Class digits, inflexions and affixes


The Greenlandic morphemes (i.e. meaningful parts of words) are written with a digit for syntactic class on their right. The digit indicates that the morpheme is


0: (the last in) a word

1: the first part of a verbal inflexion

2: a verbal stem, or an affix forming a verbal stem

3: the first (or not last) part of a complex nominal inflexion

4: a noun stem, or an affix forming a noun stem

6: a demonstrative stem

7: a pronominal stem inflecting for person_and_number

8: a 'directional stem'

9: a prefix or connector


8 is a sort of noun stem, see below; 6 and 7 are also nominal.


The following morpheme in a composite Greenlandic word must have this class on its left. Morphemes which may be the first in a word, i.e. prefixes and stems, have the left class 9 - also in Danish. The class digits 1..8 are replaced by 0 in Danish.


Now give the Greenlandic word "anuerpaa" through [analysis -]:

anuerpaa, a=nu=er=paa (2 2 3 4)

  Osep: (i9;105 1)  {anu} >anuerpaa S spænder den fra, tager seletøjet af den, slipper den løs E unharnesses it, lets it loose *

  Osep(2): (i9;105 2) P * >anuerpaa (=qimmeq =qimuttoq). tak: =anu, =anut


  More (double click / tap) :  K p g 0 2 3 6


(There is more stress on the heavier syllables. "rp" in a=nu=er=paa denotes a long p with retracted pronounciation [uvularisation] of the preceding vowel.)


0 : enkleste analyse(r) E simplest analysis/analyses


   Analysis :  anuer/pa/a  =  anueq2.Paq1.a0  (indi,3e,3e)

  <anueq2  verbalstamme E verbal stem>  Osep: (i9;105 1)  {anu} >anuerpaa S spænder den fra, tager seletøjet af den, slipper den løs E unharnesses it, lets it loose *

  <.Paq1  indikativ (fremsættemåde) E indicative>

  <.a0  3. person ental, Objekt = 3. person ental E 3rd person singular, Object = 3rd person singular>


  More (double click / tap) :  K O p g 2 3 6




   Analysis :  anu/er/pa/a  =  anu4.eq2.Paq1.a0  (indi,3e,3e)

  <anu4  navnestamme E noun stem>  Osp: (i9;96 1)  {PE 33:5 anu} >anu (/S >anut ) . sele (til et trækdyr) E harness, dog's traces *

  <.eq2  føjes til navnestamme, danner verbalstamme E is added to a noun stem, forms a verbal stem>  'tager .. af/fra den/ham' .erpaa

  <.Paq1  indikativ (fremsættemåde) E indicative>

  <.a0  3. person ental, Objekt = 3. person ental E 3rd person singular, Object = 3rd person singular>


  More (double click / tap) :  K O p g 0 3 6


The affix means 'robs/strips it of .., takes away .. from it', as a double click on .erpaa will show. The hunter strips the dog of its harness. .erpaa is added to a noun stem (4) as explained.


"anut" through [analysis -] gives:


anut, a=nut (2 3)

  Osep: (i9;96 1)  {PE 33:5 anu} >anu (/S >anut ) . sele (til et trækdyr) E harness, dogs' traces *

  Osep(2): (i9;96 3) P >anut, tq


  More (double click / tap):  K p g 0 1 2 4 5


0 : enkleste analyse(r) E simplest analysis/analyses


   Analysis :  anu/t  =  anu4.#°t0  (f,)

  <anu4  navnestamme E noun stem>  Osep: (i9;96 1)  {PE 33:5 anu} >anu (/S >anut ) . sele (til et trækdyr) E harness, dogs' traces *

  <.#°t0  flertal E plural>


  More (double click / tap) :  K O p g 1 2 4 5


"anuerpaa" anueq2.Paq1.a0 (indi,3e,3e) is a verb, "anu" anu4.€0 (e,n) [singular, nominative] and "anut" anu4.#°t0 (f,) [plural] are nouns. Verbal stems, and affixes (i.e. stem expanders) which form verbal stems, have a digit 2 on their right. Noun stems, and affixes which form them, have a digit 4 on their right. The last morpheme in a word always has a digit 0 on its right.


Most verbal inflexions consist of a morpheme with 1 on its right and a following morpheme with 0 on its right. The first morpheme indicates mood, here indicative. The last morpheme in a complex verbal inflexion indicates the person_and_number of Subject and possibly Object; both have the value 3e = 3rd person singular ('he/she/it') in the example "anuerpaa" (indi,3e,3e).


A Greenlandic verb may have Subject and Object further specified by a nominal in the sentence, but it is optional. When there is an Object, the term Agent will be used instead of Subject. So transitive verbs have Agent and Object, and intransitive verbs have Subject only.


The intransitive form "anuerpoq" is not in the dictionary. If you give it in, the programme will suggest the corresponding transitive form ("anuerpaa"). (And conversely when the transitive form is not in the dictionary.) The programme also suggests "-anuerpoq or -+anuerpoq" = "anuerpoq" through [analysis -] or [-+].


Greenlandic verbs have a value of mood (here indi[cative]) on the first place in the inflexional parentheses whith abbreviations for the syntactical indications of the inflexion [here: (indi,3e,3e)]. Greenlandic nouns and other nominals have a value of case on the last place in their inflexional parentheses. "anu" anu4.€0 (e,n) 'harness' is a noun in singular and nominative case. "anut" 'dogs' traces' anu4.#°t0 (f,) is a plural noun; the place for case is empty, meaning n(ominative) or g(enitive); words with this inflexion have the same form in these two cases.


In addition to nominative and genitive there are six so-called local cases; they can often be translated by a preposition, but instrumental (nik) is also the case of an Object which has been suppressed by the 'half-transitive' affix .(T)ivoq etc.


"anut" is most often plural (f,) and means '(dogs') traces'. But it may also be (e,2e,n) 'your (dog's) trace':




   Analysis :  anu/t  =  anoq4.#°t0  (f,)

  <anoq4  navnestamme E noun stem>  Osep: (i9;97 1)  {anu} €anoraa , €anorivaa

  <.#°t0  flertal E plural>


   Analysis (2):  anu/t  =  anu4.#°t0  (e,2e,n)

  <anu4  navnestamme E noun stem>  Osep: (i9;96 1)  {PE 33:5 anu} >anu (/S >anut ) . sele (til et trækdyr) E harness, dogs' traces *

  <.#°t0  ental, Ejer = 2. person ental, nominativ E singular, Possessor = 2nd person singular, nominative>


  More (double click / tap) :  K O p g 0 2 4 5


Selection of 4 or 5 will reveal that the stem anoq4 is anu4 plus .q4 ; this affix is added to noun stems that end in a vowel, and it indicates countability. Cf. the analyses of "ordbogeeraq" in [Guide]Analysis with Danish.


In "anut" anu4.#°t0 (e,2e,n) 'your dog's trace' the referee ('trace') is singular, and it has a Possessor who is 2nd person singular ('your _'). So nouns can also have two values of (person_and_)number. Take a word like "anuinut" 'to its/their traces' (f,3i,nut):


anuinut, a=nu=i=nut (2 2 2 3)


   Analysis :  anu/i/n/ut  =  anu4.i3.nut0  (f,3i,nut)

  <anu4  navnestamme E noun stem>  OseP: (i9;96 1)  {PE 33:5 anu} >anu (/S >anut ) . sele (til et trækdyr) E harness, dogs' traces *

  <.i3  flertal, Ejer = (ikke refleksiv) 3. person E plural, Possessor = (not reflexive) 3rd person>

  <.n3  lokalkasus E local case>

  <.ut0  allativ (nut-fald) 'til/mod ..' E allative>


  More (double click / tap) :  p 1 4 13


The analysis is in fact  anu/i/n/ut = anu4.i3.n3.ut0 , with a morpheme (3).n3 that is common to four of the six local cases.


The values of person_and_number are indicated by the first part (4).i3 of the complex noun inflexion. In the example they are plural, Possessor = (not reflexive) 3rd person (singular or plural). With a reflexive Possessor we have:


"anuminut" = anu4.#-mi3.nut0 (f,3re,nut) 'to its own traces', "anuminnut" = anu4.#-mik3.nut0 (f,3rf,nut) 'to their own traces'.


(Same forms in the singular when the stem ends in a vowel or in a q deleted by gemination [#].) Reflexive is used when the Possessor and the Subject of the main verb (or equivalent) is/are the same (dog/dogs in this case). Or more generally, when the Actor behind the person_and_number in question includes the Subject/Agent of the main verb or equivalent.


"anuinut" through [analysis -] and choice of "p" gives a (negative) example:


  OseP: (i96;85 2)  * _qitorngartoqqut, t _qitorngartoqqutip, _qitorngartoqqutit: =allunaaq =qimmit =anuinut =tulliusoq =peersaatilik


  More (double click / tap) :  0 1 4 13


"qitorngartoqqut" is explained here as a thong ("allunaaq") with a bone knob ("peersaatilik") which is [fixed in a toggle] next ("tulliusoq") to the dogs' traces ("qimmit anuinut"). The dogs are Possessor of their traces, but the Subject of the verb is the thong. "anuinut" (f,3i,nut) 'to their traces' therefore has a Possessor person_and_number (= 3i) which agrees with not (i.e. Danish: i[kke]) reflexive.


In [Grammar]Examples the noun stem nuna4 and the verbal stem aki2 are shown with all inflexions. You may double click on a word in the paradigm and give it in through [analysis -]; then select "0" or a higher digit and see the general form of the inflexion. Or you may give the right part of the word through [right part /] and then [analysis -]. But you must segment the word correctly - not inside a morpheme or inside a complex inflexion.


The demonstrative stem av6 and the pronominal stem tamaq7 are also shown with all inflexions in [Grammar]Examples. Greenlandic has also a few pronominal stems with a fixed value of person and less regular inflexion. Directional stems like aT8 (e.g. in "ammut" 'downwards', "ataani" 'under it', "apparpoq" 'moves downwards') are used with a subset of the noun inflexions and with a few of the affixes.


Greenlandic interjections, adverbs and conjunctions have no value of mood or case or (person_and_)number: (). A few are appended to other words, e.g. the conjunction .lu 'and, also': "anuinullu"  anu/i/n/ul/lu = anu4.i3.nut0.lu0 (f,3i,nut) [=lu] 'and to their dogs' traces'. .lu functions in the sentence as a conjunction, and this is communicated to the sentence analysis with a "=lu" in the square brackets. (But my programme for sentence analysis is not included here.)


Greenlandic has also a few affixes which are added after an inflexion for local case and form a verbal stem. In Frederik Nielsen's translation of H.C. Andersen's fairy tale "The emperor's new dress" it is said: "kaasari atsisaasivimminiippoq" 'the emperor is in his wardrobe':


atisaasivimminiippoq, a=ti=saa=si=vim=mi=niip=poq (2 2 4 2 3 2 5 3)


   Analysis :  atisa/asivim/mi/n/i/ip/poq/  =  atisaq4.uT4.Livik4.#mi3.ni0  (e,3re,ni)  ...

  <atisaq4  navnestamme E noun stem>  OseP: (i14;190 1)  {ativaa; [PE 55:1 ate-]} >atisaq . klædningsstykke E piece of apparel |

  <.uT4.Livik4  udvider navnestamme E expands a noun stem>  .usivik = .ut plus .Livik

  <.#mi3  ental, Ejer = (refleksiv) 3. person ental E singular, Possessor = (reflexive) 3rd person singular>

  <.n3  lokalkasus E local case>

  <.i0  lokativ (ni-fald) 'i/på/ved _' E locative>

   Analysis :  ...  =  .it2.Poq1.€0  (indi,3e)  atisaasivimmini+ippoq

  <.it2  føjes til ord, danner verbalstamme E is added to a word, forms a verbal stem>  'er ..' .ippoq

  <.Poq1  indikativ (fremsættemåde) E indicative>

  <.€0  3. person ental E 3rd person singular>


  More (double click / tap) :  1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14


"atisa/as/i/vik" 'wardrobe' is 'a place (.Fvik) where to put (.Li/voq) possessed (.ut) clothes (atisa/t)'. [ati/saq 'something to put on (ati/vaa)'.] The word "atisaasivimminiippoq" is used in sentences in the same way that the two words "atisaasivimmini" (e,3re,ni) 'in his wardrobe' and "ippoq" (indi,3e) 'he/she/it is ..' would be. The inflexion for Possessor agrees with reflexive because it refers to the emperor, who is Subject of the verb.


Compounding is rare in Greenlandic. An example is "siniffik-pooq" 'bed-bag = sleeping bag', compare Danish "sovepose".


siniffik-pooq, si=nif=fik-pooq (2 3 3 5)

  Osep: (i108;99 2)  >siniffik-pooq O sovepose |


  More (double click / tap) :  0 7 14


0 : enkleste analyse(r) E simplest analysis/analyses


   Analyse / Analysis :  siniffik/-/pooq/  =  siniffik4.-9.pooq4.€0  (e,n)

  <siniffik4  navnestamme E noun stem>  OseP: (i108;99 1)  {sinippoq; PI 87:10 cinegvik} >siniffik . seng E bed, bedstead |

  <.-9  forbinder, af endelse for (e,n) E connector, from the inflexion for singular, nominative>

  <pooq4  navnestamme E noun stem>  OseP: (i81;216 1)  {PI 294:9 pu(g)uq} >pooq . sæk, hylster; indpakning E bag, case, sheath |

  <.€0  ental, nominativ E singular, nominative>


  More (double click / tap) :  O 7 14


The noun stems sinif/fik4 'bed' and pooq4 'bag' are combined into a stem siniffik-pooq4 'sleeping bag' which here has the inflexion (4).€0 (e,n) [singular, nominative]. The two stems are connected by (4).-9 , whose origin is the same noun inflexion. "siniffik" 'a bed' can be analyzed as 'a place where (.Fvik) to sleep (sinik2)'.


Greenlandic has the prefixes aa9 and taC9; they are added to the 12 demonstrative stems only, and in a more or less irregular way.  Therefore I have entered the demonstratives in the stem dictionary (OseP) both without and with aa9 (before a vowel) and taC9: u6, aaju6 and aa6 (=u/na, =aaju/na and =aa/na), kan6 and takan6 (=kan/na, =kan/ani and =takanani), pav6 and tappav6 (=pan/na, =pav/ani and =tappav/ani), etc. taC9 refers to something previously mentioned, or it calls for attention like aa9 (prefix), aa0 (particle) and (0).aa (affix particle, enclitic).


The programme will analyse the given word in a stem chain from the left end and in a suffix chain from the right end. The last morpheme in a valid stem chain is a stem; it has 9 on its left and < 9 on its right. Suffix chains contain no morpheme with 9 on its left or right. An analysis consists of a valid stem chain and a fitting suffix chain.


Greenlandic has many inflexions, and a Greenlandic stem may be expanded again and again with an affix. The suffix chain in a Greenlandic word is therefore often long. In Danish it is the stem chain that may be comparatively long. Greenlandic stem chains rarely contain more than one stem, and never more than two.


All the inflexions, or their first part, can be seen as "stems" in the file i156. The derivatives are shown as "stems" in files i139 to i155. The general form starts with a ".", and below come one or more surface forms starting with a "/". The inflexions and affixes (as "stems") are shown in alphabetical order in the first files o (o1 to o12). The index file o0 is a survey; line no. N in this file is the beginning of the first line in the file oN.


749 of the affixes in the files i are marked with an "A" (for Affix) and a tentative translation, based on the dictionaries and their examples. You can see them in [Grammar]Affixes with a gloss I and II. (There are 748 if you see ".aluit" as plural of ".aluk".) A "B" (after "A" or alone) means that Oqaatsit gives at least one example of the affix.


According to the preface in the third edition (1997) of Oqaatsit, this dictionary contains 718 affixes. But some of them are easily recognizable side forms like (4).givaa = (4).gaa and (2).givaa = (2).gaa. And many are combinatorial variants like [two] -givaa = -gaa and -rivaa = -raa (after q). (q + initial .g -> r as explained in [Grammar]Sounds and orthography.) The two affixes (4).gaa and (2).gaa therefore occur as 2*2*2 = 8 'affixes' in Oqaatsit. If I look away from easily recognizable side forms and combinatorial variants, I reach a number of different affixes in Oqaatsit (1997) slightly below 500. In the files i they are marked with a "B", as explained above. 432 after "A" and 51 alone, giving a total of 483 affixes marked with a "B", which indicates that the affix is exemplified in Oqaatsit. Nearly all these affixes can be considered productive, says the supplementary volume (1998).


Lise Lennert Olsen and Gitte Hertling (in "Grønlandsk tilhængsliste" 1988) list 432 affixes and 13 affix particles. The second edition (2011) gives additional 5 and some more examples. Most of these affixes are productive. I have cited nearly 200 of the examples as a supplement to the dictionaries.


You may give the right part of a word (such as "gaa" or "givaa", "raa" or "rivaa") through the push-button [right part /] and see my notation (".gaa" or ".givaa"), which is the entry form in GroenOrd. This notation is explained in [Grammar]Sounds and orthograpy and in [Grammar]Concatenation of morphemes.