Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) is the official language of Greenland. It belongs to the Inuit branch of the Eskimo-Aleut language family (no relation to Icelandic or other Indo-European languages). Like other Eskimo languages, Kalaallisut is polysynthetic (hundreds of derivational affixes) and has a rich inflectional system (verbs inflect for mood and person, number, and (non)topic status of subject and object arguments; nouns inflect for number, case, and, if possessed, also person, number, and (non)topic status of the possessor argument). The nominal case system is ergative (i.e. absolutive intransitive subject and transitive object vs. ergative transitive subject). There is no grammatical tense, but Kalaallisut moods and derivational verbal affixes express temporal relations as precisely as English tenses (see e.g. Bittner 2005). Syntactic dependencies are marked on the head predicate (by pronominal argument inflections) and/or on the dependent phrase (by case inflections or dependent mood inflections).
The following Kalaallisut texts, from primary school readers and published Kalaallisut literature, were glossed and translated by Maria Bittner. The transcription system used here is the standard Kalaallisut orthography minus the allophones (i.e. phonologically predictable variants) e, o, ff of the phonemes i, u, v.
Kalaaliuguit nutsikkakkalu kukkunersiorniarlugit piffissaqaruit assut qujamasuutigissagaluarpara. Nutsikkakka pillugit qanoq ikkaluartumilluunniit oqaasissaqaruit allaffigilaarniannga uunga: mbittner (at) rci.rutgers.edu
Easy texts (beginning reader)
- Piniartup uqaluttuaa (A hunter's story). A hunter makes an emergency landing on an iceberg.
- Aataarsuup irnikasia (Aataarsuaq's kid son). Eskimo myth. Murder and revenge.
- Aapakaaq kuukkuuriarlu (Monkey and Crocodile). Hindi animal tale.
Intermediate texts (intermediate reader)
- Mitinnguaq (Little Eider). Eskimo myth. Hubris and its cost.
- Silliarnamik uqaluttuaq (The tale of Silliarnaq). Eskimo myth. People and other animals.
- Paakujuk (Sooty). A husky pup and his boy.
Advanced texts (adult competence)
- A shaman's definition of poetry. From a conversation with Orpingalik, a Netsilik shaman, recorded in early 1900's by Knud Rasmussen, a polar explorer and anthropologist.
- Appaliarsuit (Little auks). Natural history.
- From Kalaaq miiraqataalu (Kalaaq and his friends), by J. Platou. Daily life of children in the Thule district, North Greenland.
- From Histi piaraq tappiitsuq, Kalaallisut translation of The Blind Colt by G. Rounds.
- From Naya Nuki: Niviarsiaraq qimaasoq, Kalaallisut translation of Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran, by K. Thomasma.
- From Piiaasup pania Ronja, Kalaallisut translation of Ronia, The Robber's Daughter, by Astrid Lindgren.
- From Qillarsuakkunik uqalualaaq (Qillarsuaq's saga), by Inuutersuaq Ulloriaq. Story of an actual migration from Canada to Thule, written by a Thule relative (husband to a granddaughter) of one of the participants, based on her testimony.