The entries in this dictionary contain quite a bit of 'Grammaric' technical jargon. The meaning and significance of this is explained in detail in the AITWG, but this page provides a brief overview for quick referencing.


Sandhi means 'joining' in Grammaric and is a collection of phenomenae that occur whenever two morphemes are joined together. In this dictionary, we distinguish between left sandhi and right sandhi:

Left sandhi

These are the types of left sandhi:

Declension sandhi (right sandhi)

These are the types of right sandhi phenomenae that may occur in noun stems before endings:

Conjugation sandhi (right sandhi)

These are the types of right sandhi phenomenae that may occur in verb stems before endings:

Combination sandhi (right sandhi)

The right-sandhi phenomena that can occur, when another morpheme (usually an affix) joins onto the stem are:

Stem type and declination

Noun stems can be divided into two broad categories, depending on the form of ending, they take in ergative singular, plural and absolutive 2.sg/sg (which is always equal to the plural ending).

Each of these broad categories can then be further subdivided into a number of different stem types, which determine whether the aforementioned endings are truncative (will remove a stem-final consonant) or additive (will join onto a stem-final consonant).

Note: A small handful of stems take N{-ip} and N{-it}, instead of the usual N{-up}, and also display a limited form of metathesis (only with these two endings). These stems were presumably originally up-declined, and the present declension pattern seems to be a confusion of ordinary metathesis and gemination.

'Weak' stems

Weak stems are characterised by ether ending in a vowel; or a consonant which is automatically dropped before all consonant-initial endings, regardless of whether the ending itself is additive or truncative. These stems are all p-declined. These are also the types of stems that may display gemination (except tə-stems).

'Middle' stems

The 'middle' group of stems are consonant stems, where the stem-final consonant is retained before consonant-initial endings, but removed by vowel-initial endings. These are thus the most 'regular' stem types, because they behave completely in accordance with the left-sandhi of the endings. This is the most common pattern for k-stems, but quite rare for q-stems. These stems are all up-declined.

'Strong' stems

The stong stems never lose their stem-final consonant before vowel-initial endings (which are normally always truncative). Instead, the final consonant is either weakened, or the stem displays metathesis. These stems can usually be recognised by the fact that they (almost always) end in /əq/ (or /ək/ in the case of k-stems). These stems are also all up-declined. However, consonant-initial endings will join onto the stem according to their own, usual left-sandhi.


The valency of a verbal stem denotes the number of logical (semantic) roles in the verbal action. This is an inherent feature of the stem (determined by its meaning). Greenlandic verbs can have one of has five different valencies, from valency 0 (avalent) to valency 4 (quadrovalent).


The diathesis (or 'voice') of a verb stem denotes how the logical roles in the verbal action (i.e. Actor, Agent, Patient) are mapped to the grammatical functions in the sentence (i.e. Subject and Object). This is especially relevant in the case of divalent stems, because it signifies how the meaning of the stem will change, if it is given an intransitive ending without an intervening HTR-morpheme. We have the following classifications:


If a stem is patient-preserving (PP), i.e. either patientive or reflexive/reciprocal, it requires a HTR-morpheme ('half-transitive' morpheme) to use the stem with an intransitive ending without altering the diathesis/voice. There are three different HTR-morphemes, and one of them furthermore has three slightly different forms; and each stem has a preference for just one of these HTR-morphemes. These are the HTR-morphemes:

As indicated above, there are some rules-of-thumb for determining the HTR-morpheme based on the stem type, but they are not without exceptions, so the preferred HTR-morpheme is listed explicitly in the Verb stem section. Affixing the HTR-morpheme to the stem yields its HTR-stem, which is also indicated in the Verb stem section.