July 12, 2009

Nunarput, utoqqarsuanngoravit: Greenland's National Anthem

Near the end of June, my friend Mrs Eley-Nelson & I were drinking mint juleps & reading up about Greenland - a country larger than Alaska that has a population half the size of Berkeley. The National Anthem's language in Greenlandic is really something - I'll quote in full from http://www.greatestplaces.org/medias/greenland/songs/nunarput.htm

1. Nunarput, utoqqarsuanngoravit niaqqut ulissimavoqq qiinik. Qitornatit kissumiaannarpatit tunillugit sineriavit piinik.

2. Akullequtaastut merletutut ilinni perotugut tamaani kalaallinik imminik taajumavugut niaqquit ataqqinartup saani.

3. Atortillugillu tamaasa pisit ingerlaniarusuleqaagut, nutarterlugillu noqitsigisatit siumut, siumut piumaqaagut.

4. Inersimalersut ingerlanerat tungaalitsiterusuleqaarput, oqaatsit "aviisit" qanoq kingunerat atussasoq erinigileqaarput.

5. Taqilluni naami atunngiveqaaq, kalaallit siumut makigitsi. Inuttut inuuneq pigiuminaqaaq, saperasi isumaqaleritsi.

1. Our country, who's become so old your head all covered with white hair. Always held us, your children, in your bosom providing the riches of your coasts.

2. As middle children in the family we blossomed here Kalaallit, we want to call ourselves before your proud and honourable head.

3. With a burning desire to develop what you have to give, renewing, removing
your obstacles our desire to move is forward, forward.

4. The way of matured societies is our zealous goal to attain; the effect of speech and letters we long to behold.

5. Humbleness is not the course Kalaallit wake up and be proud! A dignified life is our goal; couragously take a stand.

The first half of the fourth verse - "The way of matured societies is our zealous goal to attain" - is only three words - "Inersimalersut ingerlanerat tungaalitsiterusuleqaarput". I'd really like to know the breakdown of the word tungaalitsiterusuleqaarput. Not to mention, what a depressing verse for an anthem - "the effect of speech and letters we long to behold"!?
was written by Jonathan Peterson & Henrik Lund, & adopted in 1916. Wikipedia says there's an alternate anthem used by the Kalaallit Inuit people called "Nuna asiilasooq" ("The Land of Great Length"), which also appears to have been written by Jonathan Peterson.

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