Southern Sami

Southern Sami

Infobox Language
name=Southern Sami
nativename=åarjelsaemien gïele
region=Norway, Sweden
script=Latin alphabet
nation=flagicon|Norway Snåsa

Southern Sami is the south-westernmost of the Sami languages. It is a seriously endangered language; the last strongholds of this language are the municipalities of Snåsa and Hattfjelldal in Norway. There are approximately 2000 people considered ethnically Southern Sami in Norway and Sweden, but only approximately 500 of them can fluently speak the language.

Writing system

Southern Sámi is one of the six Sámi languages that has an official written language, but only a few books have been published for the language, one of which is a good-size Southern Sámi-Norwegian dictionary.

Southern Sami uses the latin alphabet: A/a, B/b, D/d, E/e, F/f, G/g, H/h, I/i, (Ï/ï), J/j, K/k, L/l, M/m, N/n, O/o, P/p, R/r, S/s, T/t, U/u, V/v, Y/y, Æ/æ, Ø/ø, Å/å

Ä/ä is a variant of Æ/æ, Ö/ö is a variant of Ø/ø. The variants Ä/ä, Ö/ö are used in Sweden, Æ/æ, Ø/ø in Norway, in accordance with the usage in Swedish and Norwegian. The Ï/ï represents a back version of I/i, many texts do not distinguish between the two.

C/c, Q/q, W/w, X/x, Z/z are used in words of foreign origin.


Southern Sami has two dialects, the northern and the southern dialect. The phonological differences between the dialects are relatively small; the phonemic system of the northern dialect is explained below.


The vowel phonemes of the northern dialect are the following; orthographic counterparts are given in brackets:

Southern Sámi is one of the few Sámi languages that still differentiates between the accusative and the genitive morphologically.



Southern Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical persons:

*first person
*second person
*third person



Grammatical number

Southern Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical numbers:


Negative verb

Southern Sami, like Finnish, the other Sámi languages and Estonian, has a negative verb. In Southern Sámi, the negative verb conjugates according to tense (past and non-past), mood (indicative and imperative), person (1st, 2nd and 3rd) and number (singular, dual and plural). This differs from some other the other Sami languages, e.g., from Northern Sami, which do not conjugate according to tense.


Unlike the other Sámi languages, Southern Sámi is an SOV language.


* Bergsland, Knut. "Røroslappisk grammatikk", 1946.
* Bergsland, Knut. "Sydsamisk grammatikk", 1982.
* Bergsland, Knut and Lajla Mattson Magga. "Åarjelsaemien-daaroen baakoegærja", 1993.
* Hasselbrink, Gustav. "Südsamisches Wörterbuch I–III"

External links

* [ Sámi lottit] Names of birds found in Sápmi in a number of languages, including Skolt Sámi and English. Search function only works with Finnish input though.
* [ Southern Sámi grammar]
* [ Southern Sámi analyzer]
* [ Samien Sijte] - Southern Sámi Museum and Cultural Center
* [ Sørsamisk forskning og undervisning] - Universitetet i Tromsø

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