Michael Rießler michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de
Mon Oct 29 14:42:25 UTC 2012

Dear all,

thank you Flo and Riho! I find this a very useful initiative.

A few notes on East-Saamic: 
* Akkala is certainly not extinct, one speaker was recently recorded, see http://corpus1.mpi.nl/ds/imdi_browser?openpath=MPI1564782%23.
* The most reliable estimation of Kildin speakers presents Scheller 2011 (or elsewhere): "The Saami language situation in Russia" in: Uralica Helsingiensia 5. Scheller distinguishes between about 100 active and 700 passive speakers. Your figure of 350 speakers is in between these two and seems reasonable to me.
* Skolt does in fact also have speakers in Norway. I personally know two speakers who live in Neiden. They are both fluent and active speakers, at least one of them is among the leading revitalizers having published books in Skolt Saami and teaching it at the school in Sevettijärvi/Finland (30km from Neiden). I have heard about a third speaker living in Kirkenes. Although they have only moved to Norway from the Finish side, they have lived in Norway permanently for several (if not many) years (both with Norwegian partners) and they continue using Skolt Saami between each other or with other visiting Skolt Saami. One of them is even a Norwegian citizen. Being permanent inhabitants of Norway, living on traditional Skolt Saami territories (in an area which was always characterized by cross-border communication) and obviously being quite active speakers, it seems anachronistic to exclude them from being counted as Skolt Saami of Norway.

Michael Rießler


Dr. Michael Rießler
Skandinavisches Seminar, Universität Freiburg
michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de

On Oct 29, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Florian Siegl wrote:

> Over the last month, the Department of Finno-Ugric studies in Helsinki has collected and re-evaluated existing statistical data concerning estimated numbers of speakers (!) of individual Uralic languages. As this data is biased, we have decided to make our estimations available on Ura-List in order to gather feedback and suggestions. The overall intention is NOT to present an exact number of speakers (see also principles in the attached file) which would result in a sanctioned list, but to arrive at a reasonably realistic estimation which can be used e. g. in teaching, research or PR work. Although this should not need any further explanation, we wish to exemplify this with two instances which demonstrate the urgency of such an endeavor; the number of Lule Saami speakers has been estimated as roughly 1500-2000, and this number has been around for a longer period. Recent estimations from within the Lule Saami community operate with roughly 700 speakers only – the resulting discrepancy is 50%. A similar case is to be expected for Forest Nenets. The number of speakers has been reported exceeding 1000 for quite a while now, but may actually not exceed 700 when taking general demographic trends into consideration.
> Further, several languages were once a while reported as extinct (e. g. Livonian, Ume Saami and Pite Saami) though for all languages L1 speakers could still be found. Possibly Akkala Saami could also be added to this list.
> As Ura-List, unfortunately, does not stimulate much online discussion, we encourage subscribers to comment this particular matter online. Of course, we also welcome offline comments. These should be sent to florian.siegl at helsinki.fi. Please state on which kind of evidence your assumptions rest and if possible provide links to further online resources, own work etc. Please also state if we are allowed to quote your data/assumption publicly as p. c. if this would become necessary.
> A summary will be posted on Ura-List. A more “official” mode of representation is currently also thought of perhaps resulting in an updated version of the 1992 map Geographical Distribution of the Uralic Languages (then compiled by Grünthal & Salminen). A suitable online forum is also currently debated on.
> Last, but not least, please forward this message to colleagues and language activists who are not subscribers of Ura-List.
> Florian Siegl
> PhD, researcher
> Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, 
> P.O.Box 24
> FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
> Finland
> <Uralic_Languages_Speakers_2012.doc>

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