Languages of Greenland
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The official language of Greenland is Greenlandic. The number of speakers of Greenlandic is estimated at 50,000 (85-90% of the total population), divided in three main dialects, Kalaallisut (West-Greenlandic, 44,000 speakers and the dialect that is used as official language), Tunumiit (East-Greenlandic, 3,000 speakers) and Inuktun (North-Greenlandic, 800 speakers). The remainder of the population mainly speaks Danish; Greenlandic Sign Language is the language of the deaf community.
|Languages of Greenland|
Norwegian / Swedish
French / German / Spanish
|Signed||Greenlandic Sign Language|
|Source||Statistics Greenland (2008)|
Greenland has been a very isolated and linguistically homogeneous island historically, but has nevertheless been home to several languages. Greenlandic Norse is believed to have been in language contact with Greenlandic, the language of the indigenous Kalaallit, and to have left loanwords in that language. It has been suggested that the word kona, meaning woman, is of Norse origin.
Studying Danish and English is mandatory for students in compulsory schools and also part of many secondary-level study programmes, so knowledge of the two languages is widespread. Other foreign languages frequently studied include German and French.