Northern Sami Orthography

Northern Sami Orthography

The orthography used to write Northern Sami has experienced numerous changes over the several hundred years it has existed. For most of this time, Norway, Sweden and Finland — the three countries where Northern Sámi is spoken — each had their own orthography for teaching the Sámi within their border. In 1979, a common pan-Scandinavian Sámi orthography was agreed on.

The roots of the current orthography for Northern Sámi were laid by Rasmus Rask, who, after discussions with Nils Vibe Stockfleth, published Ræsonneret lappisk sproglære efter den sprogart, som bruges af fjældlapperne i Porsangerfjorden i Finmarken. En omarbejdelse af Prof. Knud Leems Lappiske grammatica in 1832. Rask felt that the orthography should be based on the principle of a single grapheme for each sound, i.e. it should be a phonemic orthography. All of the orthographies that have been used for Northern Sámi trace their roots back to Rask's system. Following in the tradition of Rask meant that diacritics were used with some consonants (č, đ, ŋ, š, ŧ and ž), which caused data-processing problems before Unicode was introduced. Both Stockfleth and Jens Andreas Friis went on to publish grammar books and dictionaries for Sámi.

Read more about Northern Sami Orthography:  The Various Orthographies in A Nutshell, Background, The Stockfleth Orthography, The Friis Orthography, The Nielsen Orthography, The Bergsland-Ruong Orthography

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