Written communications in Inuktitut have evolved enormously since the first syllabic typewriters were developed thirty years ago. Today, it is possible to use syllabics on all of the most popular computer software. The Government of Nunavut is at the forefront in developing new tools to help Inuktitut speakers work more easily and reliably on computers. These efforts are making an important contribution to establishing Inuktitut as the working language of the government.
Unicode is a new worldwide computer standard that supports virtually all languages and writing systems commonly used in the world today. The previous widespread standard, called ASCII, could only reliably support English. While ASCII syllabic fonts, such as ProSyl were a great achievement when they were first developed, they caused many headaches for Inuktitut speakers. Using Unicode makes writing syllabics as reliable and trouble-free as typing in English. It is for this reason that the Government of Nunavut now requires Unicode-based fonts, including Pigiarniq, in its Inuktitut communications.
To type in Pigiarniq, or other Unicode syllabic fonts you will need the font itself and a keyboard driver to produce the syllabic characters.
Nunavut Utilities is a package of Microsoft Office tools to make working in the Inuit language easier. It contains the following features: A syllabic font converter to switch text between Unicode fonts and older syllabic fonts; A transliterate to convert text from roman orthography to syllabics, or vice versa; and orthographic rules checkers for syllabics and roman orthography that detect many common mistakes made when writing the Inuit language.
All of these features currently work through Microsoft Word. A version for Microsoft Excel is also under development.