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Kalaallisut language

From Academic Kids

The Kalaallisut language (also called Greenlandic, Greenlandic Eskimo, or Greenlandic Inuktitut) is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in Greenland and closely related to Canadian languages like Inuktitut. The language, like its relatives, is highly polysynthetic and ergative. There are almost no compound words, but mostly derivations. Greenland has three main dialects: North, West and East Greenlandic; West Greenlandic, the largest dialect, is called Kalaallisut. The northern dialect, Inuktun, spoken around the city of Qaanaaq (Thule) is more closely related to Canadian Inuktitut. Kalaallisut is spoken by about 50,000 people.

For a short comparison: the name Inuktitut, when translated into Kalaallisut, is Inuttut. One of the most famous Inuktitut words, iglu (house), is illu in Kalaallisut.

Kalaallisut distinguishes two open word classes: nouns and verbs. Each category is subdivided by intransitive and transitive words. The languages distinguishes four persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd reflexive), two numbers (singular, plural; no dual as in Inuktitut), eight moods (indicative, participial, imperative, optative, past subjunctive, future subjunctive, habitual subjunctive), ten cases (absolutive, ergative, equative, instrumental, locative, allative, ablative, perlative; for some selected nouns: nominative, accusative). Verbs carry bipersonal inflection for subject and object (distinguished by person and number). Transitive nouns carry possessive inflection.

In contrast to Canadian languages, Kalaallisut is not written with the Inuktitut syllabary, but with the Latin alphabet. A special character, the Kra symbol, was used exclusively in Kalaallisut until a spelling reform replaced it with the letter q.

External links

da:Gr°nlandsk fi:gr÷nlannin kieli kl:kalaallisut

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