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Greenlandic Words and Pronunciation you may hear…

We included some greenlandic and terms you might hear around the camp… maybe a pronunciation contest is in order?

Akuilisaq – (ahh-kwee-lee-sahk) the Greenlandic version of a spray skirt, one that is made to fit the smaller cockpit of a traditional skin-on-frame kayak.

Auction – the process by which money is raised to pay the travel costs for next year’s featured instructors and speakers. At the Retreat, you will find an enticing variety of donated items in the live auction, silent auction, and raffle.

Avataq – (ahh-va-tock) an inflated bladder that a seal hunter would carry on the rear deck of the kayak. Also used sometimes for rolling instruction, and for one of the competition rolling maneuvers.

Canted Blade Stroke – a way of using the traditional paddle in which the top edge of the blade is tilted slightly forward as the paddle is pulled through the water.

Games – on-water kayak fun for using your new kayak skills, which may include harpoon throwing for distance and accuracy, Palo’s Wedding, etc.

Greenland National Kayaking Championships – The annual celebration of kayak heritage held in Greenland since 1987 and open to foreigners in 2000. The contest consists of nine competitive events: a short race, a long race, race with portage, team relay race, an individual rolling contest, team rolling event, harpoon throwing for both distance and accuracy, and a ropes gymnastics competition.

Greg StamerQajaqUSA’s first president, who served from the inception of the organization in 2001 until 2010. A native of Florida, Greg is the one to ask for the finer details of forward stroke technique and racing tips.

Harvey Golden – A native of Portland, Oregon, Harvey has become the U.S. expert on kayak design and construction. He has not only surveyed kayaks in museums all over the world, he has built over 100 full-scale replicas of them and written the definitive book on the subject.

Innaqatsineq – (in-NOCK-ahh-chin-nehk) The Greenlandic term for the side sculling maneuver and the first entry on the competition list. Literally translated it means ‘in a state of lying down on one’s back’.

John Heath – a pioneer kayak historian who was instrumental in spreading interest and understanding of traditional Inuit kayak culture in the U.S. His first trip to Greenland was made in 1959. Remembered fondly by all who knew him, John was a regular attendee of the Retreat for many years.

John Pedersen/John Peterson – the given name of three different important traditional kayaking personalities: 1) John Pedersen of Ilulissat was, along with his family, the driving force behind that town’s qajaq club for many years. John attended Delmarva in 2008 and 2009, and also went to SSTIKS in 2009. 2) John Peterson from Southern California has a reputation for building traditional kayaks with painstaking attention to aesthetic details. 3) John Pedersen of Nuuk, Greenland won four titles in the Championship competition between 1989 and 1995. He was featured in the documentary video “Amphibious Man”.

Maligiaq (Muh-LEE-gee-yock) a.k.a. Maligiaq Padilla – a native Greenlander, born in 1982, who first came to the Retreat in 1998 at the age of 16 as our first guest from Greenland. Having won the Greenland championship title nine times he is widely regarded as Greenland’s top kayaker. His wife Elizabeth and their two-year-old daughter live in Alaska. He lives with is wife, daughter and their son who was born last fall .

Masik – (mah-zeek) Greenlandic
term for the piece of wood inside a kayak that holds up the front of the cockpit coaming and spans the width from gunwale to gunwale. Also the name of the QajaqUSA newsletter.

Mentors – passionate paddlers here to help you improve your roll, adjust your forward stroke, find a kayak that fits, put on a tuilik, find the perfect paddle, or answer questions about kayak building, harpoon throwing, rope techniques, etc.

Nerfallaallugit – (nah-fah-SHLA-shloo-hit is the best approximation, the double L syllable is not a sound used in English) The Greenlandic word for layback rolls.

Norsaq – (nor-suhk) a narrow tapered piece of wood about the length of a forearm, used as part of a seal hunter’s equipment to throw a harpoon. It also doubles as a rolling aid, if the paddle is dropped.

Pallortillugit – (pah-SHLOR-ti-SHLOO-hit ) The Greenlandic word for the category of forward ending rolls.

Qaannat Kattuffiat – (pronounced kahn-KNAT kah-TWO-fee-at, which translates as “Greenland Kayaking Association”) This is Greenland’s national organization, founded in 1985, to preserve the cultural heritage of Greenland-style kayaking. They are responsible for the annual Greenland National Kayaking Championships.

QajaqUSA – (pronounced “Kayak U.S.A”) The non-profit organization officially recognized by Qaannat Kattuffiat as their U.S. affiliate. QajaqUSA was started around 2001 and runs the very informative site qajaqusa.org. If you haven’t signed up as a member, or if your membership has expired, now is a good time to do that!

Qaqortoq – the name of a town in South Greenland where the kayaking competition has been held many times.

Ropes or Allunaariaqattaarneq (ahh-shlu-NAH-ree-ahh-kah-TAR-nuck) – a series of gymnastics exercises done on horizontally suspended lines, which are part of the Inuit kayaking tradition and done as a scored event at the Championship games.

Shotgun Roll – this is the English designation for one of the easier rolling maneuvers done in competition. Also called the armpit roll, the actual Greenlandic name is paatip kallua tuermillugu illuinnarmik, the pronunciation of which is tougher than the roll itself.

Skin-on-frame – a kayak made the traditional way wherein a wooden framework is surrounded by a sewn-on canvas or nylon covering. The process allows the kayak to be custom sized to fit the owner. The Retreat is a great time to try one, but please follow proper etiquette, which is to ask the owner if it’s okay (do not use the word “boat”), avoid dragging it on the ground, and try not to get sand into the cockpit. QajaqUSA has an assortment of skin-on-frames at the beach that can be used without asking. They are marked with colored tape.

Aquilisaqs  – and tuiliks that are a vivid electric blue color. This identifies them as property of QajaqUSA. Feel free to try one but please don’t hog it for the whole weekend.

Terry O’Malley – the current president of QajaqUSA.

Tuilik – (pronounced TOO-ee-leek or DO-ee-leek) the Greenlandic word for a loose-fitting paddling garment that covers the head, arms, and cockpit, being fastened tightly at the wrists, face, and coaming to form a watertight barrier.