Spotlight on Minority Languages- Southern Sami

Southern Sami, like all other Sami languages is a Uralic language.

  • Southern Sami is part of the Western group of Sami languages.
  • Other Sami languages in the Western group are Ume Sami, Pite Sami, Lule Sami and Northern Sami.

Southern Sami is a seriously endangered language.

  • Only approximately 600 speakers remain.

It is a recognized minority language in Norway and Sweden.

  • Most of the remaining speakers are concentrated in Snåsa and Hattfjelldal in Norway.
  • It is an official language in Snåsa.

It is one of six Sami languages which have an official written form.

  • Southern Sami uses Latin script.
  • There is a decent sized Southern Sami-Norwegian dictionary available.
  • However, there aren’t many books available in the language.

Southern Sami has two dialects: Northern and Southern.

  • There are only small differences between the two dialects.

Southern Sami, like other Sami languages, has three grammatical numbers: singular, dual and plural.

  • The plural is used only to refer to three or more people or things.
  • This applies to pronouns as well.
  • However, unlike other Sami languages, Sami is an SOV (subject-object-verb) type of language. Only other Sami language that uses this pattern is Skolt Sami.

Want to hear Southern Sami?

The girl at the beginning of this video is speaking Southern Sami:

For more resources, see the Southern Sami page on this blog. I’ll keep adding new resources for the language on that page as I come across them.


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