Morén-Duolljá Bruce Timothy bruce.moren at uit.no
Tue Oct 30 09:33:55 UTC 2012

Dear All,

My work with active Lule Saami language users within Lule Saami community seems to indicate that there are approx. 650-700 active speakers but many more with various degrees of passive knowledge. By "active" I mean that they speak the language with some degree of fluency. This does not include those that actively use only fixed phrases such as greetings, kinship terms, etc. By "passive" I mean that they can follow conversations (either all themes or only specific themes), but either never speak the language or only reply with limited phrases.

As far as I know, there has been no official or unofficial documentation of the number of Lule Saami speakers. The numbers that I have and have seen mentioned in the literature seem to be estimates based on word-of-mouth.

Bruce Morén-Duolljá, PhD
Senior Researcher
Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics
University of Tromsø
NO-9037 Tromsø
bruce.moren at uit.no<mailto:bruce.moren at uit.no>
"I speak my favorite language because that's who I am.  We teach our children our favorite language because we want them to know who they are." - Christine Johnson, Tohono O'odham elder

From: Scheller Elisabeth <elisabeth.scheller at uit.no<mailto:elisabeth.scheller at uit.no>>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:13:42 +0000
To: "ura-list at helsinki.fi<mailto:ura-list at helsinki.fi>" <ura-list at helsinki.fi<mailto:ura-list at helsinki.fi>>
Cc: "michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de<mailto:michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de>" <michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de<mailto:michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de>>, Pekka Sammallahti <pekka.sammallahti at oulu.fi<mailto:pekka.sammallahti at oulu.fi>>
Subject: Re: Query

Dear ura-list members,

I am not on the ura-list, but one of the ura-list members was so kind to send a copy of the ongoing conversation about the Kola Saami language situation to me, what I am grateful for.

Concerning the Akkala Saami recordings,  which my collegue Michael Riessler mentions:

Yes there are at least one active Akkala Saami speaker and several people with knowledge of Akkala Saami on different levels. I have done these recordings and I am working with an investigation of the Akkala Saami language situation. An analysis of the Akkala Saami situation will be published in my dissertation during next year (in Swedish). I will also publish an article in English about this issue.

Michael Riessler asked my to get copies of my Akkala Saami recordings recordings for storing them in the digital archive at the Max-Planck Institute in Nijmegen. I gave him the copies, BUT we agreed  that the recordings are only stored in the archive but not open for spreading via the internet. This is because yet I don't have permissions from the recorded persons. Before the informants haven't given their written permissions to how they want that the recordings will be done available in the future, the recordings are not freely available (at least not via the internet). I would like to ask Michael Riessler and every other persons to respect this. People who are interested in the Akkala Saami recordings are welcome to take contact with me to discuss this issue.

I have discussed resluts of my investigation of the situation of the Saami languages in Russia in two newer articles:

Scheller, Elisabeth (2011). Samisk språkrevitalisering i Ryssland – möjligheter och utmaningar. In (eds.) Kirsten Palm, Else Ryen, Hilde Sollid, NOA: norsk som andrespråk 1-2011. Tromsø: Novus forlag. pp. 86-118.

Soon an articles will come out in English:
Scheller, Elisabeth (in press): Kola Sami Language Revitalisation – opportunities and challenges. In (eds.) Kajsa Andersson. L'Image du Sápmi II. Humanistica Oerebroensia: humanistic studies at the University of Örebro, Artes et linguae. Örebro: Örebro University.

Concerning Ume Saami and Pite Saami:

There are active speakers of both languages. To get more information about these languages you can contact the researchers who are working with these languages:

Ume and South Saami:  Mikael Vinka (Umeå university) mikael.vinka at samiska.umu.se<mailto:mikael.vinka at samiska.umu.se>

Pite Saami: Joshua Wilbur (Humboldt university Berlin)  wilburjk at staff.hu-berlin.de<mailto:wilburjk at staff.hu-berlin.de>

With kind regards,
Elisabeth Scheller

Stipendiat i Språkvitenskap
Universitetet i Tromsø
+47 776 46340
elisabeth.scheller at uit.no<mailto:elisabeth.scheller at uit.no>

Lähettäjä: Pekka Sammallahti <pekka.sammallahti at oulu.fi<mailto:pekka.sammallahti at oulu.fi>>
Aihe: Re: Query
Päivämäärä: 29. oktober 2012 17:24:47 CET
Vastaanottaja: Michael Rießler <michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de<mailto:michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de>>
Kopio: <ura-list at helsinki.fi<mailto:ura-list at helsinki.fi>>

Dear all,

A praiseworthy endevor!

I couldn't open Michael's Akkala link. I would have liked to hear it with my own ears, just to convince myself that Akkala is not confused with Sââ´rves. The two languages coexisted in Yona for decades but the last recordings I've heard indicate that they didn't merge at least as far as their phonologies are concerned.



Quoting Michael Rießler <michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de<mailto:michael.riessler at skandinavistik.uni-freiburg.de>>:

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<mailto: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<mailto: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


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