Facts about Sami languages

There are 10 Sami languages throughout the Sami settlement area. In an international context, all Sami languages are characterized as endangered, severely endangered or almost extinct languages.

The Sami language areas traditionally span parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. From the Kola Peninsula in the northeast, to Engerdal in southern Norway and Idre in southern Sweden. This area is called Sápmi in Sami language.

The most commonly used Sami languages in Norway today are North Sami, Lule Sami and South Sami. Pite Sami, Ume Sami and East Sami are in a vitalization phase in Norway.

Despite the stamp of extinction, the Sami languages ​​continue to exist. There is hope. There is a growing awareness among Sami about language and language choices, and more and more people are choosing to attend courses to take back the language that generations before them have lost. In areas where Sami has not been used for a generation or two, young adults are now taking Sami back and gently trying to pass it on to their children. A new generation of Sami speaking children is emerging.

Sami languages are protected by, among other things, ILO Convention 169, Norway’s Constitution, the Place Names Act, the Sámi Law’s language rule in Norway and through the Education Act.

Internationally, Sami languages are protected by, among other things, Nordic language declaration and European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

See more facts about Sami languages on the website of Store norske leksikon.