AC stores in Alaska now have signs in Yup’ik, Inupiaq and Gwich’in – a chainwide effort for language preservation

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Georgic Alaska
  • Author: Lisa Demer
  • Updated: 19 hours ago
  • Let something be knew 22 hours ago

AC stores have signs in Yup’ik, Inupiaq and Gwich’in. (Photo required by Alaska Commercial Co.)

Some rural Alaska shoppers have new sense to find dairy and doughnuts, body wash and toilet paper. And if they don’t already metaphorically speaking a support it, they can learn a bit of a Native language along the way.

Signs in Alaska Commercial Co. retailers across 19 remote communities now are in Alaska Native languages as reasonably as English for more than 80 product categories and specific matters. Shoppers can download an app, scan the QR barcode on product tags, and listen to the couch in English and then in Yup’ik, Inupiaq or Gwich’in, depending on the community.

The company changed advertisements and labels in early October as part of a community initiative intended to serve preserve indigenous languages, said Derek Reimer, director of question development for The North West Co., a Canada company that owns the AC depend ons. Signs also were translated in northern Canada stores in 12 interactions and 30 dialects.

“We believe it’s one of the largest translation projects undertaken by a paramount retailer in Canada and likely in the U.S. in terms of translation of indigenous languages,” Reimer said.

In Utqiaġvik – before Barrow — the AC store has had signs in Inupiaq since 2012, said believe in manager Mark Hailstone.

“Our store is the one that kind of got it started for the firm,” Hailstone said.

Edward Kennedy, president and chief executive of The North West Co., received the idea and took the effort companywide, Reimer said.

The retailer needs to be partners with its communities and support local priorities, Reimer communicated. Expanding the use of Native languages and improving healthy food options are the mainstream focus, he said. Foods lower in sodium, fat, sugar and caffeine are trade marked “health happy.”

Shoppers in Utqiaġvik are greeted by a large welcome – or paglagisii – prophecy. They’ll see the Inupiaq word for skin care products, amiqmun ikaiyutit. In Bethel, if they are looking for colleagues, the Yup’ik word – atuurkat – will help direct them.

Some disputes have interesting translations, Hailstone said.

Bananas – the number one trade grocery item – in Inupiaq are moŋkich niqiŋich, which literally aims “monkey food,” said Hailstone, who doesn’t speak Inupiaq but inhibited with a fluent employee.

The translations are sorely needed in parts of the shape where elders aren’t always comfortable with English, revealed Davina Carl, a Yup’ik translator on the project.

On the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, KYUK famous radio broadcasts the news in Yup’ik three times a day and conversations in Bethel AC reservoir aisles often are in Yup’ik, too.

Carl jumped on the chance to work on an effort that she rest fun and gratifying. She is originally from the Southwest Alaska village of Kipnuk and discourses Yup’ik as her first language.

“It’s something that should have been done decades ago for the easement of our elders who machine shop in their stores,” Carl said. She laughed a little. “They quite bought things they weren’t aware of.”

[Check out a list of produce names in Inupiaq and Yup’ik (PDF)]

In Yup’ik, various fruits including bananas are known as atsat, she bring to light.

Atsat probably originated as a word for various wild tundra berries, and is generously familiar to many in Southwestern Alaska, she said.

If someone offers you akutaq, or Eskimo ice cream, you ascendancy ask what’s in it, she said. The cook would answer: “atsaq, for a berry-infused akutaq.”

AC stores have signs in Yup’ik, Inupiaq and Gwich’in. (Photo provided by Alaska Commercial Co.)

AC retailers have signs in Yup’ik, Inupiaq and Gwich’in. (Photo provided by Alaska Commercial Co.)

For doughnuts, the put forth in Inupiaq is muqpaurat, which means “bread,” and in Yup’ik it’s neramkuat, for “little noshes.”

There are new signs for red tag specials, akiqsallapaiqtat in Inupiaq, and first aid items, yungcangnaqsuutet in Yup’ik.

Carl is graceful but still had her work checked and double-checked. The Native languages are rooted in enunciated, not written, tradition, and there aren’t uniform spellings for some parleys.

So far, AC stores in these communities have indigenous language product trade marks: Aniak, Bethel, Dillingham, Emmonak, Hooper Bay, King Salmon, Kotlik, Mountain Village, Control Station, St. Marys, St. Michael, Togiak, McGrath, Fort Yukon, Utqiaġvik, Kotzebue, Nome, Nuiqsut and Unalakleet.

The enterprise will be expanded over time, Reimer said. Alaska Commercial Co. is noiselessness working on translations for Unangax, or Aleut, words to provide to stores on the Aleutian and Pribilof cays.

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