Writing Systems and Orthography Tools


A writing system, or orthography, is a set of visual symbols or characters used to represent language and communicate meaning in written form.

Most of the Indigenous languages of the NWT use a Latin/Roman orthography, with a few additional letters, such as the barred l «Ł», glottal stop «Ɂ» and turned e «Ǝ». Accents, or diacritical marks, are placed on vowels to indicate tone and nasalization. These are important aspects of the NWT Indigenous languages orthographies, particularly in Dene languages.

Learn more (link to fact sheet page) about each of the NWT’s Indigenous languages.

NWT Indigenous languages keyboard

Most computers in North America come with US standard keyboard layout installed. Like most other languages, including French, Indigenous languages require an alternative keyboard layout to enter the additional letters and accents.

The Indigenous NT keyboard is a universal keyboard for all the NWT’s official Indigenous languages. It can be used as your standard keyboard as all the special characters and diacritics are accessed by the right hand Alt key.

To download the keyboard on your personal mobile device or computer, go to https://keyman.com/keyboards/indigenous_nt and click the green install keyboard button.

An online keyboard is also available at https://keymanweb.com/#en,Keyboard_indigenous_nt  that can be used in your web browser. There is no need to install anything.

AutoCorrect for Indigenous languages

AutoCorrect is a word processing feature that identifies misspelled words and automatically corrects spellings as you type.

The GNWT has developed an AutoCorrect script for Microsoft Office applications (ie. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook). You can download (link) and run the script to install NWT place names and other commonly used words and phrases with the proper letters and accents into your Microsoft Office dictionary.

If you need help installing the AutoCorrect or suggestions for additional terms, please contact request_indigenous_languages@gov.nt.ca.