|Most Popular Saami Language Product Types|
Of the ten Saami languages, three are spoken in Finland: North, Inari and Skolt Saami. North Saami is the largest group, spoken by 70 % to 80 % of the Saami. It is thus the most important Saami language and as such the natural mode of communication in Nordic Saami cooperation. Inari Saami number about 900 and the Greek-Orthodox Skolt Saami about 600. Nearly a whole generation is said to have lost the Saami language. According to the Finnish Statistics Centre, 1,716 persons were registered as having Saami as their mother tongue on 1 January 1998. The Saami Parliament, however, cites a figure of 2,500. About 330 speak Inari Saami and 200 Skolt Saami, in both cases mostly elderly people. These two small languages are threatened by extinction and "language nests" have been established to safeguard their survival.
There have been a number of grammars for this dialect, but in 1948 a common grammar was created, and was last modified in 1985. It uses seven characters not found in Scandinavian or Finnish:
Lule Saami (Norway, Sweden)
Common grammar but with fewer special characters (only a-acute and n-acute). The character n-acute (N/n) is the eng sound found in the Norwegian word "sang". Instead of n-acute (found in Unicode, but not in ASCII), many use ñ or even ng.
Southern Saami (Norway, Sweden)
Written using Norwegian or Swedish characters, some variants of Swedish or Norwegian æ and ø.
Inari Saami (Enare Saami) (Inari, Finland)
This dialect uses seven special characters.
SIL code: LPI, ISO 639-2: smi
Skolt Saami (Näätämö and the Nellim-Keväjärvi districts, Inari municipality, Finland, also spoken in Russia, previously in Norway; Skolts were resettled to Inari from the Petsamo area after its annexation by the Soviet Union)
SIL code: LPK, ISO 639-2: smi
Kildin Saami (Kildin Island, Russia)
Uses cyrillic typesetting, Russian characters with some special characters.
SIL code: LPD, ISO 639-2: smi
Saami is spoken/used in the following countries:
Finland, Norway, Sweden.
Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.