West Greenlandic ("Kalaallisut") is a language of the Inuit branch of
Eskimo spoken by about 45,000 people on the West Coast of
Greenland. There is near hundred percent literacy and there is a flourishing literary tradition of all genres in the native language. Grammatically, West Greenlandic is typical of Inuit. Verbs and nouns are both highly inflected and there is an very unusually rich system of derivation in both categories. There are about 500 fully productive derivational affixes altogether, all of which are semantically transparent and some of which are syntactically transparent. The case marking is ergative and the syntax verb final. This sketch of the grammar of West Greenlandic is descriptive and non-technical in tone, but adheres to the principles of
Autolexical Syntax in radically separating syntax, morphology, and semantics. In each of these components no mention is made of information belonging to the others. Rather, there is a separate chapter on matching and mismatching of structures across components. The aim is both to make the basic structure of West
Greenlandic clear to the general reader and to demonstrate that a grammar consisting of autonomous modules connected by a lexically centered interface is both feasible and illuminating.