West Greenlandic

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West Greenlandic
Native toWest Greenland
Native speakers
(44,000–52,000 cited 1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2kl
ISO 639-3kal
Inuktitut dialect map.svg
Inuit dialects. West Greenlandic in blue.

West Greenlandic (Danish: Vestgrønlandsk), also known as Kalaallisut, is the standard dialect of the Greenlandic language, spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants of Greenland, as well as by thousands of Greenlandic Inuit in Denmark proper (in total, approximately 50,000 people).[2] It was historically spoken in the southwestern part of Greenland, i.e. the region around Nuuk.

Tunumiit and Inuktun are regional dialects of Greenlandic, spoken by a small minority of the population. Danish remains an important lingua franca in Greenland and used in many parts of public life, as well as being the main language spoken by Danes in Greenland.

An extinct mixed trade language known as West Greenlandic Pidgin was based on West Greenlandic.[3]


  1. ^ 44,000 in Greenland, and perhaps 20% more in Denmark. Greenlandic at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ Peter Schmitter, Sprachtheorien der Neuzeit: Sprachbeschreibung und Sprachunterricht, Narr, 2007, p. 406.
  3. ^ Silvia Kouwenberg, John Victor Singler (ed.), The Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Studies, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, p. 172.