Linguistic Puzzle #4

The puzzle was adopted from “XXXVII Olympiad in Linguistics and Mathematics”, author S.A.Burlak, 2006. The editors are Roman Senkov and Tomonori Nagano.

The puzzle is purely logical and no prior knowledge of Inuit language is required to solve it. Please do not search for the translations. The solution to this puzzle will be published in the next Ad Astra issue. Good luck!

Inuit ‐ are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region (for more information please visit

Morning at Iqaluit, Nunavut
Photo: Joel Martin

The given words are of an Inuit language, provided with their accepted spellings (the first column) as well as their Latin transcriptions (the second column).

ᒧᕋ mura the howl of a fox (caught in a trap)
ᑕᕐᓂᖅtarniqthe human immortal soul
ᓇᓴᖅnasaqhat or hood
ᐳᔨᒪᔪᖅpujimajuqsea mist
ᐊᖃᓕaqaligood bye

Question 1. In this Inuit language there exists the word ᐃᓚ (‘blood relative’) and the word ᐃᒐ (‘fireplace’). Which of these words reads as ‘iga’ and which reads as ‘ila’? Explain your reasoning.

Question 2. Speakers of this Inuit language refer to their language as ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ. How is this word pronounced?

Question 3. Write the following words using the ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ script:

nujaq   ‘hair’ pipsik   ‘dried fish’
niggiut   ‘spider’ uiguit   ‘french’ (in reference to the people)
kallu   ‘thunder sounds’ taqraq   ‘screen for seal hunting’

Question 4. How would you write LaGuardia in ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ?

Please send us your solutions to, use "linguistic puzzle Ad Astra 2021, issue #1" as the subject line.

★ Solution of the Linguistic Puzzle 2020, issue #3 (Ad Astra 2020/3):