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Pilunnguaq Kleist of Qajaq Nuuk, QU-2000. Photo by Greg Stamer.



 

Click on the Greenlandic Term to hear it spoken by Maligiaq Padilla. Literal translations courtesy of Birgit Pauksztat. Additional Greenlandic language references. Competition Rolling List.

Word forms that appear several times:

  • "lugu" a verb conjugation form indicating a 3rd person singular object, 
    • example: nerillugu = eating it.
  • "lugit" a verb conjugation, indicating 3rd person plural as an object, 
    • example: nerillugit = eating them.
  • "+(m)mi-" touching at it.
  • "-kkut" (or "-gut") postposition, indicating a movement through the space associated with the noun that precedes it; could be translated as "via" or "through".
    • example: "igalaakkut" through the window 
  • "kingu" the part of the kayak from the coaming aft.
  • "siu" the part of the kayak from the coaming forward.
  • "mut" movement toward the noun that precedes it.
  • "mik" making use of a thing.
  1. Side sculling
    Innaqatsineq —"lying on the back".
    from "innar-" lying down (on one's back).

  2. Chest sculling
    Palluussineq
    "lying on one's belly".
    from "pallor-" leaning forward, lying on the belly.

  3. Standard Greenland roll
    Kinnguffik paarlallugu/nerfallaallugu
      "coming up on the other side, on one's back" .
    "kinngu-" capsize
    "kinguffik" place where one capsizes
    "paarla-" shifting it, crossing it
    "nerfallar-" lying down on one's back.

  4. Rolling with paddle held in crook of elbow
    Pakassummillugu/unermillugu
      "(holding the paddle) in the crook of your arm".
    "pakassuk" crook of the arm.

  5. Storm roll
    Siukkut pallortillugu/masikkut 
    "leaning forward, at the masik".
    "siu" the part of the kayak from the coaming forward + "-kkut" via or through
    "masikkut" = "masik" +"-kkut" through the space associated with the masik (foredeck).

  6. Reverse sweep roll
    Kingumut naatillugu  — "(holding the paddle) pointed/touching aft".
    "kingu" the part of the kayak from the coaming aft + "-mut" movement towards
    "naati-" hold to, hang up on, get stuck.

  7. Spine roll
    Aariammillugu  — "touching the area between the shoulder blades".
    "aariak" the area between the shoulder blades .

  8. Paddle held behind back
    Kingup apummaatigut 
    — "(holding the paddle) at the stern-gunwale".
    "kingu" the part of the kayak from the coaming aft
    "apummaq" gunwale
    "-gut" a form of "kkut" (via, through)
    (this is a possessor-possessed-construction, with a postposition ("kkut") added) .

  9. Standard roll with paddle behind neck
    Siukkut tunusummillugu
      — "forward, touching one's neck".
    "siu" the part of the kayak from the coaming forward + "-kkut" movement via or through
    "tunusuk" neck.

  10. Reverse sweep roll with paddle behind neck
    Kingukkut tunusummillugu 
    — "backward, touching one's neck".
    "kingu" the part of the kayak from the coaming aft
    "tunusuk" neck.

  11. Armpit roll
    Paatip kallua tuermillugu illuinnarmik
    — "using only one arm, with the paddle touching the shoulder".
    "paatik" paddle
    "kallu" the bone edging on the paddle blade (at the tip and/ or at the side of the paddle)
    "paatip kallua" the kallu of the paatik (bone edging of the paddle)
    "tueq" shoulder
    "illuinnarmik" only ("-innar-") using ("-mik") one arm ("illu", verbatim: "one of them").

  12. Vertical sculling roll
    Qiperuussineq/paatit ammorluinnnaq
    — "sculling with paddle held vertically".
    "qiperuussineq", a noun, from a verb stem "qiperuussi-", indicating a sculling movement
    "ammut" down " + luinnaq" precisely, truely
    "ammorluinnaq" vertical.

  13. Sculling roll with paddle held horizontally
    Masikkut aalatsine
    q "sweeping the paddle at the masik".
    "masikkut" = "masik" and "-kkut" via or through the space associated with the masik
    "aalatsi-" making sweeping movements.

  14. Rolling with the arms crossed
    Tallit paarlatsillugit paateqarluni/masikkut
      — "holding the paddle with arms crossed, at the masik".
    tallit", arms (the plural form of "taleq" arm)
    "paarla-" crossing it
    "paateqarluni": with a paddle; if you take this apart: "paatik" paddle, then "-qar" have (and because of the sound rules that apply here, the i in paatik becomes an e because of the q that follows),
    and "-luni" a verb form indicating a 3rd person singular subject which is the same as the subject in the main clause.
    "masikkut" = "masik" and "-kkut" via or through the space associated with the masik

  15. Sculling roll with paddle held under the kayak.
    Qaannap ataatigut ipilaarlugu
    — "rotating (the paddle) under the kayak"
    "qaannap" from qajaq (kayak)
    "ataa" its underside
    "qaannap ataatigut" under the kayak
    "ipilaarlugu" turning/rotating it.

  16. Quick succession of storm rolls
    Pallortillugu assakaaneq 5
       — "forward rolling, round and round"
    "assakaaneq" a noun from the verb "assakaa-" rolling (this is the movement that a wheel would make – just round and round and round).

  17. Quick succession of standard rolls
    Nerfallarlugu assakaaneq 5
       — "rolling, lying on one's back, round and round"
    "nerfallar-" lying down on one's back.
    "assakaaneq" a noun from the verb "assakaa-" rolling (this is the movement that a wheel would make – just round and round and round).

  18. Roll with hunting float
    Avataq isserfiup taqqaanut qaannap sinarsuanut qilerullugu
      — "with a float tied to the deckline at the isserfik (deck beam immediately behind the cockpit) at the side of the kayak (i.e., as opposed to putting the float on the aft deck of the kayak").
    "avataq" bladder (hunting float)
    "isserfiup" genvitive form of "isserfik", which is the cross beam immediately behind the cockpit
    "taqqaq" deckline
    "-nut" postposition, meaning to, toward
    "isserfiup taqqaanut" to the deckline at the isserfik/ right behind the cockpit
    "sinarsuk" edge
    "qaannap" from qajaq (kayak)
    "qaannap sinarsuanut" to the kayak's side
    "qileru-" bind.

  19. Throwing stick, start tucked forward, finish tucked forward
    Norsamik masikkut 
    — "with a norsaq at the masik (forward)".
    "norsaq" = throwing stick + "-mik" making use of
    "masikkut" = "masik" and "-kkut" via or through the space assocated with the masik.

  20. Throwing stick, sweep from stern to bow, finish tucked forward
    Norsamik kingukkut
       "with a norsaq, starting aft".
    "norsaq" = throwing stick + "-mik" making use of
    "kingu" the part of the kayak from the cockpit backwards and "-kkut" via or through.

  21. Throwing stick, start tucked forward, finish leaning aft
    Norsamik nerfallaallugu
     "with a norsaq, lying on one's back".
    "norsaq" = throwing stick + "-mik" making use of
    "nerfallar-" lying down on one's back.

  22. Hand roll, start tucked forward, finish tucked forward
    Assammik masikkut 
     "using your hand, at the masik (forward)".
    "assak" hand + "-mik" making use of
    "masikkut" = "masik" and "-kkut" via or through.

  23. Hand roll, sweep from stern to bow, finish tucked forward
    Assammik kingukkut
     —"using your hand, starting aft".
    "assak" hand + "-mik" making use of
    "kingu" the part of the kayak from the cockpit backwards and "-kkut" via or through.

  24. Hand roll, start tucked forward, finish leaning aft
    Assammik nerfallaallugu
     —"using your hand, lying on one's back".
    "assak" hand + "-mik" making use of
    "nerfallar-" lying down on one's back.

  25. Hand roll with a clenched fist
    Assak peqillugu /Qilerlugu/poorlugu
      —"making a fist (binding it/ wrapping it)".
    "peqi-" bending; in combination with "assak" (hand): making a fist
    "qiler-" binding
    "poor-" wrapping up.

  26. Hand roll holding an Eight kilogram brick or stone
    Ujaqqamik tigumisserluni 
     —"holding a stone in one's hand".
    ujaqqamik", from "ujarak" stone, and "-mik" which in this case indicates that the stone is an object to the (intransitive) verb that follows
    "tigummisser-" holding in one's hand, and "+luni", as above, indicates a 3rd person singular subject that is the same as the subject in the main clause.

  27. Elbow roll
    Ikusaannarmik niaqoq/pukusuk patillugu
     —"only with the elbow, touching the head/ neck".
    "ikusaannarmik" only ("-innaq-", here "annaq" because of preceding vowel) with ("-mik") the elbow ("ikusik")
    "niaqoq" head
    "pukusuk" neck
    "pati-" touching it, supporting it.

  28. Straight jacket, no hands-roll
    Tallit paarlatsillugit timaannarmik
     —"crossing the arms, only with the body".
    "tallit paarlatsillugit" with arms crossed, see explanation 14
    "timaannarmik" only with the body, from "timi" body, "innaq" only, and "+mik" with, using; the final 'i' of timi and first 'i' of innaq became a because of vowel rules.

  29. Paddling upside down
    Pusilluni paarneq
     —"paddling with the kayak turned upside down".
    "pusi-" turning the kayak upside down
    "paarneq" noun from the verb "paar-" paddle.

  30. Walrus Pull
    Nusutsinneq kinngunani iluarisamut 
    —"pulling as long as possible without capsizing".
    "nusutsinneq" a noun from the verb pulling ("nusu-");
    the "tsi" makes the transitive verb (a verb that takes an object) into an intransitive one (that takes no object)
    "kinngunani" without capsizing, from "kinngu-" capsize, with the ending "-nani" which is the negative version of the verb ending "luni", indicating a third person singular subject (same as in main clause) that does not do what the verb indicates – in this case, does not capsize
    "iluarisamut" I think this can be translated as "as long as possible", ie, up to the point at which it is (still) ok for the person who is pulled; from the verb "iluari-" agree, accepting, with "saq" the object that the person agrees with, and "-mut" to .

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Birgit Pauksztat for providing the literal English translations to the Greenland Competition rolling list.

We are indebted to John Heath, Maligiaq Padilla, Kaleraq Bech, the Qaannat Kattuffiat, Hans Kleist-Thomassen, and many others, for making this list of Greenlandic rolling terms available outside of Greenland. Also, if not for the passion of kayakers such as Manasse Mathaeussen and others, who kept these skills alive, and the foresight of the Greenlanders to form Qaannat Kattuffiat to preserve these skills, much of this information would likely have been lost. My apologies to those contributors whose name goes unmentioned.

John Heath compiled the initial English translation of the rolling list and the roll descriptions over a long period of time involving several trips to Greenland and at much personal expense. John met both with old seal catchers and young Greenland competition athletes to glean this information.

A new book, "Eastern Arctic Kayaks" by John Heath and Dr. Eugene Arima, is scheduled for publication in 2004. This book contains John Heath's documentation of the Greenlandic rolling terms, including descriptions, photographs and illustrations of the rolling maneuvers.


 

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