Scheller Elisabeth elisabeth.scheller at uit.no
Tue Oct 30 18:58:08 UTC 2012

Dear ura-list members,

I was not a member of the list and could therefore not participate in the discussion earlier.

I have some comments on the ongoing discussion about the speaker numbers and other data about the situation of the Saami languages.

Ume Saami and Pite Saami:
There are active speakers of both languages. In order to get more information you can contact these researchers:

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>

The Saami language situation in Russia:
Michael Riessler refers to one of my articles in which the data are a bit old. I have discussed results 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 article 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.

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

Some comments to the Akkala Saami recordings:
Michael Riessler asked my to get copies of my Akkala Saami 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 should only be stored in the archive and not open for spreading via the internet. This is because yet I don't have permissions from the recorded persons. Until the informants have given their written permissions to make the recordings available, the material is not freely available (especially not via the internet). People who are interested in the Akkala Saami issues are welcome to contact me to discuss this with me.

There are also some errors in the metadata in the archive (see Michael Riessler's link below):
The recordings are a part of my dissertation project at Tromsø University, they are not part of "Kola Saami Documentation Project" and Michael Riessler was not involved in recording or working with these data . There is one Akkala Saami speaker and three other informants (who mainly  speak Kildin Saami) involved in the recordings, included me who participated in and recorded the conversation.
When I gave Michael Riessler copies of the recordings, we agreed that the names of the informants will be anonymous for now. This is in order to protect the Akkala Saami consultant from becoming an object for a new "last speaker search". Because of the small size of the language community the names of the other persons who are recorded also have to be anonymous to guarantee the anonymity for the Akkala speaker.

I would like to ask Michael Riessler to respect our agreements and to correct the metadata in the catalogue of the archive.

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>

Välitetty viesti alkaa:

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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