Kildin Sami language
|Кӣллт са̄мь кӣлл (Kiillt saam' kiill)|
|Region||Kola Peninsula (Murmansk Oblast)|
|ca. 340 (2010 census)|
Kildin Sami is 8 on this map.
Kildin Saami (also known by its other synonymous names “Saami,” “Kola Saami,” “Eastern Saami,” and “Lappish”), is a Saami language that is spoken on the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia that today is and historically was once inhabited by this group. As social and cultural emphasis has been put on the writing and speaking of the various languages that constitute Russia, Kildin Saami has now become a critically endangered language. Russian is prominently spoken in Kildin Saami communities so much so that the original language is hardly ever heard of or only spoken privately amongst those still know how to do so within an insular community. The few Kildin Saami who speak and understand their language proficiently can also speak various dialectical tongues that constitute ethnic Russia. Because the language has eroded so rapidly over the centuries, it is more widely spoken amongst or between older elders who were taught and educated between themselves and thus retained the spoken language and hardly spoken by children. The reasons for the loss and decline in speakership is as follows: a lack of education, dispersion of the Saami, no generational transmission of traditional Saami trades and ways of life, and not ever needing to speak or not regularly speaking the language have both caused speakership to take a hit over the years. Kildin Sami is written using an official Cyrillic script.
The area around Lovozero has the highest concentration of speakers. It is the largest of the Eastern Sami languages by number of speakers. Its future, however, appears to be not as bright as that of Skolt Sami or Inari Sami because the language is used actively by only very few people today. The Sami languages closest to Kildin are Ter Sami and Akkala Sami. The latter is sometimes considered to be a dialect of Kildin Sami. Originally, Kildin Saami was spoken in the mainland areas with the largest pockets of these people in clustered areas and in the coastal parts of the Kola Peninsula. Kildin Saami speakers can be found in rural and urban areas, with one of them being in the administrative center of the Murmansk area. Kildin Saami enclaves can be found throughout villages in Lovozero, Revda, Kola, Loparskaja, Teriberka, but can also be found in larger more sizable areas of Russia such as Olenegorsk and Apatity. Lovozero is known as the area where the Kildin Saami are dominantly present and where the language is still widely spoken amongst the small population: 700–800 ethnic Kildin Saami among a total village population of approximately 3,000. Today, the language has only about 100 active and perhaps 600 passive speakers. As a result of relocation, migration, and forced movement of the group, the community has really fragmented and become divided over other areas in Russia, thus leading to an inability for the revival and sustenance of their language, traditions, customs, and beliefs. From a strictly geographical point of view, only Kildin and Ter, spoken on the Peninsula, should be regarded as ‘Kola Saami.
The Early Period:
The Kildin Saami (Kola Saami) first came into contact and had more subsequent meetings with the Russians in the 12th century, when Pomor traders from the empire of Novgorod landed on the southern shores of the Kola Peninsula. Russians themselves inhabited and set up shelters in the Kola and the Ter Coast as it was known then during the 13th-14th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Russians started heavily occupying and building their own communities in northern Karelia and increased exposure between the Kildin Saami and Russians naturally blossomed as a result. In the 19th century, Kola Saami were organized and advocated for themselves through “tight-knit familial communities” where they worked in pastures, lived by fishing, and survived through hunting all in a concrete set around defined territory with extended family. During this time, they community shared in spiritual customs and held similar ideologies on their language and community. In the Russian empire, the Kildin Saami had no authority, rights or privileges, or liberties of autonomy and independence to control their affairs and to educate and teach their language through schools. After the 1917 Revolution which overthrew the tsarist regime of Nicholas II and led to the rise of the Bolsheviks, party systems, and emphasis towards a village-centered, peasant-centered, society, the Soviet state implemented laws or statutes that encouraged the development and protection of Saami language and Saami culture.
The Stalinist Era:
During the 1930’s, with an orientation toward Russian nationalism (“Russification”) and Russian identity that came about more dramatically with Joseph Stalin’s rise to power and his oppressive tactics, 20 years of repression, relocations, murders, and the extinguishment of certain languages came about, which had a quite negative influence on the Kola Sami languages and culture. As Stalins’ reign went on in Soviet Russia, his paranoia, frustrations, anger, and delusions grew, emotions he would act on as leader. Resistance and refusal to submit to collectivized farms/villages/working conditions of the reindeer Kildin Saami community led to arrests by Stalin in the 1930’s of those who lived in the Kola tundras. As Russia entered World War II, Kildin Saami youth were drafted and impressed to serve in the Red Army, which lessened hardships and prejudices they faced for a temporary period. Although the repression ended after the death of Stalin in 1953, Russification policies continued and the work with the Sami languages started again only in the beginning of the 1980s when new teaching materials and dictionaries were published.
Opportunities And Challenges For The Kildin Saami
There is an opportunity to revitalize, reintegrate, and have Kildin Sami be more widely spoken such as reintroducing and raising awareness and support for Kildin Saami as an everyday language for communication—like in the Saami community of Lovozero. Youth and adolescents are expressing more interest now to speak Kildin Saami which can help in the languages survival. A sizable portion of political and cultural Kildin Saami groups are pushing for policies and local measures that help to maintain and protect Saami tradition, which is important if the language is to survive the test of time. The federal Russian legislation guarantees the Sami several legal rights giving them language sovereignty and rights to use and develop their languages. But for the practical realization of these rights the Kola Sami community needs to hold a constant constructive dialogue with the municipal and regional authorities, which have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Sami in the development of the Sami language and culture.
A majority of children hold no knowledge of their languages, traditions, customs, or beliefs, and have had no formal or informal teaching which may give them a base of knowledge from which to work from. Antiquated materials, ineffective or inaccessible resources, and old teaching methods are often used to teach the language; there is no efforts towards the transmission of the language to future generations nor is there an active effort to preserve written language for scholarly use or to build opportunities to learn Kildin Saami at higher levels. Although authorities and some government officials express a desire and willingness to resuscitate and revitalize the language, the community is not using that to their advantage, either because they do not know how to do so or who to reach out to. There is no collaboration or team effort from language activists, language experts and language users and no coordinated or organized process to make learning the Kildin Saami language a reality for more people. A language center or another initiative to carry out a more coordinated and well-planned language work could solve that problem.
Kildin Sami is written in an extended version of Cyrillic since the 1980s. The alphabet has three variants with some minor differences in certain letters, mostly in Ҋ vs. Ј and ’ (apostrophe) vs. Һ. Whereas the dictionary of Sammallahti/Khvorostukhina(1991) uses Ҋ and ’ (apostrophe), Kuruč at al. 1985 uses Ј and Һ. The third orthographic variant, used, e.g. by Kert (1986), has neither of these letters.
Note that the letters Ӓ, Ҋ/Ј, Һ/’ (apostrophe), Ӆ, Ӎ, Ӊ, Ӈ, Ҏ, Ъ, Ь, Ҍ and Ӭ do not occur word initially, either because the letters mark features of preceding consonants or the sounds they represent do not occur word initially. So these letters do not normally occur in uppercase, except for all caps text.
The letter Щ occurs only in Russian loanwords.
|А а||Ӓ ӓ||Б б||В в||Г г||Д д||Е е||Ё ё||Ж ж||З з||Һ һ||'|
|/a/||/ʲa/||/b/||/v/||/ɡ/||/d/||/je/ or /ʲe/||/jo/ or /ʲo/||/ʒ/||/z/||/ʰ/|
|И и||Й й||Ҋ ҋ||Ј ј||К к||Л л||Ӆ ӆ||М м||Ӎ ӎ||Н н||Ӊ ӊ|
|/i/ or /ji/ or /ʲi/||/j/||/j̊/||/k/||/l/||/l̥/||/m/||/m̥/||/n/||/n̥/|
|Ӈ ӈ||О о||П п||Р р||Ҏ ҏ||С с||Т т||У у||Ф ф||Х х||Ц ц|
|Ч ч||Ш ш||Щ щ||Ъ ъ||Ыы||Ь ь||Ҍ ҍ||Э э||Ӭ ӭ||Ю ю||Я я|
|/tʃ/||/ʃ/||/ç/||/ɨ/||/ʲ/||/ʲ/||/e/||/ʲe/||/ju/ or /ʲu/||/ja/ or /ʲa/|
The orthographic principles are more or less similar to Russian, but note the following special features.
Similar to Russian, palatalization of a consonant in Kildin Sami is marked by the letter Ь or one of the vowel letters Е, Ё, И, Ю, and Я following the consonant. Palatalized Д, Т, Н, however, are marked by ҍ or one of the vowel letters Ӓ and Ӭ. Note also that the consonant letter Н before Ь or one of the vowel letters Е, Ё, И, Ю, and Я does not represent palatalization but the palatal nasal /ɲ/.
The letter Һ occurs before the letters П, Т, К, Ц and Ч, and marks (historical) preaspiration. The actual pronunciation, however, varies between true preaspiration [ʰ] or the fricative sounds [h], [ç], or [x].
Voiceless sonorants are represented by the letters Ҋ/Ј, Ӆ, Ӎ, Ӊ, and Ҏ.
The velar nasal is written as Ӈ.
Below are all of the consonants in Kildin Sami. The symbols in parenthesis are minimal sounds.
Rimma Kuruch's dictionary presents the following vowels for Kildin Sami:
|Close||/iː/ [ӣ]||/i/ [и]||/ɨː/ [ы̄]||/ɨ/ [ы]||/uː/ [ӯ]||/u/ [у]|
|Mid||/eː/ [э̄]||/e/ [э]||/oː/ [о̄]||/o/ [о]|
|Open||/aː/ [а̄]||/a~ɐ/ [а]|
Loanwords to English
- Kildin Sami at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kildin Sami". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Rießler, Michael. "Towards a digital infrastructure for Kildin Saami" (PDF). Sustaining Indigenous Knowledge: Learning Tools and community initiatives on preserving endangered languages and local cultural heritage, in SEC Publications. Exhibitions & Symposia series: 195–218.
- Ivanishcheva, O. "Saami Dictionary-Making: Preserving Indigenous Finno-Ugric languages Of The Kola peninsula". Linguistica Uralica: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus: 54–64.
- Ivanishcheva, O. "Language Policy Experiments: Creation of a Kola Saami Writing System in the 1930s". Linguistica Uralica. 52 (4). doi:10.3176/lu.2016.4.06.
- Wilbur, Joshua., & Rießler, Michael. (2013). Språk og språkforhold i Sápmi: Documenting the endangered Kola Saami languages. Band, 11. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/skandinavistik/11/riessler-michael-39/PDF/riessler.pdf
- Blokland, Rogier, & RIEßLER, Michael (2011). Komi-Saami-Russian contacts on the Kola peninsula. Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics. Amsterdam- New York: Rodolfi, 2011. 5-26.
- Pineda, David. (2008). “Куэссь не получается сāмас, рyшас полегче”–codeswitching on the Kola Peninsula. Poljarnyj vestnik, 11, 47-62. http://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/vestnik/article/viewFile/1301/1239
- Wheelersburg, Robert. P., & Gutsol, Natalia. (2008). Babinski and Ekostrovski: Saami pogosty on the western Kola Peninsula, Russia from 1880 to 1940. Arctic Anthropology, 45(1), 79-96. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40316703
- Kotljarchuk, Andrej. (2012). Kola Sami in the Stalinist Terror: A Quantitative Analysis. Journal of Northern Studies, 6(2), 59-82. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:606912/FULLTEXT01.pdf
- Scheller, Elisabeth. (2013). Kola Sami language revitalisation-opportunities and challenges. Andersson, Kajsa (ed.) 2013. L’Image du Sápmi II: études comparées / textes réunis par Kajsa Andersson. Humanistica Oerebroensia. Artes et linguae 16. Örebro: Örebro University, pp. 392-421.
- Antonova A. A., N. E. Afanas'eva, E. I. Mečkina, L. D. Jakovlev, B. A. Gluhov (ed. Rimma D. Kuruč). 1985. Saamsko-russkij slovar' = Saam'-rūšš soagknehk'. Moskva.
- Kert, G.M. (1986). Slovar' saamsko-russkij i russko-saamskij. Leningrad.
- Sammallahti, P. and A. Xvorostuxina (1991). Unna sámi-sām' sām'-sámi sátnegirjjáš. Ohcejohka.
|Kildin Sami language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Kildin Saami Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database)
- (Russian) Алфавит саамского языка (кильдинский диалект)
- (Russian) Sami–Russian dictionary, Kuruch R. D., Grammar of Kildin Sami language (DJVU, PDF)
- Kildin Saami language by Jelena Porsanger
- Kildin Saami language by Michael Rießler