Grammatik der Grönländische Sprache
by S. Kleinschmidt

Samuel Petrus Kleinschmidt (27 Feb 1814–8 Feb 1886) was a second-generation Moravian missionary. His mother—the senior Kleinschmidt’s second wife—was Danish; Samuel grew up in Greenland and learned the language as a child. Eventually he and the Moravian order parted ways. But he soon found someone on the Danish side to work for instead, and was able to spend most of his life in Greenland.

Kleinschmidt’s Grammatik was not the first book about the language of Greenland. But it was definitely the most important.

Eventually I will make parallel versions of this introductory page—one all English and one all German. Honest.


The sections of the book are not very large. I broke them into five separate files because there are clear stylistic breaks, especially between the three Haupttheile.

Vorrede und Inhalt (p. iii–x)

Formen und Aussprache (p. 1–64, §. 1–67)

Satzlehre (p. 65–106, §. 68–103)

Zusammensetzung und Anhang (p. 107–182, §. 104–140 u. Anhang)

Tabelle der Beugungsanhänge (p. 19-20)
Tabelle als PDF   (172k)


These are some terms Kleinschmidt used consistently. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list.

Kleinschmidt:other texts may also use:
SubjectivGenitive, Ergative
ObjectivNominative, Absolutive
-tutSimilis, Aequalis
Subjectagent of verb
Objectpatient of transitive verb
Projectgrammatical subject
transitivspecific (verb)
halbtransitivintransitive or nonspecific verb (with patient in Accusative)
suffixpossessive ending and object/patient of transitive verb
e-suffixreflexive; third person (of secondary verbs)
a-suffixfourth person (of secondary verbs)
InfinitivParticiple, Conjunctive
ConjunctivCausative, Becausative, Subjunctive


Kleinschmidt used ĸ (kra) for the sound now written as q. He assumes that the reader is already familiar with this letter. Long vowels are shown as â or ã, î or ĩ etc.; see §. 2–3 of the Einleitung. The letter sequence -ij- does not occur.

Most aspects of vowel notation are not phonemic; except for the i:e and u:o variation, they are no longer used. Each of the following is a single sound:

rngnasal ĸ (q), described but not used
uvular r
sspronounced like German sch
dll after a consonant


Some of Kleinschmidt’s more important notes, including “ein- für allemal” notations:

Earlier orthographies: p. 4, §. 4

Classes of nouns and affixes: §. 28ff.

Verkürzungen in Satzlehre: §. 70, n.
n. = verneinung (-ngit-)
1. = »bevorstehende handlung« (-sa-, -u-)
2. = »vollendete handlung« (-sima-)

Andere Verkürzungen:
stw. = Stammwort
f. = frage(wort)

Form of affixes (Anhängewörter): page 111, §. 109
affix = stem unchanged
-affix = stem loses final consonant
:affix = stem loses final vowel and consonant
(g)affix = »wie bindecharacter«
(t)affix = »wie participwurzel«
r-affix, g-affix, ng-affix = affix with variable preceding letter

Short Glossary

Einige Wörter, die besonders häufig in Beispiele vorkommen (deutsche übersetz­ungen immer Kleinschmidts):


pik   sache, besitz, eigenthum.

isuma   meinung, belieben.

oĸauseĸ   wort.

inuk   mensch.

angut   mann (männliches); mit suff.: vater.

arnaĸ   weib(-liches); mit suff.: mutter.

erneĸ   sohn.

agssaĸ   finger; mehrh.: die hand.

nâlagaĸ   herr; eig.: dem gehorcht wird (pass. part.).

kivfaĸ   diener.

nano   bär.

âtâĸ   seehund.

ĸingmeĸ   hund.

igdlo   haus.

savik   messer.

ĸajaĸ   ein mannsboot.

umiaĸ   ein boot, bes. ein grönl. weiberboot

nuna   land; m. suff.: heimath.

ĸaĸaĸ   berg.

ujarak   stein.

aussaĸ   sommer.

ukioĸ   winter.


pivâ   er erhält es.

pivoĸ   er thut.

autdlarpoĸ   er geht fort, reist ab.

ornigpâ   er geht od. kommt zu ihm.

tikípâ   er kommt (bis) dahin, erreicht es.

tikípoĸ   er ist angekommen.

unigpoĸ   er bleibt da.

iluarâ   er billigt es, ihn.

torĸorpâ   er verbirgt es, hebt es auf.

naluvâ   er weiss ihn od. es nicht; n.

sinigpoĸ   er schläft.

nerivâ   er isst (od. frisst) ihn.

takuvâ   er sieht es.

issigâ   er sieht auf das.

tusarpâ   er hört es, oder ihn, oder von ihm.

tusarpoĸ   er hört.

oĸarpoĸ   er sagt.

oĸautigâ   er besagt ihn, spricht von ihm.

toĸupâ   er tödtet ihn.

toĸuvoĸ   er stirbt.

tunivâ   er begabt ihn, giebt ihm.

tiguvâ   er nimmt es.

angivoĸ   es ist gross.

mikivoĸ   es ist klein.

About the eBook

This ebook is based on two sets of scans at The Internet Archive, supplemented by a photograph of the foldout Tabelle of inflectional endings. The original book was meticu­lously typeset and proofread, so any apparent errors are most likely an artifact of the ebook preparation process. Typographical errors are listed at the end of each segment; the more important errors are also shown with mouse-hover popups.

The original Ae, Oe, Ue have been changed to Ä, Ö, Ü for ease of reading. All other spelling, punctuation and capitalization are as in the original. In particular, the variation between “hier(her)” and “hie(her)” is unchanged. The entire text was printed in Antiqua (Roman type), not fraktur. The letter “ß” was not used, and nouns were not capitalized.

All italics are in the original. Emphasis printed as gesperrt (spaced-out type) has been changed to boldface.