Notes on Sámi

An endangered Finno-Ugric language, positive steps are being taken to promote this group of languages..

Sámi (or Saami) is a group of languages, evidently mutually unintelligible. See the Ethnologue entry for a classification breakdown.

The Sámi have lived in arctic Europe for thousands of years. Recalling learning about the Lapps of Lapland in elementary school, I was surprised to learn that “Lapp” is generally considered derogatory by the Sámi (Lapps) themselves, though the word Lapland appears to be acceptable as a geographical term. Etymologies of both ethnic designations “Lapp” are offered by The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire.

Of particular interest is the Sámi Language Act, the link of which is in English. The Act includes provisions for the rights to use Sámi when addressing public officials, to receive interpretation and translation, and for officials to take leave to study Sámi if they are within the Sámi homeland.

The orthographies of Sámi can be found at Omniglot. Dictionaries with English components can be found at Sámi-related odds and ends. While at “odds and ends”, also check out the crossword puzzles (the “a few puzzles link”) to practice.

Another promising-looking site is the Sámi dictionary and terminology portal, though I couldn’t get the dictionary search function to work. For the more linguistic-minded, see the Sámi language technology project, where a morphological parser and disambiguator are in progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: