Pite Sami language

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Pite Sami
Region Norway, Sweden
Native speakers
25 to 50  (2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sje
Glottolog pite1240[2]
Pite Sami is 3 on this map.

Pite Sami, also known as Arjeplog Sami, is a Sami language traditionally spoken in Sweden and Norway. It is a critically endangered language[3] that has only about 25–50[1] native speakers left and is now only spoken on the Swedish side of the border along the Pite River in the north of Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur and in the mountainous areas of the Arjeplog municipality.



Pite Sámi has 9 cases:



Pite Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical persons:

  • first person
  • second person
  • third person


Pite Sami has five grammatical moods:

Grammatical number[edit]

Pite Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical numbers:


Pite Sami verbs conjugate for two simple tenses:

and two compound tenses:

Negative verb[edit]

Pite Sami, like Finnish, the other Sámi languages and Estonian, has a negative verb. In Pite Sámi, the negative verb conjugates according to mood (indicative, imperative and optative), 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 and other Sami languages, that do not use the optative.

   Non-past indicative        Past indicative                           
   sg.  du.     pl.           sg.     du.        pl.      
1  iv   ien     iehp        1 ittjiv  iejmien    iejmieh    
                iep                   ittjijmen  ittjijmeh           
2  ih   iehpien iehpit      2 ittjih  iejtien    iejtieh    
        ehpien  ihpit                 ittjijtien ittjijteh                               
3  ij   iepaa   ieh         3 ittjij  iejkaan    ittjin     
        iepaan                        ittjijka                  

For non-past indicative versions that have more than one form, the second one is from the dialect spoken around Björkfjället and the third is from the Svaipa dialect. The plurality in the other forms is due to parallel forms that are not bound by dialect.

   Imperative                  Optative
   sg.    du.     pl.          sg.    du.      pl.                        
1  -      -       -         1  alluv  iellun   iellup
                                      allun    allup
2  ielieh iellien iellit    2  alluh  ielluten ielluteh
                                      alluten  alluteh
3  -      -       -         3  allus  ielluska ielluseh
                                      alluska  alluseh


Writing system[edit]

Pite Sámi is one of the four Sámi languages that does not have an official written language.


  1. ^ a b At least 25 speakers in 2010 according to researcher Joshua Wilbur. At least 30 active, native speakers in 2010; at least an additional 20 native speakers who do not use the language actively according to the Pite Sami dictionary project leader Nils Henrik Bengtsson.
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Pite Sami". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
  • Lagercrantz, Eliel: Sprachlehre des Westlappischen nach der Mundart von Arjeplog. Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilainen seura, 1926, ISSN 0355-0230.
  • Lehtiranta, Juhani: Arjeploginsaamen äänne- ja taivutusopin pääpiirteet. Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilainen seura, 1992, ISBN 951-9403-55-8.
  • Pite Saami Documentation Project. www2.hu-berlin.de/psdp. 2009.05.03.

External links[edit]