ᑎᒃᑖᓕᒃ - Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut)

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Deinonysus
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Re: ᑐᙵᓱᒋᑦ! Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Wamkelekile! Learning isiXhosa

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:13 am

Sedge wrote:Are you willing/able/does it conform to forum rules to share ISBNs for the language books you are using?

Sure, ISBNs are publicly available and posting them would certainly not conflict with the forum's copyright violation rule. I updated the original posts with ISBNS if I have them.

You may also want to check here for some different editions with different ISBNs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuktitut#Bibliography

Mick Mallon's textbooks don't have ISBNs inside, but since he puts the PDFs on his course website for free you probably don't need them. The one that isn't on the site is Introductory Inuktitut; I don't see an ISBN for the version I have but the Wiki article has an ISBN for an older version.

You might be particularly interested in Mallon's Elementary Dialogues since you're looking at South Baffin and that's the dialect it focuses on. Inuktitut the Hard Way is based on North Baffin but will often mention differences from South Baffin, and sometimes it gives words or phrases in both dialects.
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Sedge » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:55 am

Thanks!!!
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:13 pm

Although Inuktitut is an "agglutinative language" (many morphemes "glued" together with one piece of information per morpheme), some parts are fusional (multiple pieces of information per morpheme), particularly the verb endings. The verb endings conjugate for person and number, and there are different conjugations for statements and questions, so that is three pieces of information in one morpheme. They give both conjugations in the first two lessons of Tusaalanga, but they give it in list form when a chart would be better. So here are the subject endings in chart form:
StatementsSingularDualPlural
1st Personᔪᖓ (junga)ᔪᒐᒃ (juguk)ᔪᒍᑦ (jugut)
2nd Personᔪᑎᑦ (jutit)ᔪᓯᒃ (jusik)ᔪᓯ (jusi)
3rd Personᔪᖅ (juq)ᔫᒃ (juuk)ᔪᑦ (jut)
QuestionsSingularDualPlural
1st Personᕗᖓ (vunga)ᕕᓄᒃ (vinuk)ᕕᑕ (vita)
2nd Personᕕᑦ (vit)ᕕᓯᒃ (visik)ᕕᓯ (visi)
3rd Personᕙ (va)ᕚᒃ (vaak)ᕙᑦ (vat)
This is if the ending comes after an open syllable (ending in a vowel). After a closed syllable (ending in a consonant), the initial j become a t in a statement and initial v becomes a p in a question. This can be seen in some basic greetings:

How are you (singular)?
ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Qanuippit?

I'm fine.
ᖃᓄᐃᙱᑦᑐᖓ. Qanuinngittunga.
Last edited by Deinonysus on Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Deinonysus » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:21 pm

General

I feel like I'm picking up Inuktitut grammar more quickly than I picked up French or German grammar (specifically, the areas where they diverge significantly from English; when they work just like English there's not much for me to learn). I think the reason is that with French and German, I see grammar as an obstacle I need to get past so that I can use the languages, but with Inuktitut, poring over the grammar is the end goal itself.

With that in mind, this might be the year that I just let myself study a bunch of languages with cool grammar and phonology and get it out of my system. I think this will improve my ability to study grammar in general, which will help me when I return to more mainstream languages like Biblical Hebrew, Hungarian, and Icelandic. :ugeek:

I just saw the movie Reel Injun, a documentary by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond (not that Neil Diamond) about the portrayal of Native Americans in film. Diamond goes on a road trip into and through the US and does a lot of interviews along the way. One of the films they covered is the film ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᑦ (Atanaarjuat, or in English, The Fast Runner). It was filmed in ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ (Igloolik), one of the biggest villages where the North Baffin dialect is spoken. I'm looking forward to watching it later in my studies!

Mohawk is particularly tempting. Navajo and Inuktitut are actually a bit odd for polysynthetic languages. Rather than noun-incorporating, Inuktitut has derivational suffixes that verbs nouns and nouns verbs. Navajo is also not really your typical polysynthetic language; as far as I can tell, its grammar is more like Georgian than Mohawk or Nahuatl, which are more typical polysynthetic languages. Most of Navajo's grammar is accomplished using crazy-ass ridiculously complex verbs.

Mohawk famously uses very advanced noun incorporation. It also has good resources and media including a long-running children's puppet show. It was featured in the films Last of the Mohicans and Mohawk and the video game Assassin's Creed III. Mohawk has a really cool phonology; the phonemic inventory is quite small and famously does not have a single labial sound (so there is no /p/, /b/, /f/, /v/, /w/, or anything like that). There is a pitch accent and phonemic vowel length; long vowels are represented by a colon as in "shé꞉kon" (meaning "hello") which looks really cool.

All in all, my list of "cool" languages that I'm thinking of studying this year is:
  • Diné Bizaad (Navajo) (worked on previously, will resume)
  • ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) (currently studying)
  • isiXhosa (currently studying)
  • Mohawk
  • Yorùbá
  • Maybe !Xóõ (famous for having the largest phonemic inventory of any known natural language)
I would define a "cool" language as something where I'm more interested in the language's features than in its media.

isiXhosa

isiXhosa pronunciation is one of the toughest challenges I've ever faced in pronouncing a language. I really wish there was an FSI course with a ton of drills for it. I just bought the Ubuntu Bridge Confident isiXhosa audio course, which is actually even more expensive than Pimsleur per hour; Ubuntu Bridge is around 10 USD/hour (based on the current exchange rate with the ZAR), but a typical Pimsleur course is about 7.33 USD/hour based on buying a single 15-hour unit. But, since it can be done in the car and is interactive (meaning, it leaves spaces for you to respond), I think it is necessary if I ever want to achieve accurate and comfortable pronunciation of isiXhosa.

Pro-tip: if you are going to buy something from the other side of the world, let your bank know first so they don't send you a bunch of panicked fraud alert messages.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu Bridge does not have extensive phonology drills like I was hoping it might. I think what I will need to do is go over the phonology introductions of Confident isiXhosa, Teach Yourself Xhosa, and the isiXhosa for Beginners Udemy course over and over and over and over again until I am sick of it. I think it is important for me to not rely on Anki for this but instead simply drill the audio until I have all of the vocabulary memorized. If I rely on text rather than imitating the spoken words, I will probably not pronounce the words with the correct tone pattern, and I don't want to instill bad habits. The exception is, the Teach Yourself audio isn't very clear on exactly which variation on each click is used, so I think I will need to memorize the spelling of the click words that are used before I can go over the audio in the car.

Many people say that isiXhosa has only three clicks, the "c" click", the "q" click, and the "x" click. In fact, these letters represent the three different places of articulation, respectively:
  1. dental
  2. alveolar (or postalveolar or palatal, I've heard it described all three ways)
  3. lateral
But this almost as bad as saying that English only has seven or so consonants because there are only that many places of articulation (for example, this would lump /n/, /t/, /d/, /s/, and /z/ together as the nonlateral alveolar consonant). In fact, each isiXhosa click has six possible manners of articulation:
  1. tenuis (c, q, x)
  2. aspirated (ch, qh, xh)
  3. slack voice (gc, gq, gx)
  4. nasal (nc, nq, nx)
  5. slack voice nasal (ngc, ngq, ngx)
  6. glottalized nasal (nkc, nkq, nkx)
So in fact, there are 18 clicks.

Of my three main audio resources, I think that the Udemy course breaks down the different clicks the best. Ron Endley demonstrates three or four manners of articulation for each of the three places of articulation. I think Teach Yourself demonstraten more total clicks than Endley does, but they go over them so fast that it's a bit hard to follow.

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

As it turns out, at least half of Inuktitut the Hard Way is missing from the file that Mick Mallon put on his course website. He references a chapter 18, but the file cuts off in the middle of chapter 10. But I started in on his Structure of Inuktitut files and they're really terrific, with audio when you click on Inuktitut words and best of all, interactive drills and quizzes where you type in responses in Latin script. They teach you the words in both the North and South Baffin dialects; so far, they are all identical except for South Baffin's tendency to geminate (double) pairs of consonants, so "iglu" becomes "illu", "Inuktitut" becomes "Inuttitut", "umiarmit" (from the boat) becomes "umiamit", etc.

One interesting feature is that when two consonants come together, they must both be either voiceless, voiced, or nasal. A /q/ or /ʁ/ becomes the uvular nasal /ɴ/ before a nasal consonant, but is still written as an 'r'. So the word ᐅᒥᐊᖅ (umiaq, meaning "boat"), plus the case ending ᒥᑦ (meaning "from"), does not become ᐅᒥᐊᖅᒥᑦ (umiaqmit) but rather ᐅᒥᐊᕐᒥᑦ (umiarmit), and the ᕐ (r) actually represents the uvular nasal /ɴ/ in this case, not its usual sound which is the uvular fricative /ʁ/ (like the French or German "r" sound).

Between the INUK101 module itself, the available half of Inuktitut the Hard Way, and the Structure of Inuktitut applications, I think I should have a decent crash course overview. After that, I'm thinking of going through Tusaalanga, then Spalding's Learning to Speak Inuktitut, and then finally the rest of Mick Mallon's books, in that order. But I'll see how it goes.
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Deinonysus » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:23 pm

isiXhosa

I've been listening to my introductory audio materials repeatedly and I think it's starting to stick. I don't think it will be too long before I can start doing the Ubuntu Bridge course in earnest.

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

I used the Inuktitut Morphological Analyser for the first time to understand how the term ᐊᔪᙱᒋᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ (ajunngigiarlutit, meaning "good luck"), was broken down, since I wanted to wish Sedge good luck on starting a 2020 log involving Inuktitut. And it's a really great tool! I think it will really solve the issue that I have with Tusaalanga, which is that it introduces long words without explaining how they're formed.

In my second post on this log, I tried to break down the word ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓲᖑᕕᑦ? (inuktituusuugnuvit? meaning "Do you speak Inuktitut?"). I got it mostly right, but I missed an important morpheme that was signalled by the long /u/ in ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑ (inuktituu).

Here is the output from the Analyser. Well in fact its one line out of a few dozen, but it's the one that makes the most sense.
{inuk:inuk/1n}{titu:titut/tn-sim-p}{u:uq/2nv}{suu:suuq/1vn}{ngu:u/1nv}{vit:vit/tv-int-2s}

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) literally means "like (the) people", but in this case it stands for the Inuktitut language. That covers the first two morphemes.

{u:uq/2nv} - This is the morpheme I missed. It as a suffix that verbs a noun and carries the meaning of "to imitate, to do like", and I would guess that it turns the name of the language into a verb meaning to speak the language. So "ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᖅ" (inuktituuq) must mean "speak inuktutit".

{suu:suuq/1vn} - "one who habitually performs an action (when the suffix is in final position, the word can be interpreted verbally in the 3rd person)". So ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓲᖅ (inuktituusuuq) must be a person who habitually speaks Inuktitut, or in other words, is an Inuktitut speaker.

{ngu:u/1nv} - "existence; is". So ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓲᖑ (inuktituusuungu) means, "is an Inuktitut speaker"

{vit:vit/tv-int-2s} - Interrogative mood, second person singular, so the whole word means "are you an Inuktitut speaker?" or less literally, "do you speak Inuktitut?"

[Edit]: Looking into the Inuktitut Morphological Analyser led me to a ton of new resources. Here is the bibliography of the site that hosts it:
http://www.inuktitutcomputing.ca/References/info.php

The works of Ken Harper look particularly promising and are available as PDFs for a very reasonable price (they're also on JSTOR if you have access to that, but I don't).
https://press.uottawa.ca/some-aspects-o ... d-pdf.html
https://press.uottawa.ca/suffixes-of-th ... d-pdf.html

I was also trying to see the difference between the different modes in Inuktitut (in particular, the declarative and the indicative/gerundive) and found a bunch of papers. The most general of them was this dissertation by Matthew David Beach:
https://uafanlc.alaska.edu/Offline/Stud ... rammar.pdf

[Edit2]: There's an Inuktitut kid's show called ᐊᓈᓇᐅᑉ ᑐᐱᖕᒐ (Anaanaup Tupingani, or "Anaana's Tent") and it's available to watch for free!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaana%27s_Tent

[Edit3]: There's a bunch of free Inuktitut children's books here! http://nbes.ca/
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Sedge » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:46 am

Deinonysus wrote:isiXhosa
[Edit2]: There's an Inuktitut kid's show called ᐊᓈᓇᐅᑉ ᑐᐱᖕᒐ (Anaanaup Tupingani, or "Anaana's Tent") and it's available to watch for free!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaana%27s_Tent

With this and other materials you have found, is there a trick to figuring out which dialect they use? Or do they use a mixed or more standardized version of the language?
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Re: ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐱᑦ? Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) | Unjani? Learning isiXhosa

Postby Deinonysus » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:03 pm

Sedge wrote:
Deinonysus wrote:isiXhosa
[Edit2]: There's an Inuktitut kid's show called ᐊᓈᓇᐅᑉ ᑐᐱᖕᒐ (Anaanaup Tupingani, or "Anaana's Tent") and it's available to watch for free!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaana%27s_Tent
With this and other materials you have found, is there a trick to figuring out which dialect they use? Or do they use a mixed or more standardized version of the language?
It can be tough, especially since North and South Baffin are so similar. Tusaalanga has some great pages on the dialects and their differences:
https://tusaalanga.ca/node/2503
https://tusaalanga.ca/node/2504

The use or absence of certain sounds can narrow down which dialect is being used. Generally, if you see Inuktitut with no dialect specified it's probably North Baffin. That seems to be the de facto neutral Inuktitut.

The host of Anaana's Tent is Rita Claire Mike-Murphy, AKA Riit. She's a singer, actor, and filmmaker from Pangnirtung (also called Pangniqtuuq), which Tusaalanga classifies as Central Baffin, which they lump in with South Baffin.

Incidentally, I think she might be one of the voices on Tusaalanga because lesson one references her first name and hometown.

Here's one of her music videos. It's a cool Inuit throat singing infused pop style.

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Re: Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) and isiXhosa, dabbling in Shona

Postby Deinonysus » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:03 pm

Piano

This is not explicitly a language thing, but I've made it my New Year's resulution to play the piano every day in 2020 unless I'm travelling. So far I've been keeping it up since late December.

My favorite composer to play is Bartók who has some really terrific pieces for beginners, usually based on folk melodies. The odds that I'll get sucked into studying Hungarian this year are high, but I have no current plans.

isiXhosa and chiShona

I have been banging my head against a wall trying to get comfortable with isiXhosa phonology by going over the same 20 minutes or so of audio explanations and it really isn't working. What I need is an FSI course with phonology drills. And this morning I had the idea to go through the FSI Shona course first before attempting to learn isiXhosa.

The biggest problem I have learning isiXhosa is the tone system, which is really scary because although there are only two phonemic levels, it is a terraced system which means that the actual phonetic tone melodies can be very complicated.

isiXhosa is a Nguni language, and is specifically in the subgroup of the Zunda languages. The other Zunda languages are isiZulu, Southern Ndebele, and Northern Ndebele; they are said to all be mutually intelligible. The other subgroup within the Nguni langages is Tekala languages; the most famous of these is siSwati, which is an official language of South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

Although Shona is not a Nguni language, it is spoken in a region that has a large border with the region where Northern Ndebele, a Nguni (Zunda) language, is spoken. Shona is sometimes classified as a Southern Bantu language alongside the Nguni languages.

Like isiXhosa, Shona uses a terraced tone system:

African Language Structures
Wm. E. Welmers

4.17 Prior to 1959, I had worked on Shona for no more than a few hours one afternoon. That was enough time to notice a phonetic downstep between successive high tones, which I presumed was phonemic; I accordingly cited Shona as an example of a terraced level language without further comment. It has since come to my attention that this apparent downstep is conditioned by the identity of the consonant or consonant cluster beginning the syllable[5]. Actually, both high and low tone are affected by such consonants: a high tone is realized as a rising glide beginning at a pitch lower than the preceding high, and a low tone is simply lower than it would otherwise be. The consonants and clusters that condition this lowering have been termed 'depressor onsets"; a complete list is provided by Derek Fivaz (1969). The depressor onsets do not seem to constitute a very neatly definable class of phonemes and clusters; they include some but not all of the voiced nasal-onset combinations, and aparently all clusters of voiced consonants with /w, y, h/ (/h/ is voiced in Shona). Shona also has the phenomenon described as downdrift, a nonphonemic lowering of high tone after low. It is thus a terraced level language in the broader sense, with a nonphonemic conditioning of tones that makes it sound much like a language with phonemic downstep.

A very similar conditioning of both high and low tones by depressor onsets is found in Xhosa (see Lanham 1963), Zulu, and possibly other South African Bantu languages. In Xhosa, there is also a downstep reflecting the deletion of a vowel with low tone. The one native speaker of Xhosa with whom I have worked readily restored the elided vowel in slow speech; whether this is typical, and whether tha low tone can be recognized as phonemically present (an is Bandi), is uncertain to me at present.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Q7nAD ... CHoECAsQAQ


Of course the Shona and isiXhosa tones are not exactly the same. In fact, according to FSI they vary even between the three dialects that the standard language is based on (the FSI course focuses specifically on the Manyika dialect/language). However, I am hoping that although which tone goes on which syllable in which word will probably be quite different, there will be similarities in how a given sequence of high or low tones will be phonetically executed. The FSI course doesn't have phonological drills per say, but it does fully notate tone including detailed phonetic tone maps for the first few lessons, so I think it's promising.

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

I didn't work on Inuktitut yesterday. I did spend a couple of hours seeing if I could use Syllabics to write Southern Quechua. It worked surprisingly well but unfortunately I've been seeing conflicting information about the phonology and of course there are several Quechuan languages which are not all mutually intelligible, so there's that. Oh well, another language on the queue.
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Re: Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut) and isiXhosa, dabbling in Shona

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:01 pm

isiXhosa and chiShona

Igbo is another language with a terraced two-level tonal system and unlike FSI Shona, it comes with tons of drills, so I thought I would try it out. Unfortunately, the pronunciation of Igbo tones is just too different from isiXhosa to help at all. With Igbo, the tones are quite straightforward; level tones are level, and if there is a terracing effect it's much more slight than in isiXhosa. You can clearly tell which notes are high or low even in longer words, but in isiXhosa you dance around the tones in a Sprechstimme-like fashion rather than hitting a pitch and staying on it, and the terracing effect lowers the high tones so much that the difference between high and low is basically inaudible to me after a couple of low tones or downsteps.

This makes sense, and I wasn't expecting Igbo to be that similar. Igbo is related to isiXhosa and you can drive from Nigeria to South Africa, but this is helpful in the sense that English is related to Sanskrit and you can drive from Boston, USA to Panama City, Panama or from Lisbon, Portugal to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan (both drives are around the same distance as Lagos to Cape Town). That is to say, not helpful at all.

I've given the beginning of FSI Shona a quick listen, and Shona tones sound much more similar to isiXhosa tones to me, especially with the extremely steep terracing effect. Unfortunately, there is not much audio. The audio for Unit 1 only consists of the dialog (just a few lines, each one spoken twice). But all of the dialog is written out with tones so it's by far my best source to learn tones in a language that's even remotely close to isiXhosa.

I've even been considering learning Cantonese just to improve my general ear for tones, but that would open up a whoooole other can of worms. I don't think I should touch the Sinosphere until I'm ready to commit to it.
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: 6 / 15 Structure of Inuktitut

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: 3 / 30 Pimsleur Haitian Creole

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Deinonysus
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x 2020

Re: Learning ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut)

Postby Deinonysus » Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:34 pm

I didn't end up getting into Shona. It would have been too much of a diversion. What I'm going to have to do is get a legit source for the tones of every isiXhosa word I want tolearn. Since they are unfortunately not written in most text or even learning materials, I'm going to need to get myself the OED of isiXhosa, which is The Greater Dictionary of isiXhosa. It's a large three volume set, and I can't get it from any US retailers. I think I found a South African online store that might be able to ship to the States, but it it's a lot of money for just the books themselves, let alone shipping them halfway across the world. I've been spending way too much money on books lately, so I think I might want to take a break from isiXhosa for now and pick it back up later, and that's when I'll try to get my hands on the dictionary set.

I'm tentatively thinking of going through FSI French in the car. This will mesh more easily with my Inuktitut learning since I won't need to learn a ton of new vocabulary and grammar. I'll just need to memorize 24 dialogues (one for each unit). It's a total of around 80 hours. At around 30 minutes per commute, it should take me around 32 full work weeks to get through the entire course.

I have plenty of French materials that I'd love to go through. I just signed up for Disney+ and although I'm disappointed that a lot of their library is missing French dubs, they do have it for one of my all-time favorite shows, the 90s X-Men cartoon. I watched the first episode in French last night and I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the dialogue I understood. I guess I haven't gotten as rusty as I thought.

I was really hoping they would have French dubs for the Star Wars prequels and The Clone Wars, but alas, they only have them in English and Spanish. At least I can always play KOTOR in French. Pour la République !

Edit: Now I do seem to have French dubs available for Clone Wars! Weird that it wasn't showing up earlier. But it's a shame that a lot of shows and movies have no French audio, I hope they add more.
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ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ
: 6 / 15 Structure of Inuktitut

Kreyòl Ayisyen
: 3 / 30 Pimsleur Haitian Creole


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