Ivujivik man builds his own Inuktitut app

Thomassie Mangiok created the keyboard to improve Inuktitut syllabics on smartphones and tablets

By David Lochead, Nunatsiaq News - July 19, 2023
Ivujivik is the most northerly settlement in Quebec, copyright Ian Schofield

Thomassie Mangiok wanted to communicate in Inuktitut with his children using phones or tablets. But for typing, none of the existing Inuktitut keyboard apps were good enough.

“They weren’t working. I couldn’t find the keys. There was no logic. It wasn’t possible to find anything,” he said.

“So I decided to make something that was good.”

That motivated Mangiok, who lives in Ivujivik, to develop his own Inuktitut syllabic keyboard app for phones and tablets. He named it Inuktitut.

The newest version of the app has been available for Apple phones and tablets since April. Another version for phones using the Android system was released July 13.

Mangiok’s app is free to use.

The keyboard itself is colourful, with each category of syllabics broken into colours such as orange, green, yellow, light blue and black.

This is the syllabic keyboard and its colouring for Thomassie Mangiok’s keyboard app, called Inuktitut. Mangiok developed the app because he wanted the use of Inuktitut syllabics on keyboards. (Photo screenshot of Inuktitut keyboard app)

He created the physical layout and design of the app and got help for the programming.

A full-time school administrator, Mangiok has a background in graphic design. He said he spent time after he finished his schooling making digital content such as videos and board games, as well as repairing computers.

It took a couple of months to program the Inuktitut app, he said, because he made several versions.

“I added a couple things because I wanted to use numbers and characters that would be used by students” in ways such as doing their math homework, Mangiok said.

The app also helps Mangiok to communicate with his own children using smartphones.

The reception to the app has been positive, Mangiok said, adding that his cousin’s husband said the app has made it easier to write in syllabics and to communicate in Inuktitut.

“I see more people writing in Inuktitut and less in English since I published [it],” he said.

Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Nunatsiaq News is dedicated to covering affairs in Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec since 1973. It has been a partner to ArcticToday and its predecessors since 2016.

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