West Greenlandic

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(Redirected from Kalaallisut language)
West Greenlandic
Native toWest Greenland
Native speakers
(44,000–52,000 cited 1995)[1]
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3kl
Inuit dialects. West Greenlandic in blue.

Kalaallisut (lit.'language of the Kalaallit'), also known as West Greenlandic (Danish: vestgrønlandsk), is the primary language of Greenland and constitutes 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.

Tunumiisut and Inuktun are the two other native languages of Greenland, 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) Closed access icon
  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.