|Native to||Norway, Sweden|
Official language in
Lule Sami language area (red) within Sápmi (grey)
Lule Sámi (Lule Sami: Julevsámegiella, Norwegian: Lulesamisk, Swedish: Lulesamiska) is a Uralic, Sámi language spoken around the Lule River, Sweden, and in the northern parts of Nordland county in Norway, especially the Hamarøy (formerly Tysfjord) municipality, where Lule Sámi is an official language. It is written in the Latin script, having an official alphabet.
The language was originally only spoken around the Lule River, in Sweden. During the 18th century some Sámi migrated to Nordland in Norway, and their descendants still live in Norway, and speak Lule Sámi. The first book written in Lule Sámi, Hålaitattem Ristagasa ja Satte almatja kaskan, was published in 1839 by Lars Levi Læstadius.
With 650 speakers, it is the second largest of all Sámi languages. It is reported that the number of native speakers is in sharp decline among the younger generations. The language has, however, been standardised in 1983 and elaborately cultivated ever since.
Some analyses of Lule Sámi phonology may include preaspirated stops and affricates (/hp/, /ht/, /ht͡s/, /ht͡ʃ/, /hk/) and pre-stopped or pre-glottalised nasals (voiceless /pm/, /tn/, /tɲ/, /kŋ/ and voiced /bːm/, /dːn/, /dːɲ/, /gːŋ/). However, these can be treated as clusters for the purpose of phonology, since they are clearly composed of two segments and only the first of these lengthens in quantity 3. The terms "preaspirated" and "pre-stopped" will be used in this article to describe these combinations for convenience.
- Stops before a homorganic nasal (pre-stopped nasals) are realised as unreleased stops.
- /v/ is realised as a labiodental fricative [v] in the syllable onset (before a vowel), and as bilabial [w] in the syllable coda (in a consonant cluster).
Lule Sámi possesses the following vowels:
|Short vowels||Long vowels||Diphthongs|
- /ea̯/ can be realised as a true diphthong, or a long monophthong [ɛː].
- Long /eː/ and the diphthongs /ea̯/ and /oɑ̯/ occur only in stressed syllables.
- Long /iː/ and /uː/ are very rare, as is short /e/. They also only occur in stressed syllables.
- Short /o/ and long /oː/ can occur in unstressed syllables, but only when a preceding stressed syllable contains /o/.
Consonant length and gradation
Consonants, including clusters, that occur after a stressed syllable can occur in multiple distinctive length types, or quantities. These are conventionally labelled quantity 1, 2 and 3 or Q1, Q2 and Q3 for short. The consonants of a word alternate in a process known as consonant gradation, where consonants appear in different quantities depending on the specific grammatical form. Normally, one of the possibilities is named the strong grade, while the other is named weak grade. The consonants of a weak grade are normally quantity 1 or 2, while the consonants of a strong grade are normally quantity 2 or 3.
- Quantity 1 includes any single consonant. It originates from Proto-Samic single consonants in the weak grade.
- Quantity 2 includes any combination of consonants (including two of the same) with a short consonant in the coda of the preceding syllable. It originates from Proto-Samic single consonants in the strong grade, as well as combinations of two consonants in the weak grade.
- Quantity 3 includes any combination of consonants (including two of the same) with a long consonant in the coda of the preceding syllable. It originates from Proto-Samic combinations of two consonants in the strong grade.
Throughout this article and related articles, consonants that are part of different syllables are written with two consonant letters in IPA, while the lengthening of consonants in quantity 3 is indicated with an IPA length mark (ː).
Not all consonants can occur in every quantity type. The following limitations exist:
- Single /h/ is restricted to quantity 1, and does not alternate.
- Single /j/ is also restricted to quantity 1, but alternates with /ɟ/.
- Voiced stops and affricates only occur in quantity 3, except for /ɟ/ which can also occur in quantity 2.
- /ʎ/ occurs in quantity 2 and 3, but not in quantity 1.
When a consonant can occur in all three quantities, quantity 3 is termed "overlong".
Umlaut is a process whereby a diphthong in a stressed syllable changes depending on the vowel in the next syllable.
The first type of umlaut causes an alternation between /ea̯/ and /ie̯/ in words whose stems end with unstressed /ie̯/. For such words, these two diphthongs can be considered variants of each other, while in words whose stems end with another vowel, these vowels remain distinct. The following table shows the different patterns that occur with different following vowels:
|Stem ends in /ie̯/||ea̯||ie̯||ea̯||ie̯|
|Stem ends in another vowel||ea̯||—||ea̯|
|Stem ends in another vowel||ie̯||—||ie̯|
The second type of umlaut, called "diphthong simplification" or "monophthongization", is similar to its Northern Sami counterpart, but works differently. The diphthongs /ea̯/ and /oɑ̯/ become /eː/ and /oː/ respectively, if:
- The vowel in the next syllable is short (thus including also /a/), and
- The following consonant is quantity 1 or 2.
The diphthongs /ie̯/ and /uo̯/ are unaffected. The reverse process also occurs, turning the long vowels back into diphthongs if the consonant becomes quantity 3 or the vowel in the next syllable becomes long.
The third type of umlaut, progressive umlaut, works in the other direction. It causes the unstressed vowels /a/ and /aː/ to be rounded to /o/ and /oː/ respectively, if the preceding stressed vowel is short /o/.
Unstressed vowel lengthening
If a stressed syllable contains a short vowel followed by a single (quantity 1) consonant, then a short vowel in the following syllable is lengthened.
Sammallahti divides Lule Sámi dialects as follows:
- Northern dialects: Sörkaitum, Sirkas and Jåkkåkaska in Sweden, Hamarøy in Norway
- Southern dialects: Tuorpon in Sweden
- Forest dialects: Gällivare and Serri in Sweden
Features of the northern dialects of Lule Sámi are:
- Long /aː/ is also rounded to /oː/ after /o/ in a first syllable.
Features of the southern dialects of Lule Sámi are:
- Umlaut of short /a/ to /e/ before /i/.
The orthography used for Lule Sámi is written using an extended form of the Latin script.
|B b||/p/, /b/|
|D d||/t/, /d/|
|E e||/eː/, /ie̯/||/ie̯/ when unstressed.|
|G g||/k/, /ɡ/|
|K k||/k/, /kʰ/||Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.|
|O o||/uo̯/||Only unstressed.|
|P p||/p/, /pʰ/||Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.|
|T t||/t/, /tʰ/||Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.|
|Å å||/o/, /oː/|
Traditionally, the character ⟨Ń⟩ has been used to represent /ŋ/. In place of n-acute (available in Unicode and mechanical type writers, but not in Latin-1 or traditional Nordic keyboards), many have used ⟨ñ⟩ or even ⟨ng⟩. In modern orthography, such as in the official publications of the Swedish government and the recently published translation of the New Testament, it is usually replaced with ⟨ŋ⟩, in accordance with the orthography of many other Sámi languages.
Lule Sámi has seven cases:
Like the other Uralic languages, the nominative singular is unmarked and indicates the subject of a predicate. The nominative plural is also unmarked and is always formally the same as the genitive singular.
The genitive singular is unmarked and looks the same as the nominative plural. The genitive plural is marked by a-j. The genitive is used:
- to indicate possession
- with prepositions
- with postpositions.
The inessive marker is -n in the singular and the plural, when it is then preceded by the plural marker -j. This case is used to indicate:
- where something is
- who has possession of something
- where something is going
- who is receiving something
- the indirect object
The elative marker is -s in the singular and the plural, when it is then preceded by the plural marker -j. This case is used to indicate:
- where something is coming from
The comitative marker in the singular is -jn and -j in the plural, which means that it looks like the genitive plural. The comitative is used to state with whom or what something was done.
The personal pronouns have three numbers - singular, plural and dual. The following table contains personal pronouns in the nominative and genitive/accusative cases.
|First person (singular)||I||mån||my||muv|
|Second person (singular)||you (thou)||dån||your, yours||duv|
|Third person (singular)||he, she||sån||his, her||suv|
|First person (dual)||we (two)||måj||our||munnu|
|Second person (dual)||you (two)||dåj||your||dunnu|
|Third person (dual)||they (two)||såj||theirs||sunnu|
|First person (plural)||we||mij||our||mijá|
|Second person (plural)||you||dij||your||dijá|
|Third person (plural)||they||sij||their||sijá|
The next table demonstrates the declension of a personal pronoun he/she (no gender distinction) in various cases:
- first person
- second person
- third person
Lule Sámi has five grammatical moods:
and two compound tenses:
Lule Sámi, like Finnish, the other Sámi languages, and some Estonian dialects, has a negative verb. In Lule Sámi, the negative verb conjugates according to tense (past and non-past), mood (indicative, imperative and optative), person (1st, 2nd and 3rd) and number (singular, dual and plural).
- "Fant hemmelighetene i lulesamenes språk" [Found the secrets in the language of the Lule Sami]. Forskning (in Norwegian).
- "To which languages does the Charter apply?". European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Council of Europe. p. 3. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
- Andersen, Oddmund (6 February 2023) [14 February 2009]. "lulesamer" [Lule Sámis]. Great Norwegian Encyclopedia.
- Sammallahti, Pekka (1998). The Saami Languages: An Introduction. Kárášjohka: Davvi Girji.
- Grundström, Harald: Lulelappisches Wörterbuch
- Kintel, Anders 1991: Syntaks og ordavledninger i lulesamisk. Kautokeino : Samisk utdanningsråd.
- Spiik, Nils-Erik 1989: Lulesamisk grammatik. Jokkmokk: Sameskolstyrelsen. ISBN 91-7716-019-3
- Wiklund, K.B. 1890: Lule-lappisches Wörterbuch. Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilaisen seuran toimituksia ; 1
- The Children's TV series Binnabánnaš in Lule Sámi
- Sámásta Lule Sámi lessons and resources (in Swedish)
- Morphological analyzer for Lule Sámi
- Language generator for Lule Sámi
- Lule Sámi grammar in Norwegian(Currently only covers pronouns).
- Ådå Testamennta The New Testament in Lule Sámi (PDF)
- Giehttjit áddjá goaden audiobook in Lule Sámi