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Saamic / Lappish Profile

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Chung
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Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 1 of 24
29 July 2010 at 5:58pm | IP Logged 
INTRODUCTION
The Saamic or Lappic languages (Sámegielat) form a dialectal continuum spoken in far northern Europe. The native designation for Northern Saami (i.e. the most widely-spoken Saamic language) is “Davvisámegiella” meaning “Northern Saami language”. A few municipalities in Finland, Norway, and Sweden designate one of the Saamic languages as official and all three countries recognize them as minority languages. They are the mother tongue of people of Saami ancestry whose traditional homeland called “Sápmi” stretches from central Norway and Sweden through northern Finland to Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Estimates for the number of people of Saami ethnicity (self-designated or otherwise) vary between 80,000 and 135,000 with roughly 25,000 of them being able to speak fluently at least one of the Saamic languages.

Linguists classify the Saamic languages as Finno-Ugric and linguistic relatives include Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian. Finno-Ugric in turn is part of the larger Uralic language family which includes the Samoyedic languages and is possibly related to the Yukaghir languages. The Samoyedic and Yukaghir languages are spoken in northern Russia. When considering relationships to major standard languages, the Saamic languages show the most similarity to Estonian and Finnish but there is little if any mutual intelligibility.

Many linguists consider Uralic as unrelated to any other language group. However, proponents of the Nostratic school postulate that the Uralic languages are related to those of the Indo-European, Altaic, Kartvelian and Dravidian families. Other linguists such as Merritt Ruhlen and the late Joseph Greenberg maintain that Uralic is related to Indo-European, Altaic and Eskimo-Aleut languages.

Notwithstanding the classification of Saamic within the Uralic family, the Saamis themselves probably descend from waves of migration toward northern Fennoscandia and subsequent mixing between different populations starting after the end of the last glacial period (ca. 10,000 BC). However the Proto-Saamic language has been reconstructed as developing in what are now southern Finland and the Republic of Karelia in Russia around 500 BC and only afterwards did its use spread further north. This implies that the ancestors of the Saami may not have used languages that would be classified as Uralic. Given the harsh living conditions of far northern Europe, the Saamis have developed a broadly nomadic lifestyle mainly by fishing, trapping or domestication of reindeer. Starting in the 16th century, the Saamis began to face increased cultural, political and/or socioeconomic pressure from Finns, Norwegians, Russians and Swedes. By the end of the 19th century matters had become more serious with the effects of Romantic Nationalism (e.g. Norwegianization) and industrialization (e.g. exploitation of iron ore in northern Sweden) competing against traditional culture. Saami culture stayed under immense pressure for much of the 20th century with the maintenance of Norwegianization (discontinued during the 1980s), collectivization in the USSR and the scorched-earth policy of the retreating German army in World War II. The distinctiveness of the Saamis has only recently become viewed positively and there has been greater outside interest in preserving their heritage and encouraging its survival.


USEFULNESS
It is useful in areas where they are spoken, however according to UNESCO virtually all existing Saamic languages are classified as endangered. The level of danger varies from being definitely endangered as with Northern Saami (the one with the most speakers at roughly 20,000) to being critically endangered as with Pite Saami (UNESCO estimates 20 speakers remaining). The small number of native speakers is tied to a vicious cycle where many Saamis also speak the official language of the country where they live (i.e. Finnish, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish) thus discouraging much production of materials for teaching a Saamic language as a second language. The scarcity of such learning materials makes it difficult for outsiders to begin learning them independently.

Knowledge of a Saamic language would acquaint the learner with some features that are characteristic of Uralic (e.g. Estonian, Hungarian) and Altaic languages (e.g. Mongolian, Turkish). However, a prospective learner of a Saamic language should realize that the ancestral Saamic language probably evolved about 2,500 years ago and its descendants have diverged noticeably from their next nearest set of major “relatives” in the form of Estonian or Finnish.
       

CHIC FACTOR       
Because of the languages’ rarity and distinctiveness from neighbouring languages, native speakers of any Saamic language are often pleased when foreigners make the effort to use at least a little of their language. It can sometimes act as an effective conversational icebreaker with native speakers (assuming that one knows enough of a Saamic language AND can find a native speaker!). However their attraction is dulled somewhat not only by being noticeably different from widely-spoken languages today (to the point of making them difficult for most outsiders) but also by all of them being endangered. Learning any of them may therefore be viewed as pointless or a diversion from learning languages supported by more learning materials or imbued with more prestige or utility.


ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
Knowledge of a Saamic language could be most useful for economic purposes if one were working among Saamis. However as noted above, most Saamis today are fluent in the official language of the country where they live, thus largely precluding the need for outsiders to learn any of the Saamic languages to earn a living.


TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES
The cultural area of the Lapps called “Sápmi” extends through northern Scandinavia to the Kola Peninsula in Russia. Despite its Arctic location, the region for the most part can be visited all year round as infrastructure is well-developed considering its latitude that far north of the Arctic Circle. The North Atlantic Current which is an extension of the Gulf Stream is likely the strongest factor why a region so far north is more habitable than otherwise (for comparison, Sápmi is at the same latitude as central Greenland and northern Siberia). Sápmi is marked by extremes with temperatures known to vary from -50C in winter to 30C in summer. Sápmi’s latitude also means that for roughly two months in the summer the sun never sets (midnight sun) while for roughly two months in the winter the sun does not rise at all (polar night). The prolonged darkness in winter makes the region an ideal place to see the Northern Lights. Sápmi’s terrain varies from mountains, fjords, valleys and glaciers in the west (northern Norway and Sweden) to a plateau with lakes and marshes in the center (northern Finland) and then to tundra in the east (Kola Peninsula of Russia). In winter there are opportunities for skiing (mainly cross-country) as well as dog-sledding. The region's greatest overall attraction is arguably its natural beauty and suitability for campers and trekkers. Yet for more urbane travellers, Sápmi does cater to people interested in Lappish culture and there are opportunities to visit a few sacred sites or museums.

The following sites in Sápmi may be of most interest for visitors:

- Inari, Finland: This village is the seat of Finland’s Saami Parliament and lies on the shores of Lake Inari – Sápmi’s largest lake. The lake contains the islands Hautuumaasaari (“Graveyard Island”) which was an ancient burial Lappish ground and Ukonkivi (“Ukko’s Stone”) was used by the Lapps for sacrificial ceremonies as late as the 19th century. Inari is also notable for Siida which comprises the Saami Museum and Nature Center of Northern Lapland. Lastly, various nature areas and parts of two national parks, Lemmenjoki and Urho Kekkonen fall within Inari’s limits and thus it is a useful base for nature-lovers exploring some of Sápmi’s natural beauty.

- Karasjok, Norway: Norway’s Saami Parliament is located in this municipality of roughly 3,000 people which also contains a few Saami cultural or scientific institutions such as museums, libraries and research institutes. 80% of its population consists of native-speakers of a Saamic language.

- Kautokeino, Norway: This municipality of roughly the same size as Karasjok is notable for being a hub of Saami life (90% of the citizenry speaks Northern Saami). Here there are theaters, schools, research institutes, media companies and a state college devoted to the use or study of Saamic languages. Various Saami festivals and concerts are also held here throughout the year including the Sámi Grand Prix which is an annual contest for Saami bands/singers.

- Kiruna, Sweden: Sweden’s northernmost city is the seat of Sweden’s Saami Parliament and the largest settlement in Swedish Lapland. Its main attraction for visitors lies in being a base for activities in the outdoors such as hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, trekking, rafting or canoeing. However, Kiruna also boasts an ice-hotel that operates in winter and is home to the rocketry range and research center, Esrange, as well as the Institute of Space Physics.

- Laponian Area, Sweden: This is a protected mountainous wildlife area on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. It is remarkable for being the largest unmodified natural area of its kind that is still maintained by natives (i.e. Saami reindeer-herders). It consists mainly of national parks, nature reserves and mountains.

- Lovozero, Russia: This village is the center of Saami life in Russia and it has both a museum devoted to Saami culture and a Saami cultural center. It also holds festivals for Russian Saami.

- Rovaniemi, Finland: The municipal area contains the capital of Finland’s administrative area “Lapin maakunta” (~ Lapland) and is crossed by the Arctic Circle. In addition to being designated by some as the home of Santa Claus, its Arktikum Science Mueseum has in-depth exhibitions of life in the Arctic and the people inahbiting such regions (including the Saami). Rovaniemi is also a base for package tours that provide a glimpse (sometimes of questionable authenticity) into Saami culture.

- Snåsa, Norway: Southern Saami is an official language in this municipality but is seriously endangered. Of additional interest for learners of Saami is its museum and cultural center for Southern Saami called “Saemien Sijte”.

- Tromsø, Norway: Every February the city hosts a festival called “Saami Week” which has celebrations on February 6 to mark Saami National Day as its highlight. The University of Tromsø has an appropriately northern focus and includes a Center for Saami Studies that offers courses in Saamic language or culture. The university’s museum also has exhibits devoted to Saami culture and in July and August invites visitors for free coffee brewed over an open fire in an exhibit of a Saami turf dwelling or “gamme”.


COUNTRIES
- Finland (official language in four municipalities and a minority language), Norway (official language in nine municipalities and a minority language), Russia (no special status granted), Sweden (minority language).


SPEAKERS
- At least 20,000 when counting all Saamic languages. Speakers of Northern Saami comprise up to 75% (15,000) of this total and thus take first place in numbers. Lule Saami takes second place by counting an estimated 1,500 speakers. The remaining languages count their communities in much lower totals. Southern Saami has an estimated 500 speakers while Inari Saami and Skolt Saami count only a few hundred speakers. Pite and Ume Saami likely have no more than 20 speakers each while Ter Saami is left with only two speakers remaining per an article from 2010 by Pravda.ru.


VARIATIONS
The use of the term “Lappish” (and later “Saami”) to designate all of the languages has given rise to the belief among outsiders that there exists a sole language and that any variants are merely dialects of rather high mutual intelligibility. Empirical evidence however suggests that the Lappish “dialects” are better viewed as being separate languages resting on continuua with varying degrees of mutual intelligibility. The comparative linguist Ante Aikio has likened the difference between Lappish “dialects” to the differences between the Romance languages. Mutual intelligibility within Saamic languages is generally negatively related to the geographical distance separating one language from another.

The Saamic languages can be divided broadly into two groups: Western and Eastern. Western languages comprise Lule Saami, Northern Saami, Pite Saami, Southern Saami, and Ume Saami. Eastern languages comprise Inari Saami, Kildin Saami, Skolt Saami, and Ter Saami (the eastern languages of Akkala Saami and Kemi Saami went extinct in 2003 and during the 19th century respectively).

Within the various languages there may exist dialects. For example, Northern Saami has a four-way dialectal distinction of Torne, East Finnmark, West Finnmark, and Maritime.


CULTURE
The harsh climate of far northern Europe has contributed to Saamis’ traditional appreciation for nature, pragmatism and self-sufficiency. Their traditional handicrafts called “Duodji” are influenced more by practical worth than purely aesthetic considerations. Saami cuisine is also indicative of this harsh climate with dishes using fish, game, reindeer and berries forming the core of traditional cuisine. Sautéed reindeer is a well-known dish from this cuisine. Smoking or drying were also important means to stretch food resources among the Saami. Since the 20th century, Saami tastes have also been influenced by broader European and American culinary trends. For example it is possible to substitute hamburgers made of reindeer-meat for ones made of beef in fast food restaurants in Sápmi. Most modern Saami are adherents of Christianity, be it Lutheranism or Orthodoxy. However in the past Saamis followed shamanism which was polytheistic. A recent cultural renewal encouraged in varying degrees by the governments of Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden has helped to reverse partially the harm caused by previous centuries’ policies of cultural suppression, stigmatization or forced assimilation.

A few accomplished people with Saami ancestry include:
- Ánne Risten Juuso (Anni-Kristiina Juuso) (journalist and actress who was the lead in “The Cuckoo” and “The Kautokeino Rebellion”)
- Joni Mitchell (musician)
- Anja Pärson (alpine skier)
- Börje Salming (defenseman in the Hockey Hall of Fame)
- Renée Zellweger (actress)

For the learner of Saami, there is some authentic material that could enhance or enrich the learning experience.

Someone learning a Saamic language can use songs to enhance understanding of the language while also enjoying the creative efforts of Saami musicians. The musical form associated with Sápmi is the “yoik” which is an improvised spiritual song. Their themes can be highly personal and so their content can vary. Notable performers of yoiks include Wimme Saari, Sofia Jannok and Angleit. Others such as Mari Boine and the Finnish folk metal band Sháman have drawn stylistic or technical inspiration in their works from yoiks. The rapper, Amoc (Mikkâl Antti Morottaja) released a CD in 2006 with songs whose rap-lyrics are in his native Inari Saami while Tiina Sanila is a rock-singer who has released two albums of songs in Skolt Saami.

Saami literature can also be a source of authentic material. The earliest forms of literary expression were based on oral tales and the structure of yoiks. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that modern Saami literature began to assert itself. Johan Turi’s book “Muittalus samiid birra: En bog om lappernes live af den svenske Lap” (“A Tale of Saami life: A Book about Lappish Life by a Swedish Lapp”) from 1910 was a guide for Swedish bureaucrats who harboured stereotypes or ignorance about the reality of Saami life. The book itself was remarkable for having Saami text as well as being a quasi-anthropological text for outsiders who simply curious about life in Sápmi. Another notable literary figure of that time was Pedar Jalvi who published a collection of poems and stories in 1910 called “Muohtačalmmit” (“Snowflakes”). Works from contemporary Saami literature include the short story collection “Juohkásan várri” (“Divided Fells”) by Olavi Paltto, and the novels “Guhtoset dearvan min bohccot” (“Let our Reindeer Run Free” and “Guržo luottat” (untranslatable but title of the Finnish translation is “Juokse nyt, naailin poika” meaning “Run now, Son of Njalla”) by Kirsti Paltto. There are also media in Saami with examples being the quarterly church newspaper “Dærpies Dierie” (Southern Saami), the annual scientific journal “Bårjås” (Lule Saami), and the daily televised news program “Ođđasat” (Northern Saami).

Saami can also be encountered on film in “Ofelaš” (“Pathfinder”) which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988, “Guovdageainnu Stuimmit” (“The Kautokeino Rebellion”) and “Giehka” (“The Cuckoo”) or on stage through productions by Beaivváš Sámi Teáhter.


DIFFICULTIES
Because of Saamic’s use by a very small speech-community and perceived lack of utility, materials in Saamic for foreign learners may be difficult to obtain. Much of what is available in the way of current educational materials uses Finnish, Norwegian, Russian or Swedish as the intermediary language. There are few resources that use English or German as the intermediary language.

An examination of Saamic suggests that the following aspects may be difficult for outsiders to learn or master:

1) Inflection that depends on whether the stem has an on odd number of syllables or not

2) Consonant gradation (excepting Southern Saami which lacks it) as used in inflection

3) Vocalic alternation as used in inflection

4) Unfamiliar vocabulary for speakers of most Indo-European languages (this problem is alleviated in varying degrees if you already know another Uralic or Altaic language or are fluent in a Northern Germanic language. See “Vocabulary” for more information)


GRAMMAR (focused on Northern Saami)
Northern Saami has four tenses (simple past, simple non-past, perfect and pluperfect), two voices (active and passive), three numbers (singular, dual and plural), and four moods (indicative, conditional, imperative and potential). There is also an infinitive. In addition, it does not use separate pronouns for “he” and “she”.

Of note for verbs:

i) Future activity is indicated by using the present tense. Future activity can be determined from the context of a sentence, made explicit by using suitable adverbs or expressed in an analytic construction.

e.g.
Mun boađán “I come”, “I shall come”
Mun boađán ihttin “I come tomorrow”, “I shall come tomorrow”
Mun galgan boahtit “I shall come”

ii) Conjugating verbs in negative differs from doing so in the affirmative.

e.g.

Boađán “I come”, “I’ll come”
Boahtá “He/she comes”, “He/she’ll come”
In boađe “I don’t come”, “I won’t come”
Ii boađe “He/she doesn’t come”, “He/she won’t come”

As it relates to nouns and adjectives, none of the Saamic languages have grammatical gender but they use both prepositions and postpositions. The number of cases in Saamic varies. For example, Southern Saami has 8 cases while Inari Saami, Pite Sami and Skolt Saami have 9 cases each (in practice the number may be lower for Inari Saami and Skolt Saami since the endings for the genitive and accusative have largely merged while the partitive of Inari Saami is used only in singular). Northern Saami has 7 cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, locative, illative, comitative and essive but for practical purposes it has 6 since the endings of the genitive and accusative have merged.

Saamic typology is a hybrid of the agglutinative and fusional. In agglutinative languages, each suffix often expresses only one unit of meaning (for example to express the nominative plural of a noun, one would attach a plural suffix to the basic form (usually nominative). If one wanted to express the accusative plural, one would attach two suffixes to the basic form - one suffix for the accusative, another for the plural). In fusional languages, the ending of a noun can change to express different case relations and that ending can express more than one unit of meaning (for example to express the nominative plural, one would change the ending of the noun. If one wanted to express the accusative plural, one would attach a different ending to the basic form - no need to attach a discrete ending for the plural, and then another for the accusative as in an agglutinative language).

Northern Saami’s word order is usually subject-verb-object in main clauses and subject-object-verb in constructions with infinitives or participles. Southern Saami is notable among Saamic languages for generally using the order of subject-object-verb in main clauses. Adjectives often precede the nouns that they modify.


PRONUNCIATION
In a broad sense, main stress is fixed on the first syllable but a word in Northern Saami is more accurately analyzed as a chain of syllables with one stressed syllable normally being followed by up to two unstressed syllables (up to three unstressed syllables in rare instances) and odd-numbered syllables tending to be stressed. It follows that a word with more than three syllables consists of two syllables that bear stress (albeit with one stressed syllable bearing more intense stress than the second stressed syllable). However there are occurrences where a word can have stressed syllables that are adjacent to each other. Northern Saami also differentiates between short and long sounds and uses palatalized consonants. Orthographic conventions for Saamic are noticeably imperfect reflections of pronunciation practice and these are partially attributable to the first scripts having been devised by non-native speakers of Saamic. Changes in intonation can be used when emphasizing desired elements in a sentence.

As in the kindred Estonian, the Saamic languages do not follow vowel harmony and the pronunciation of all extant Saamic languages (excepting Southern Saami) is affected by elaborate consonant gradation.

Consonant gradation in Northern Saami affects almost all consonants and consonant clusters. The basic principle is that a word belongs to one of three categories but as the word’s inflection changes, its categorization changes as does the quality or quantity of its consonants.

The general rule in Northern Saami is that consonant clusters in the “strong” form of the word (usually the basic form) tend to become single consonants or consonant clusters of a different quality in the “weak” form (usually the inflected form) as the word inflects to mark differences in tense or case.

Here are some examples with comparisons to Estonian and Finnish cognates

1)
álgit “to begin”; álggán “I begin” (-LG- in álgit changes to -LGG- because the present tense suffix for the 1st person singular caused gradation of the hypothetical stem *álggá-)

algama “to begin”; algan “I begin” (-LG- stays the same) (Estonian)
alkaa “to begin”; alan “I begin” (-LK- changes to -L-) (Finnish)

2)
čalbmi “eye”; čalmmi “of an eye” (-LBM- in čalbmi changes to -LMM- because the historical genitive suffix *-n caused gradation of the hypothetical stem *čalbmi-. N.B. the genitive suffix -n has actually dropped out of modern Northern Saami but is still active in Southern Saami)

silm “eye”; silma “of an eye” (no gradation) (Estonian)
silmä “eye”; silmän “of an eye” (no gradation) (Finnish)

3)
giehta “hand”; gieđa “of a hand” (-HT- in giehta changes to -Đ- because the historical genitive suffix *-n caused gradation of the hypothetical stem *giehta-. N.B. the genitive suffix –n has actually dropped out of modern Northern Saami but is still active in Southern Saami)

käsi “hand”; käe “of a hand” (-S- disappears) (Estonian)
käsi “hand”; käden “of a hand” (-S- changes to -D-) (Finnish)

Note: The Estonian and Finnish words for “hand” arose from an earlier form *käte and as Estonian and Finnish began to develop as distinct languages, the old -T- changed to -S- thus leading to an outwardly exceptional declensional pattern

4)
gullat “to hear”; gulan “I hear” (-LL- in gullat changes to -L- because the present tense suffix for the 1st person singular caused gradation of the hypothetical stem *gulla-)

kuulma “to hear”; kuulen “I hear” (no gradation) (Estonian)
kuulla “to hear”; kuulen “I hear” (no gradation) (Finnish)

Note: The change of -LL- to -L- in Finnish is superficially similar to the change in Northern Saami. However it is not consonant gradation since the phenomenon in Finnish affects K, P and T whereas in Northern Saami gradation affects almost all consonants.

5)
dovdat “to know (a person); dovddan “I know (a person)” (-VD- in dovdat changes to -VDD- because the present tense suffix for the 1st person singular caused gradation of the hypothetical stem *dovda-)

tundma = “to know”; tunnen = “I know” (gradation of -ND- to -NN-) (Estonian)
tuntea = “to know”; tunnen = “I know” (gradation of -NT- to -NN-) (Finnish)


VOCABULARY
As mentioned earlier, Sammic is classified as belonging to the Uralic family of languages with its grammar and some of its basic vocabulary bearing similarities to what is found in other such languages. According to a minority of linguists, some of the basic vocabulary conventionally held to have cognates with words in other Uralic languages also has connections to vocabulary of certain Altaic languages. Headwords below are from Northern Saami.

- ballat = to be afraid, to fear || peletama = to scare off (Estonian) || pelätä (Finnish) || fél- (Hungarian) || filiti (Nganasan) [Cf. bilen-dä = to be startled (Bashkir) || belevsen = mourning (Mongolian) || belin = hysterics (Evenki)]

- beana = dog || peni (Estonian – dialectal) || peni (Finnish – archaic) || pon, pun (Komi)

- boaris = old (i.e. not young) || pereś (Udmurt) [Cf. bürle- = to die (Khalkha) || bu- = to due (Evenki)]

- borrat = to eat || purema = to chew (Estonian) || purra = to bite continuously (Finnish) || poŕe = to chew, gnaw (Mordvin) || por-, pur- = to bite (Mansi) [Cf. ir- = to press (Chuvash) || ezmek = to crush, grind (Turkish) || furgi- = to gnaw (Nanai)]

- buorre = good || paras = just, right (i.e. appropriate, correct) (Estonian) || paras = best (Finnish) || bur (Komi) || para, poro (Mordvin) [Cf. baz = peace (Old Turkic) || berle- = to do a favour to a respected person (Mongolian) || bere = peaceful (Evenki)]

- čeahci = father’s younger brother (~ uncle), father’s younger male cousin || setä = uncle (Finnish) || šäš, sasiɣ = uncle (Mansi) || ťiďe = mother’s younger brother (~ uncle) (Nenets) || čača, ťaťa = older brother (Yukaghir)

- čielgi = spine || selg = back (Estonian) || selkä = back (Finnish) || šiĺe = back (Mari) [Cf. sis = thicket; spine (Sakha) || šele = back of the head; mountain ridge (Buryat) || sulīn = hump; back (Evenki)]

- čoavji = stomach || čat = contents of the stomach (Selkup) [Cf. sevs = entrails of animals (Mongolian) || sewen = inner fat of animals (Evenki)]

- čuožžut = to stand || seisma (Estonian) || seisoa (Finnish) || sǝnze-, šińće- (Mari) || tōńć-, tuńś- (Mansi)

- dálvi = winter || talv (Estonian) || talvi (Finnish) || tél (Hungarian) || tǟl, tāl (Mansi) || tel, telǝ̑, tele (Mari) || tol (Udmurt)

- duogás, duohkái = behind || taga (Estonian) || taka = the backside (Finnish – poetic) || taka = back, reverse (Nganasan) [Cf. jaɣrɨn = back, shoulder-blade (Turkmen – dialect) || dajr, dāri = sore on the back of an animal (Buryat) || daɣańa = hip-bone, shoulder-bone (Evenki)]

- fanas = boat || vene = boat made of a hollowed tree-trunk (Estonian – ethnographic term) || vene (Finnish) || venč, veńeš = canoe (Mordvin)

- gal’ledit = to visit || küla = village (Estonian) || kylä = village (Finnish) [Cf. kil, kül = house, hut (Chuvash) || gūle = hut (Evenki)]

- gahčat = to ask || küsima (Estonian) || kysyä (Finnish) || kevkśťe-, kevśťe-, kiźefťe- (Mordvin)

- gáma = shoe || kȯm (Komi – dialectal) || kem = boot (Mari)

- geahččat = to look (at) || katsuma = to attempt (Estonian) || katsoa (Finnish) || kaźal-, kaźa.v-, ka.-źal- = to notice (Komi) [Cf. qɨča- = to demand (Kyrgyz) || xač = curiosity (Khalkha) || kasaɣa- = to overcome (Evenki)]

- goaivu = shovel || kaev = well (Estonian) || kaivo = well (Finnish) || sea = spade (Enets)

- guoddit = to carry || kandma (Estonian) || kantaa (Finnish) || kando- (Mordvin) || ẋāna- (Nenets) || kande- = to lead to (Yukaghir)

- johka = river || jõgi (Estonian) || joka (Finnish) || -jó / -yó (suffix in geographical names for rivers e.g. BerettYÓ, SaJÓ) (Hungarian) || jaẋā (Nenets) [Cf. ak- = flow (Turkish) || jaku = ditch, swamp (Evenki) || 池 (“ike”) = pond (Japanese) || aqua = water (Latin)]

- juohkit = to divide || jagama (Estonian) || jakaa (Finnish) || juk- (Komi)

- lasihit = to add || lisama (Estonian) || lisää (Finnish) || ĺezde-, ĺezdo- (Mordvin)

- máksit = to pay || maksma (Estonian) || maksaa (Finnish) || makso- = to give (Mordvin)

- maŋŋá = after || mööda = about, along, by, past (Estonian) || myös = also (Finnish) || mejĺe, mäjĺä, meĺä = afterwards, later etc. (Mordvin) || még = still, yet; mögött = behind (Hungarian)

- nisu = woman || ńizaka = female (Mordvin)

- njukča = swan || jõudsin (Estonian) || joutsen (Finnish) || d́üksö, jükćö, jükśö, jükšǝ (Mari) || jaŋǯe = goose (Yukaghir)

- njuolla = arrow || nool (Estonian) || nuoli (Finnish) || nyíl (Hungarian) || ńal, ńot (Khanty) || ńi̮l, ńe̮v, ńu̇l (Komi) || nal (Mordvin) || nié (Kamas)

- oalgi = shoulder || õlg (Estonian) || olka (Finnish) || váll (Hungarian)

- saŋas = free of ice, thawed || suvi = summer (Estonian) || suvi = summer (Finnish – poetic) || lŏŋ, jŏŋ, tŏŋ = summer (Khanty) || taŋa = summer (Nganasan)

- suhkat = to row || sõudma (Estonian) || soutaa (Finnish) || tua-, tuu, túwa-, tû- (Selkup)

- suorbma = finger || sõrm (Estonian) || sormi (Finnish) || sur (Mordvin) [Cf. sere = span between the big and index fingers (Kazakh, Kyrgyz) || šuru = span between the big and index fingers (Literary Manchu)]

- uksa = door || uks (Estonian) || uksi (Finnish - archaic) || e̮s, ȯs (Udmurt)

- váibmu = heart || vaim = ghost, spirit (Estonian) || vaimo = wife (Finnish) || ojme, vajmä = breath; spirit (Mordvin)

- viellja = brother || veli (Estonian - rare, Finnish)

- vuogáiduvvat = to adjust, adapt, orient oneself etc. (derivative) || õige = correct (Estonian) || oikea = correct (Finnish) || vijed́e, vid́e, vijet́, vit́, vid́ä = straight; true (Mordvin)

- vuolgit = to depart, leave || valguma = to drain away, to pour (Estonian) || valkama = harbour (Finnish) || válni ~ válik = to divorce (Hungarian) || wojl-, wāɣl- = to descend (Mansi) || valgo = to climb down (Mordvin)

- vuorbi = destiny, fate || arp = lot, magic contrivance (Estonian) || arpoa = to draw lots (Finnish) || orvos = doctor (Hungarian) [Cf. arba- = to make magic, cast spells (Khakass) || arga = method, way (Khalkha) || arit- = to cause fear of an evil ghost, to appear in one’s imagination (Evenki)]

- vuovdi = forest || vad = wild (Hungarian) || unt, wont (Khanty)

Saamic has borrowed from Baltic and Germanic languages, in addition to Finnish and Russian.

Loanwords of Baltic origin include:
jávri “lake” (cf. Lithuanian: jūra “sea”. This word was also borrowed by Finnic languages e.g. järv “lake” (Estonian)); suolu “island” (cf. Lithuanian sala “island”. This word was also borrowed by Finnic languages e.g. salo “backwoods” (Finnish))

Loanwords of Germanic origin include:
áiru (cf. “oar”); dápmat (cf. “to tame”); mánnu (cf. “moon”); sávza (cf. “sheep”); vievvsis (cf. “wasp”)

Loanwords of Finnsh origin include:
áigi “time” (cf. aika); lávlut “to sing” (cf. laulaa); oahppat “to learn” (cf. oppia)

Loanwords of Russian origin include:
iskat “to try” (cf. искать “to search”); ohpit “again” (cf. опять); šávká “cap” (cf. шапка)

Nevertheless there are many words within Saamic which have unclear or no known connections to words in other languages.

E.g.

atnit “to use”; coagis “shallow”; čahppat “black”; jorrat “to spin”; láhppit “to lose”; mánná “child”; nagir “sleep”; ravgat “to fall”; uhcci “small”

This class of words escapes being acquired by learners who try to apply “discounts” from any other languages that they already know.


TRANSPARENCY / INTELLIGIBILITY FOR PEOPLE SPEAKING RELATED LANGUAGES
Saamic languages as a whole show the most similarity to the Balto-Finnic languages (e.g. Estonian, Finnish) but the similarity is not so great so as to yield substantial mutual intelligibility between the groups. Indeed even within Saamic languages, mutual intelligibility can be quite low with languages at opposite ends of the geographical continuum (e.g. Southern Saami versus Kildin Saami) showing low mutual intelligibility. Certainly speakers of better-known Altaic (e.g. Mongolian, Turkish) or other Uralic languages (e.g. Hungarian) would find certain aspects of Saamic to be easier to grasp than would speakers of languages from other families yet the fact remains that Saamic languages have likely developed as a distinct family for roughly 2000 years thus making them rather unintelligible to outsiders.

There are a few hints that learners can use to understand or at minimum partially demystify some aspects of Saamic. The comparisons here will be with languages that learners are more likely to know already, and so links with lesser-known Uralic languages will be given little attention.

1) If a word begins with č or in a Saamic language then its cognate in Estonian and/or Finnish will begin with s. For Hungarian cognates, the initial č in Saamic may match initial cs, s, sz, z or zero (i.e. initial consonant has presumably disappeared) depending on the reconstructed ancestral form.

E.g.

čááná (Inari Saami); čadna (Northern Saami) "fungus used as tinder" (Cf. seen = "fungus" (Estonian); sieni = "fungus" (Finnish))

čohčâ (Inari Saami); čakča (Northern Saami) "autumn" (Cf. sügis (Estonian); syksy, syys (Finnish); ősz (Hungarian))

čoođa (Inari Saami); čađa (Northern Saami) "through" (Cf. süda = "heart" (Estonian); sydän = "heart" (Finnish); szív = "heart" (Hungarian))

čuoggjat (Northern Saami) "to resound" (Cf. sõitlema = "to reproach" (Estonian); soida = "to emit sound" (Finnish); zaj = "noise" (Hungarian))

čuohppat (Northern Saami) "to cut down" (Cf. csap- = "to strike" (Hungarian))

čyehti (Inari Saami); čuođi (Northern Saami) "hundred" (Cf. sada (Estonian); sata (Finnish); száz (Hungarian))

2) Words in Estonian or Finnish that begin with h often match words with initial s in Saaamic words provided that all words are cognates (this applies best when the ancestral word has been reconstructed with initial *š but it may occur also when the ancestral word has been reconstructed with a different initial consonant)

E.g.

siida (Northern Saami) "community of Saami; foraging area for reindeer" (Cf. hiis = "sacred forest" (Estonian) hiisi = "goblin, a kind of spirit" (Finnish))

suohpē (Lule Saami); suobies (Southern Saami) "silver" (Cf. hõbe (Estonian); hopea (Finnish))

sun (Inari Saami); son (Northern Saami) "he/she" (Cf. hän (Finnish))

3) Words that begin with k in Estonian and Finnish often match the initial k in Inari Saami cognates but g in Northern Saami cognates (however this "g" is pronounced more similarly to English k than English g despite the spelling convention). Where applicable, Hungarian cognates in these etymologies will begin with h if the root consists of back vowels (i.e. a, o, u) or k if the root consists of front vowels (i.e. e, i, ö, ü)

E.g.
keppis (Inari Saami); geahpas (Northern Saami) "light [in weight]; easy" (Cf. kepeä = "light [in weight]" (Finnish); kevés = "few" (Hungarian))

kielâ (Inari Saami); giella (Northern Saami) "language; tongue" (Cf. keel (Estonian); kieli (Finnish))

kuoskađ (Inari Saami); guoskat (Northern Saami) "to touch" (Cf. koskea (Finnish))

kulmâ (Inari Saami); golbma (Northern Saami) "three" (Cf. kolm (Estonian); kolme (Finnish); három (Hungarian))

kužža (Inari Saami); gožža (Northern Saami) "urine" (Cf. kusi (Estonian, Finnish); húgy (Hungarian))

4) Consonant clusters of Uralic cognates tend to be most complex in Northern Saami.

E.g.

čalbmi (Northern Saami) "eye" (Cf. silm (Estonian); silmä (Finnish); szem (Hungarian); śäime (Nganasan); čalme (Inari Saami); tjälmie (Southern Saami))

jietna (Northern Saami) "voice" (Cf. ääni = "voice" (Finnish); én: ének = "song" (Hungarian); jiena = "voice" (Inari Saami))

jiea (Northern Saami) "ice" (Cf. jää (Estonian, Finnish); g (Hungarian); jieŋa (Inari Saami))

suorbma (Northern Saami) "finger" (Cf. rm (Estonian); sormi (Finnish); suorma (Inari Saami); suorme (Southern Saami))

5) The direct object in Saamic takes accusative (or accusative/genitive where these cases have merged) rather similarly to Hungarian but differently from Balto-Finnic languages which can use one of nominative, accusative, partitive or genitive for marking direct objects

E.g.
Mun puurâm kye'le = "I eat fish", "I eat some fish", "I eat a fish", "I eat the fish" (Inari Saami)
Én eszem (a) halat = "I eat fish", "I eat some fish", "I eat a fish", ("I eat the fish") (Hungarian)

Minä syön kalaa = "I eat fish", "I eat some fish" (partitive); Minä syön kalan = "I eat (up) a/the fish" (genitive) (Finnish)

6) Saamic languages have fewer cases than in the major Uralic languages with many of the "extra" cases of Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian involving location. The locative in the Saamic languages usually encompasses the ablative, delative, elative, adessive, inessive, and/or superessive cases as they appear in Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian (occasionally also the dative in Hungarian). The illative in the Saamic languages usually encompasses the allative, illative, sublative and/or dative as they appear in the same three languages.

E.g.
"You have a boat"
Tust lii käärbis (Inari Saami) ("you-[locative suffix] is boat")
Dus lea garbes (Northern Saami) ("you-[locative suffix] is boat")
Sinul on paat (Estonian) ("you-[adessive suffix] is boat")
Sinulla on vene (Finnish) ("you-[adessive suffix] is boat")
Neked van csónakod (Hungarian) ("[dative suffix]-[2nd person singular suffix] is boat-[2nd person singular possessive suffix]")

See also the sections above on pronunciation and vocabulary for more comparisons with other Uralic languages.

In addition see the sections on transparency/intelligibility in the profiles of Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian for more information.


SPELLING
Spelling in Saamic languages is complicated by the fact of them having been subjected to several attempts at devising orthography. As Saamic languages have been spoken natively in four states, administrators and scholars from each of Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden have devised scripts for the particular Saamic language(s) found on their respective territories. Northern Saami is rather exceptional in this regard for despite being spoken natively in at least three countries, its alphabet is the same regardless of where it is used. Kildin Saami in Russia currently uses a modified Cyrillic alphabet while the remaining Saamic languages use modified Latin alphabets. In the cases of Lule Saami and Southern Saami, each of these languages uses two slightly different scripts. One version is based on the Norwegian alphabet, while the other version is based on the Swedish alphabet. In summary, six of the nine living Saamic languages have alphabets with Pite Saami, Ter Saami and Ume Saami having no written standard.

Northern Saami uses a Latin-based alphabet of thirty letters with the following letters being different from the English alphabet:

Á,á, Č, č, Đ, đ, Ŋ, ŋ, Š, š, Ŧ, ŧ , Ž, ž

Spelling is not phonemic as vowel quantity is not consistently marked while stress placement is never marked. An unusual characteristic in Northern Saami’s orthography for many is that the letters “b”, “d”, “g”, “z” and “ž” are often read or pronounced unvoiced (i.e. “b” often sounds more like “p”, “d” often sounds more like “t”, “g” often sounds like “k”, “z” often sounds more like “ts”, “ž” often sounds more like “č”)

Northern Saami’s current orthographic convention is part of a fairly active process with at least 9 versions already having been devised. The devising of this many orthographic conventions has led to the situation where material printed as late as the 1950s may now be difficult for people to read as the language is now taught using the orthographic convention approved in 1979 and modified last in 1985.


TIME NEEDED
I have not found any study or paper giving clues about the time needed for someone to attain professional proficiency in a Saamic language. However as an approximation, I am assuming that with Finnish among the closest language relatives of the Sammi languages, the degree of difficulty of achieving proficiency in a Saamic language is comparable to that of doing the same for Finnish. According to FSI, it takes approximately 1100 class hours to achieve professional speaking and reading proficiency in Finnish. Furthermore FSI’s scale classifies the learning Finnish for a monolingual speaker of English as roughly the same as that of Estonian, Georgian, Hungarian, Mongolian, Thai or Vietnamese. Someone learning Saami should thus face a similar level of difficulty.

While reading grammatical sketches of Saami in preparing this profile, I found that a background in a Balto-Finnic language (e.g. Estonian, Finnish) was helpful in understanding grammatical and phonological concepts in Saami. Therefore learning at least some Estonian or Finnish (which are supported by larger inventories of learning materials) before embarking on studying Saami should be helpful to a certain degree when the time comes for studying Saami itself. However this strategy could have a downside since a background in Estonian or Finnish may also cause some interference in assimilating or mastering details in Saami.

The time needed will vary on each person's motivation level, access to material and environment. Given such factors, the time needed to achieve professional speaking and reading proficiency in a Saamic language can take as little as one year to as much as infinity. ;-)


BOOKS
The largest publishing company of Saamic material is Davvi Girji in Karasjok, Norway. It focuses on publishing fiction, textbooks and dictionaries.

The list below comes from the handout used by Ante Aikio for teaching a short course of Northern Saami in 2008.

1) Lehrbuch der saamischen (Lappischen) Sprache (Hans-Hermann Bartens)
- According to Aikio, this is the best course book in Saami and usable for independent study.

2) Samisk grammatikk (Klaus-Peter Nickel)
- According to Aikio this reference is very useful for those who know Norwegian, however its tables and lists of inflectional patterns would be accessible for people who don’t know Norwegian.

3) Lærebok I lappisk (samisk) I-III (2. opplag) (Konrad Nielsen)
- According to Aikio, it gives very in-depth treatment of grammar and is accompanied by texts and a glossary. It uses an older orthographic convention so it’d be best for users to learn the correspondences between spelling per Nielsen and that of current conventions.

4) Lappisk (samisk) ordbok – Lapp Dictionary (Konrad Nielsen)
- According to Aikio, this dictionary is important because it’s the only one that gives English equivalents. It uses an older orthographic convention so it’d be best for users to learn the correspondences between spelling per Nielsen and that of current conventions.

5) Sámi-suoma sátnegirji – Saamelais-suomalainen sanakirja (Pekka Sammalahti)
- According to Aikio, this is a comprehensive Saami-Finnish dictionary.

6) The Saami Languages – an Introduction (Pekka Sammalahti)
- According to Aikio, this is an introductory text about the structure and history of Saamic.

7) Sámi-duiskka sátnegirji. Sammisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch (Pekka Sammalahti & Klaus-Peter Nickel)
- According to Aikio, this is a comprehensive Saami-German dictionary.

*If you need to buy books published in Saamic, you will have the greatest chance of success of finding anything relevant by going to bookstores in northern Fennoscandia or Sammic cultural centers.


SCHOOLS
There are courses for foreigners who want to learn a Sammic language in a few universities in Fennoscandia. Umeå University (Sweden), University of Helsinki (Finland), University of Oulu (Finland), University of Tromsø (Norway) and Sámi University College (Norway) offer suitable courses. There are currently also courses for Northern Saami offered at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. A privately-run educational institute in Norway called “Folkeuniversitet” offers correspondence-courses of Northern Saami for anyone interested in learning the language. See “Links” below for the URLs of the aforementioned institutions.


LINKS

1) Not specific to one Saamic language

Discussions, posts or logs on HTLAL involving Saamic/Lappic
- Discussion from December 2009 on HTLAL about learning Saami.

Other forums or discussions from other forums
- Unilang’s discussion forum for Saami

General treatment and descriptions of Saamic's learning difficulty
- Wikipedia article on Saamic
- The Encyclopedia of Saami Culture hosted at the University of Helsinki. Some links in the section under “Languages and Naming” include audio samples of Saamic languages or grammatical sketches.

Collections of links
- Collection of links for Saamic resources (some (sub-)links are dead, unfortunately)
- Another collection of links for Saamic resources (some links are dead, unfortunately)
- Coppélie Cocq's links from her blog as part of a revitalization project for Saamic languages

Dictionaries and other databases
- For a database on various language families including Nostratic (source of some of my etymological material under the “Vocabulary” section):
- Online etymological database for Saamic languages. This is especially useful if you would like to see the reflexes of a word in all Saamic languages. By necessity it shows cognates in other Uralic languages as long as there is a Saamic cognate in the etymology.

Links related to Saamic courses including institutions that offer classes
- Collection of online resources for Saamic resources from Unilang.
- Masaryk University in Brno [Ed.: It may be difficult to find information about the courses themselves and an alternative is to get in contact with Michal Kovář who is the instructor of the courses in Northern Saami for 2011.]
- Saami University College in Kautokeino
- Umeå University
- University of Helsinki – Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugric and Scandinavian Studies
- University of Oulu
- University of Tromsø
- University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bookstores, publishers and downloadable/streamed media
- The publishing company Báhko Forlag which publishes and sells books in Lule Saami through the cultural center of the Lule Saami, Árran.
- The publishing company ČálliidLágádus which publishes and sells books in Northern Saami and carries material in Lule Saami published by Baldusine.
- The publishing company Davvi Girji which focuses on publishing in Saamic
- The shop Iđut AS which carries music, movies, games and books in Kven, Norwegian and Saamic languages (textbooks and dedicated learning material is available for Northern Saami only).
- The shop Kara Bok & Papir AS which carries music, movies, games and books in Saamic languages
- The shop Sami Duodji ry which carries music and books in Saamic languages in addition to Saami clothing and handicrafts
- NRK Sápmi (Streamed programs in Saamic languages on Norsk rikskringkasting AS (Norwegian Broadcasting Company). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Norway)
- SVT Sápmi (Streamed programs in Saamic languages on Sveriges Television (Swedish national television broadcaster). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Sweden)
- YLE Sápmi (Streamed programs in Saamic languages on Yleisradio (Finnish national broadcasting company). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Finland)
- Radioođđasat (Streamed radio broadcasts in Northern Saami (any link that includes “ođđasat”) and Inari Saami (any link that includes “Uđđâseh”) on YLE (Finland's national broadcaster). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Finland)

2) Specific to one Saamic language

Inari Saami
- Bibliography of learning materials from the Saami Parliament of Finland.
- Chung's log at HTLAL on studying Inari Saami using “Sämikielâ 1”:
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10 and Conclusion
- Information about Inari Saami from Siida (Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre) in Inari, Finland.
- Kimberli Mäkäräinen's small online Inari Saami-English dictionary
- List of learning material for Inari Saami maintained by Anarâškielâ servi (Inari Saami Language Association) [Site is in Inari Saami only]
- Nettisaje - Wikifarm in Inari Saami with links about language, culture and events pertaining to Inari Saami [Site is almost totally in Inari Saami but FAQs are in Finnish]
- Reference tables in .doc format for verbs of 2 or 3 syllables by Saamic scholar Marja-Liisa Olthuis
- Online learning material for Inari Saami hosted by Ivalo Upper Secondary School (where useful, the material in these links uses Finnish as the intermediary language):
Authentic texts with wordlists for Finnish-speakers
Handouts on grammar
Online textbook and workbook with wordlists and recordings of dialogues
Past final exams for high school students
Texts, exercises and supplementary wordlists for Finnish-speakers
- Small archive of the radio program “Anarâš saavah” by YLE (Click on links to the right under “Anaraš”. N.B. Some recordings load only for Finnish IP addresses)
- Small archive of the radio program “Anarâš Vuärkkä” by YLE (scroll down the page and click on links under “Anaraš Vuärkkä”. N.B. Some recordings load only for Finnish IP addresses)

Kildin Saami
- Grammatical sketch and thematic list of vocabulary created as part of the Kola Saami Documentation Project (KSDP) (N.B. material uses Russian as the intermediary language)
- Pyotr Lukin's blog Са̄мь кӣл са̄йй

Lule Saami
- Online dictionary between Lule Saami and Swedish
- Sámásta (introductory course of Lule Saami in two parts with Swedish as the intermediary language)
- Streamed radio broadcasts of news in Lule Saami on Norsk rikskringkasting AS (Norwegian Broadcasting Company)

Northern Saami
- Small archive of radio programs “Beaivvi ságat” from YLE (Finland's national broadcaster). Scroll down the page and click on tab “Beaivvi Ságat”. N.B. Some material can be loaded only for Finnish IP addresses.
- Beginners' online course in three parts hosted by Oahpa! which is affiliated with “Sámi giellatekno” 1) grammar (SAM-1030), 2) dialogues or passages that demonstrate the grammar in use (SAM-1031) and 3) alphabetically-arranged manual on grammar (Giellaoahppa). All material uses Norwegian as the intermediary language.
- Bibliography of learning materials from the Saami Parliament of Finland.
- Boađe mu mielde! eGirji and Bures boahtin eGirji (introductory online courses in Northern Saami offered by Davvi Girji with Norwegian as the intermediary language)
- Bondgården (site for children to learn basic vocabulary related to farming in several languages including Northern Saami (“Nordsamiska” on the homepage)
- Chung's log at HTLAL on studying Northern Saami using “Davvin 1”:
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Conclusion
- Chung's log at HTLAL on studying Northern Saami using “Davvin 2”:
Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25 and Conclusion
- Chung's log at HTLAL on studying Northern Saami using “Davvin 3”:
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 (including conclusion)
- Collection of short literary works in Northern Saami. Recordings in .mp3 and/or comprehension exercises accompany some works.
- Descriptive grammar for speakers of Northern Saami and speakers of Norwegian
- Freelang's online English-Northern Saami/Northern Saami-English dictionary as presumably compiled by Renato B. Figueiredo (likely based on Kimberli Mäkäräinen's online Northern Saami-English dictionary (q.v.))
- “Gos lea Nora gielká?” e-book for children
- Gulahalan (introductory course with Swedish as the intermediary language)
- Handouts with texts and exercises (intermediary language is Czech) used in fall 2011 for an introductory course at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Contact the instructor, Michal Kovář if these materials become unavailable.
- Kafea's log at HTLAL
- Kimberli Mäkäräinen's online Northern Saami-English dictionary and short list of adjectives showing attributive and predicative forms.
- Links to online courses of Northern Saami and Southern Saami. E-skuvla.no offers online courses (for a fee) for Northern Saami and Southern Saami while Folkeuniversitetet Nettstudier offers ones for Northern Saami, including “Davvin” (4 parts) as a correspondence/distance-learning course.
- Lohkan (simple site meant for teaching Northern Saami to children with Norwegian as the intermediary language)
- Mánáid TV (Streamed television show for children in Northern Saami on Norsk rikskringkasting AS (Norwegian Broadcasting Company). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Norway)
- Ođđasat (Streamed TV broadcasts of news program “Ođđasat” in Northern Saami with Swedish subtitles on Sveriges Television (Swedish national television broadcaster). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Sweden)
- Sameradion (Streamed radio broadcasts in Northern Saami on Sveriges Radio (Swedish national radio broadcaster). N.B. Some content may be available only to IP addresses in Sweden)
- Sáhpánat ja olbmot (Parallel text of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" in Northern Saami and Norwegian as used in a production by the theatrical troupe, Beaivváš Sámi Nášunálateáhter)
- Site “Sámi fágagirjjálaš čálliid- ja jorgaleaddjiidsearvi“ or Sami Non-Fiction Writers' and Translators' Association with links to online texts or magazines.
- Site “Sámi giellatekno” or Saami language-technology which includes Oahpa's games and exercises for learners, online dictionaries between Saamic languages and English, Norwegian, Russian or Swedish, and a short online grammar reference manual of Northern Saami in Norwegian (some parts have already been translated to English).
- Site on Sami school history which includes texts on the history of education for Lapps in Northern Saami, Norwegian or English and can be arranged as parallel texts by opening separate windows using different languages.
- Transcript in Northern Saami (translation to English) of interview with Mary Bahr by Pekka Sammallahti on Saami immigrants' experience in Alaska (transcript and translation can be arranged as dual-language text for reading practice).
- Transcript in Northern Saami (translation to English) of interview with Clement Sara by Pekka Sammallahti on Saami immigrants' experience in Alaska (transcript and translation can be arranged as dual-language text for reading practice).
- Word list for Northern Saami with recordings of the words in .wav format.
- YLE's (Finnish National Broadcasting Company) broadcasts of Ođđasat (News) in Northern Saami. N.B. This can be watched with Finnish or Swedish subtitles but is available only for a limited time and older broadcasts are regularly replaced by newer ones.

Pite Saami
- Blog “Muv árbbe” which contains a Swede's impressions of the language and notes on grammar and vocabulary
- Information in Norwegian on the language with links to a sketch of grammar and convention for place-names
- Descriptive grammar based on corpus of the spoken language.

Skolt Saami
- Bibliography of learning materials from the Saami Parliament of Finland.
- Collection of texts (in .pdf) and audio (in .mp3) in Skolt Saami edited by Eino Koponen, Jouni Moshnikoff and Satu Moshnikoff, and hosted by the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland.
- Comprehensive descriptive grammar of Skolt Saami submitted in 2010 by Timothy Feist as his PhD thesis (P.S. PhD awarded in 2011).
- Information about Skolt Saami from Siida (Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre) in Inari, Finland.
- Kimberli Mäkäräinen's small online Skolt Saami-English dictionary
- Overview of typological characteristics by Matti Miestamo.
- Small archive of radio program “Nuõrttsäämas” by YLE - Finland's national broadcaster. (Click on links to the right under “Nuortsaamas”. N.B. Some recordings load only for Finnish IP addresses)

Southern Saami
- Descriptive grammar for Norwegian-speakers
- Oahpa's collection of learning material and online educational games.
- Online dictionary between Southern Saami and Swedish
- Streamed radio broadcasts of news in Southern Saami on Norsk rikskringkasting AS (Norwegian Broadcasting Company)

Edited by Chung on 06 May 2014 at 5:58pm

14 persons have voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4537 days ago

4232 posts - 4073 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 2 of 24
29 July 2010 at 6:02pm | IP Logged 
I welcome corrections and comments from native-speakers or learners of any Saamic language. I have created this profile largely out of philological interest but I am considering studying some Northern Saami in the future.

Thanks
Chung



tractor
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 2834 days ago

1349 posts - 957 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 3 of 24
29 July 2010 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
Chung wrote:
Finland and Sweden however do recognize them as minority languages.

Norway too.



GREGORG4000
Diglot
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United States
Joined 2904 days ago

307 posts - 186 votes 
Speaks: English*, Finnish
Studies: Japanese, Korean, Amharic, French

 
 Message 4 of 24
29 July 2010 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
That's an amazing profile, thanks for all the info



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 4537 days ago

4232 posts - 4073 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 5 of 24
29 July 2010 at 7:26pm | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:
Chung wrote:
Finland and Sweden however do recognize them as minority languages.

Norway too.


Thanks. Fixed.



Chung
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 Message 6 of 24
29 July 2010 at 7:28pm | IP Logged 
GREGORG4000 wrote:
That's an amazing profile, thanks for all the info
Giitu / Thank you.



MahaKali
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 Message 7 of 24
13 December 2010 at 11:00pm | IP Logged 
I would advise you to be cautious in (or avoid altogether) using the term "Lapp", and similarly "Lappish", as it is considered derogatory by many among the Sámi people in Norway, and probably also Sweden. Although some Norwegian Sámi don't find it offensive, there are those who do, and using it will certainly not aid you in finding conversation partners.

As for books, you should include the Davvin series (in 4 volumes), by Inga Guttorm et al. It teaches Davvisámegiella with Norwegian as the source language. It is probably the most commonly used Sami course in Norway today.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
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 Message 8 of 24
14 December 2010 at 4:36pm | IP Logged 
MahaKali wrote:
I would advise you to be cautious in (or avoid altogether) using the term "Lapp", and similarly "Lappish", as it is considered derogatory by many among the Sámi people in Norway, and probably also Sweden. Although some Norwegian Sámi don't find it offensive, there are those who do, and using it will certainly not aid you in finding conversation partners.


Thanks. It reminds me somewhat of the use of "Eskimo" vs. "Inuit" or "Gypsy" vs. "Roma/Romany".

MahaKali wrote:
As for books, you should include the Davvin series (in 4 volumes), by Inga Guttorm et al. It teaches Davvisámegiella with Norwegian as the source language. It is probably the most commonly used Sami course in Norway today.


Although I include a link to the website for the state-sponsored correspondence course that uses Davvin, I refrained from adding the set under "Books" only because I have no idea of the quality, layout or effectiveness of the course. Its ubiquitousness in Norway likely testifies at least partially to its good points although not knowing more about the course, I could be the Devil's advocate and say that it's widely used just because no other publisher has found it to be economical in offering a comparably substantial course for a low-profile but endangered language. When putting together language profiles, I've designed them to suit the uninitiated prospective learner who would like to see at least some feedback (either mine or that of others) about available resources. Of course, if you or anyone else have had experience with Davvin, feel free to pass on your comments about it and I'll incorporate them into the profile.



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