West Greenlandic Pidgin

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West Greenlandic Pidgin
Native toGreenland
Era17th–19th century
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

West Greenlandic Pidgin is an extinct Greenlandic-based contact language once used between the Inuit of Greenland and European traders. The vocabulary is mostly Greenlandic. Although words from Germanic languages were incorporated over the course of contact with Europeans, most of the words that are not Inuit came from other local trade languages. West Greenlandic Pidgin has a vastly simplified grammar, and sounds that were unfamiliar to Northern Europeans, such as r and q, were lost. For example, orsoq 'blubber' became oksok 'bacon'. However, other sounds have since been lost from Greenlandic, such as sh (merged into s in modern Greenlandic) and consonant clusters: nigsik has become nieksik 'hook', but in modern Greenlandic is nissik.


  • Marianne Mithun (2001) The Languages of Native North America, p 593ff
  • Hein van der Voort, "Eskimo pidgin", in Arends, Muysken, & Smith (eds), 1995, Pidgins and Creoles: an introduction