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Native toWest Greenland
Native speakers
(ca. 53,000 cited 1995)[1]
Official status
Official language in
(Kingdom of Denmark)
Language codes
Inuktitut dialect map.svg
Inuit dialects. Kalaallisut is in blue.

Kalaallisut, or West Greenlandic, 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).[3] Kalaallisut means "Greenlandic" and is virtually identical to modern standard Greenlandic.[3] It was historically spoken only 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.[4]


  1. ^ 44,000 in Greenland, and perhaps 20% more in Denmark. Greenlandic at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kalaallisut". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b Peter Schmitter, Sprachtheorien der Neuzeit: Sprachbeschreibung und Sprachunterricht, Narr, 2007, p. 406.
  4. ^ Silvia Kouwenberg, John Victor Singler (ed.), The Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Studies, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, p. 172.

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