Greenlandic (Kalaallisut)

Greenlandic is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken by about 57,000 people in Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat) and Denmark. There are three main dialects: West Greenlandic (Kalaallisut), East Greenlandic (Tunumiisut) and North Greenlandic (Inuktun).

West Greenlandic is spoken by 54,500 people in Nuuk, Sisimiut and Kangerussuaq, is has been the official language of the Greenlandic autonomous territory since 2009 - before then it shared official status with Danish. West Greenlandic used in Greenland's schools, and is the sole medium of instruction in primary schools. It is also spoken by 7,000 people in Denmark. East Greenlandic is spoken by 3,000 people mainly in the Tasiilaq in southeast Greenland, and North Greenlandic is spoken by 1,000 people in Qaanaaq and Nord in the north of Greenland. North Greenlandic has more similarities with Inuktitut, an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in Canada, than other Greenlandic dialects.

Greenlandic probably arrived in Greenland in the 13th century and was first described in the 1600s. In the 1700s Danish missionary compiled dictionaries and grammars of the language - the first Greenlandic dictionary was published in 1750, and the first grammar in 1760, both by Paul Edege (1708-1789).

Between 1851 and 1973 a complex orthography invented by Samuel Kleinschmidt, a missionary linguist, was used to write Greenlandic. A new orthography which bought the written language closer to the spoken language was introduced in 1973.

Source: http://www.pulaarvik.ca/community/Inuktitut.html

A a E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m
a e ef ge ha i je ka el em
N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t U u V v  
en o pe qaa er es te u ve  

A recording of the Greenlandic alphabet by Jan Jurčík

The letters B (be), C (ce) D (de), W (we), X (iks), Y (y), Z (ze), Æ (æ), Ø (ø) and Å (å) are also used, but only in loanwords and names.

Greenlandic pronunciation

Greenlandic pronunciation

Notes

  • Before a uvular consonant, [q] or [ʁ]), /i/ is realized allophonically as [e] or [ɛ] and /u/ as [o] or [ɔ]. This alternation is shown in the modern orthography by writing /i/ and /u/ as ⟨e⟩ and ⟨o⟩ respectively before uvulars ⟨q⟩ and ⟨r⟩.
  • t, k, q, p and g are pronounced weaker at the ends of words, ex. Inuugujaq /inu:guja(q)/

Sample text

Inuit tamarmik inunngorput nammineersinnaassuseqarlutik assigiimmillu ataqqinassuseqarlutillu pisinnaatitaaffeqarlutik. Silaqassusermik tarnillu nalunngissusianik pilersugaapput, imminnullu iliorfigeqatigiittariaqaraluarput qatanngutigiittut peqatigiinnerup anersaavani.

A recording of this text

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Useful phrases in Greenlandic | Tower of Babel in Greenlandic

Links

Information about the Greenlandic language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaallisut_language
http://www.greenlandic.estranky.cz/clanky/o-gronstine.html (in Czech)

Greenlandic phrases
http://www.boomspeed.com/lckmctighe/greenlandic.html
http://brazil1500.tripod.com/wodlingos/id33.html
http://www.greenland.com/en/about-greenland/kultur-sjael/sprog/audio-parloer.aspx

Greenlandic parser project
http://giellatekno.uit.no/kal.html

Greenland Language Council / Oqaasileriffik (in Greenlandic, Danish and English)
http://www.oqaasileriffik.gl

Kalaallit Nunaata Radio (Radio Greenland)
http://knr.gl/radio

Greenlandic songs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQb2HiXsLi0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXhdZEHxKWc

Education in Greenland
http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/IEW/edgreen.html

Greenland Guide
http://www.greenland.com

Eskimo-Aleut languages

Aleut, Greenlandic, Inuktitut, Iñupiaq, Yup'ik

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet