪⠅ ᑲ ka
And with long vowels:
- ⠘⠥ ᑮ kī
- ⠕⠥ ᑰ kū
- ⠪⠥ ᑳ kā
These vowel letters are used consistently, regardless of whether the orientation of the letter in syllabics is orthogonal, as in the null consonant, or diagonal, as in k.
Since v in English Braille, ⠧, has a dot at position 6, which is used for long vowels in Inuktitut Braille, the letter for the similar sound f, ⠋, was substituted. The Inuktitut letters for ng, nng, and ł have no simple equivalent in English Braille, so the letters for e, d, and c are used. The consonants are therefore as follows:
with short vowel
with long vowel
For example, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ Nunavut is ⠕⠝⠪⠝⠕⠋⠞ in braille (literally "unanuvt"), and ᓄᓇᕕᒃ Nunavik is ⠕⠝⠪⠝⠘⠋⠅.
Inuktitut syllabics are irregular for the last few letters: ng and nng are only diacritics, and require a carrying letter g to support a vowel; ł has irregular rotation, and h is a diacritic requiring the null consonant to support a vowel. In Inuktitut Braille, however, they behave as any other consonant, so that all CV syllables are written with two braille cells regardless of the consonant. For example, ᙱ nngi is just ⠘⠙, and ᕼᐃ hi is just ⠘⠓.
Digits and punctuation
Digits and punctuation are identical to those of Unified English Braille with two exceptions: ⠠ is used for the Grade 1 indicator (the purpose of this is unclear, since Inuktitut Braille does not appear to have grades), and ⠸ is used for the "single" indicator (the purpose of which is also unclear).
The following is a sample text, first in braille, then in syllabics and romanization.
- ᐅᖃᓕᒫᕆᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖃᖅᑐᓂᒃ
- uqalimārit uqausiqaqtunit
- ᐃᓄᖁᑎᑦᑕ, ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖁᑎᑦᑕ,
- inuqutitta, iliqkusiqutitta,
- ᐆᒪᔪᑦ, ᐃᓕᑕᕆᔭᐅᔾᔪᑎᑦᑕ,
- ūmajut, ilitarijaujjutitta,
- ᒥᒃᓵᓅᖓᔪᓂᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ
- miksānūngajunik, ammalu
- The source contradicts itself on this point, also saying that ⠊ is used for ł,and gives no textual examples to clarify. However, that would mean that ł with a long vowel would be written ⠪, identical to the vowel a. We assume, therefore, that ⠉ is correct.