Southern Sámi language

Southern Sami language

Southern Sami
Åarjelsaemien gïele
Spoken in Norway, Sweden
Native speakers 600 (date missing)
Language family

Writing system

Southern Sami is one of the six Sami 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 Sami–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

An alternative orthography replaces Æ/æ with Ä/ä and Ø/ø with Ö/ö. 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, based on computer or type writer availability. 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:



Sound alterations

A typical feature of Southern Sami is the alternation of first-syllable vowels through Umlaut in the declension and conjugation of words. Often there are three different vowels that alternate with each other in the paradigm of a single word, for example as follows:


Southern Sámi has 8 cases:



Southern Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical persons:



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 Sami, 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.


Like Skolt Sami and unlike other Sami languages, Southern Sami is an SOV language.


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

External links

Southern Sámi

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