When first I saw it, I laughed until I feared a passer-by would say: 'Ata, sulorsimavutit] (Well, now you have again relieved yourself in your trousers])' But the exhibition will soon be over, so the Independent has gathered the essential elements together for those readers who will miss the real thing.
The conventions of drawing- room comedy do not well survive translation to Inuit. But it is still possible to construct a mini-saga from the materials to hand.
First comes the invitation to an meal. Qujanaq ('thank-you') says the well-bred guest, and excuses himself - qajara iluarsaratdlardlara - 'let me first arrange my kayak'.
He may be a picky traveller, one who is aipalingiagpoq - 'does not like raw food'. That is all right, the hostess just agssior poq - 'makes soup of dried blood'. This would serve as the necessary nivgornerqutigssag - 'something to take away the taste of fish', even if our hero had rather hoped for a bar of Cadbury's fruit and nut sukulaq instead. He would be lucky to
get a slice of toast spread with sungarnit, the intestines of the ptarmigan.
The hosts' teenage son fidgets throughout the meal. His table manners are appalling. Given his food, he mkagtorpa - 'pulls at it repeatedly with his teeth', until he orssunguvoq - 'feels sick from having eaten too much blubber'.
His doting parents excuse him after he rushes from the table. He is going through a phase in which he is only interested in computer games. In fact, he is a spotty anoraq.
The panik of the house, the anoraq's sister, looks much more fun. The guest makes a bet with himself that she kangunartuliorpoq like mad, given half a chance.
But when he approaches her in the recesses of the igdlo, she putuva - looks at him stiffly so as to make him confused - and snaps that he has arferup anernera, the breath of the whale, and is a dumb qavak ('man from the south. Frequently used to denote stupidity').
He rushes out the door shouting Suingne] - 'How it smells of foxes here]'. He pugtarpoq - leaps from one iceberg to another - until at length he is exhausted. Nigsagpatdlagtoqangilaq - 'not a sound is heard'.
The traveller, now alone in a vast waste of siko and snow, reflects glumly that he always was pingortorpoq - unlucky in throwing the harpoon.Reuse content