Skolt Sami Language - Status


Skolt Sami is spoken by approximately 400 individuals, nearly all of whom live in Finland; very few speakers remain today on the Russian side. On the Finnish side of the border, the language is recognized by the government as one of the official Sami languages used in Lapland and can thus be used by anyone conducting official business in that area. It is an official language in the municipality of Inari, and elementary schools there offer courses in the language, both for native speakers and for students learning it as a foreign language. Only a small number of youths do learn the language and continue to use it actively. Skolt Sami is thus a seriously endangered language, even more seriously than Inari Sami in the same municipality, which has a nearly equal number of speakers.

From 1978 to 1986, the Skolts had a quarterly called Sää´mođđâz published in their own language. To date, this is the only magazine or newspaper that has appeared in Skolt Sámi.

In 1993, language immersion programs for children younger than 7 were created. At present, however, no funding has been forthcoming for these programs in years and as a result they are on hold. These programs were extremely important in creating the youngest generation of Skolt Sami speakers.

Like Inari Sami, Skolt Sami has recently borne witness to a new phenomenon, namely it is being used in rock songs sung by Tiina Sanila, who has published two full-length CDs in Skolt Sami to date.

In addition, 2005 saw the first time that it was possible to use Skolt Sámi in a Finnish matriculation examination, albeit as a foreign language.

Read more about this topic:  Skolt Sami Language

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