“Inuk Word of the Day”

Alexander Lasch

Moravian Missions in Greenland and Labrador (Moravian Atlas 1853)

After several expeditions (1752, 1764 and 1765) to Labrador, the Moravians are allowed by decree of the British Crown to establish mission stations on the Labrador coast (1769). To finance the mission, a society is formed in England. Jens Haven, J. Christian Erhardt and C. L. Drachart, who have known the North for decades, soon lead a first visitation trip (1770), which is quickly followed by the first foundations: Nain (1771), Okak (1776), Hopedale (1782).

The living conditions in Labrador, similar to Greenland, are a special challenge for everyone. The Moravians are not used to the harsh climatic conditions, the Inuit are not used to the persistent missionary will of the Moravians, who bring new stories, languages, writings and forms of collective memory with them to Labrador, in addition to new forms of cultural communion.

One facet of this cultural clash relates to Inuit languages. While these are documented by the Moravians, the languages they bring with them become the lingua franca in the European colonies of North America, and soon begin to supplant the Inuit languages.

On Twitter, Agnus Andersen posts (therefore?) the (lost) Inuk word of the day and other (mostly lexical) phenomena from cultural and language contact – unfortunately (still?) without a corresponding hashtag.


Three things are important about it for a #DigitalHerrnhut. First, that one must always illuminate the history of a globally active community from both the inside and the perspective of the other (decentering). Second, that we need to hear many and diverse voices to adequately represent this very complexity, in an open science. This includes, in particular, an appreciation of what is in danger of being lost through European colonization practices, past and present. And third (here lies the linguistic potential), that we may expect, as in the example, multilingual references that are uniquely reflected in the corpora of the Moravians.

OpenEdition schlägt Ihnen vor, diesen Beitrag wie folgt zu zitieren:
Alexander Lasch (31. März 2021). “Inuk Word of the Day” MKNetwork. Abgerufen am 15. Juli 2024 von https://doi.org/10.58079/nks4

Veröffentlicht von

Alexander Lasch

Alexander Lasch lehrt an der TU Dresden germanistische Linguistik und Sprachgeschichte.

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