Talk:Skolt Sami language

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Etymology and Eastern Sámi vs. Skolt Sámi[edit]

If anyone knows the etymology of 'Skolt' in 'Skolt Sami', please add it to the article or write something about it here.

The word Skolt is derived from the Swedish (or Norwegian) word skalle ’skull’. Many Skolt Sami people used to have no hair probably because of a skin desease. --Hippophaë 01:27, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

The word "skolt" is probably derived from Skandinavian "skalle"(skull). The story about no hair because of skin disease etc, is probably a myth. If it was true, why can we read only about easter-sami men in reports from the area in the 18th and 19th century?, no women withoout hair. A myth probably created by Norwegians and/or Finns when they outnumbered the Eastern-Samis in their own areas, which of course lead to conflicts, if not a myth its probably the following explanation: The Eastern-Sami men cut their hair to make it look like they had a desease. This was to avoid being forced to join the russian army, as the Eastern-Sami area was Norwegian/Russian up to 1826. With their nomadic way of life, several young men being taken away to the army would of course be a huge problem for the eastern-Samis.

As might be noticed i have called the groups Esatern-Sami, which is the correct name for both group and language. Skolt is an old name which several Eastern-Sami think of as a negative name and a name placed on them by the oppressors during the assimilation periods through the 19th and 20th century. The Eastern-Samis own name on themselves also means "the eastern people"

I beg to differ, what name are you using to refer to "Eastern Sámi" in Skolt Sámi? Sää'mm or sä'mmlaž are the words used by the Skolt to refer to themselves; nuõrti means east. I think you are confusing what the speakers of Northern Sámi use to refer to the Skolt (nuortalaš) with what they call themselves. I have never in my life heard Skolt call themselves nuõrttsää'mm. This also seems to be the predominant way of referring to oneself amongst all of the Sámi: each group refers to themselves as being "sámi" and then provides other names for the other groups. -Yupik 21:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes you are right i mixed there, anyway the point is still the same:The Eastern-Samis (all i know of at least, which are quite a few) prefer to be called Eastern-Sami, not Skolt, as they feel Skolt is a negative word. When they do so them selves the rest of us should respect that. but maybe this differs between Eastern-Samis in different countries? It is also natural that the Eastern-Sami want to add Eastern when translating their name as it would otherwise not say anything about what Sami group they are.

Two things should be noted here. First, one can't just change established ethnonyms at a whim; the fact remains that Skolt Sami is the only commonly known name for this Sami people and their language. Second, it would be just confusing and incorrect to use the term Eastern Sami instead of Skolt Sami, because this is an already established term with a different meaning. While the Skolt Sami people are Eastern Sami, so are the Kildin Sami and the few remaining Ter Sami on the Kola Peninsula as well. So one cannot just equate Skolt Sami with Eastern Sami. --AAikio 06:40, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

To the above reply: You say that Skolt Sami is the o n l y commonly known name for this group. This is simply not true, I have a feeling you refer to the only commonly known name of this group in Finland. In Norway, you might like to know, the commonly and official name is Eastern Sami (The old name was Skolt, but it has been removed as the Eastern Samis them selves dont want to be called that as they think the names bears much negativeness with it, that is what should be respected when it comes to name policy. To make comparissons we no longer call the native population on Greenland Eskimos, we call them Inuits and we no longer call samis lapps. The fact that you point out Eastern Samis as confusing since it also includes Ter and Kildin makes me even more cirtain the "only commonly known names" you refer to is Finish naming policy as they are in for example Norway called Ter Kildin and Eastern samis and have no name "together"

This is an English-langauge Wikipedia and there is no tradition whatsoever of calling the Skolt Sami "Eastern Sami" or anything similar in English. Moreover, "Eastern Sami" is already an established linguistic term referring to a subgroup of Sami languages, including Inari, Skolt, Kildin and Ter Sami, as well as extinct Akkala Sami. (Note that I never said it was an ethnonym - I suppose that this is what you are referring to by saying that "they are in for example Norway called Ter Kildin and Eastern samis and have no name "together""). Using the term "Eastern Sami" instead of "Skolt Sami" would contradict the established terminology and only create confusion. --AAikio 10:11, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Is Skolt Sámi called "Eastern Sámi" in parts of Norway where there would be no interference from Northern Sámi, which does refer to Skolt as "Eastern Sámi". But as Ante said above, this is an English-language wikipedia and as such, has no bearing on the subject on this wikipedia as the Skolt do not refer to themselves as nuõrttsää'mm, i.e., "eastern sami". -Yupik 07:07, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Skolt sami isnt called Eastern Sami in parts of Norway, it is the official name of this group in Norway, and it is also the name they use about them selves in Norwegian. What confusion a change of names would make would not be greater than it has been for other groups of idigneous peoples whos been renamed. It probably created some problems for some when it became normal to call samis samis and not laps.... i understand that they are called skolts here, as it is a english wiki, anyway i wanted to raise this discussion because once again at least the majority of the norwegian eastern-samis dont want to be called skolt. What the Finish and Russian eastern-samis want or do not want to be called i do not know.

Nuortalazzak is the Eastern Samis own name, meaning the eastern people

In the hope that this talk isn't all closed yet:

Could Skolt/Kolt and Kildin have something to do with Balto-Slavic Kol (sun) that gave (or so I've read) it's name to the Kola peninsula? Or could it be related to the word for language --Karen.mulders (talk) 13:40, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Extinct in Norway?[edit]

A question about classifying extinct and nearly extinct: when is the language extinct? I think nearly extinct is a better therm on the situation in Norway than extinct.

To my knowledge, today in Njauddâm (on the Norwegian side) there is at least one speaker living who moved there from Čeve´tjäu´rr. Michael.riessler (talk) 16:45, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Number of Skolt Saami speakers in Russia[edit]

I have deleted the following from the article: "According to Roger Took, author of several books focusing on the Sami, there are about 1,000 remaining native speakers of Skolt Sami in Russia."

I have not read Took's book, but this claim of 1,000 speakers is pure fantasy. All experts agree that Skolt Saami is on the verge of extinction in Russia, even though no exact statistics are available. Even Kildin Saami, the largest Saami language on the Russian si de, was estimated to habe less than 700 speakers in the mid-1990s.

In 1993, Tapani Salminen wrote a report on the status of Skolt Sámi (and other languages) where he stated:

Present state of the language: SERIOUSLY ENDANGERED [in Finland; NEARLY EXTINCT in the Russian Federation; EXTINCT in Norway]

(The category NEARLY EXTINCT refers to languages that have only dozens of speakers, all of which are elderly.)

As the situation has not improved in the last 13 years, I also have to agree that Took's figure is farfetched.

-Yupik 21:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

P.S. Please sign your comments as it is rather annoying to try and figure out where one stops and the next one starts. Spä'sseb!

Thanks for the comment; Tapani Salminen's data was one source I was relying on. Sorry about the missing signature; I'm a new user still learning to edit Wikipedia so I could still easily forget something like that...
As for the article, I'm also planning to improve the section on phonology by adding a table of diphthongs and consonant phonemes. Also the discussion on the "softening mark" should be corrected: this softening is not a feature of the vowel phoneme itself, so in my opinion softened/fronted variants of vowels should be deleted from the vowel paradigm. Instead, softening is a suprasegmental feature that cannot be assigned as a property of individual segments. The softening suprasegmental always has three distinct effects: slight fronting of the stressed vowel, slight palatalization of the following consonant(s), and the addition of an overshort and weakly voiced e-type epenthetic vowel after the consonant(s).--AAikio 08:00, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Beautiful! I would really appreciate you fixing the phonology section as that was next on my plans of things to do!

-Yupik 13:11, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to bring up what I consider an important issue for writing about Skolt Sámi in Wikipedia: the standard font doesn't work and I know more than one person that has turned away in disgust because they don't know what font to use to see Skolt properly (instead of seeing little boxes). On most pages, I've forced Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Everson Mono Unicode (and Helvetica as a last resort) to be used by using font tags. Issue was taken with this on the Nynorsk page though. Can we reach a consensus as to how we should be writing Skolt in Wikipedia?

-Yupik 13:11, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

It's good that this was brought up - in fact the reason why I didn't fix the phonology section outright is that I didn't know how I should handle the font issue. I'm not sure what would be the optimal solution; there's hardly a perfect one and someone will probably find a problem with it in any case regardless of how it's done. --AAikio 13:53, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

You need a browser that fully supports Unicode and an appropriate font, e.g. Arial Unicode MS or Code2000. Please do not use FONT tags, because they override the default font in the browser. Instead you should use the Unicode template to properly view Skolt Sami text in browsers which have problems with Unicode. --Hippophaë 19:02, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
We have no problems whatsoever on Nynorsk Wikipedia. Could you please have a look at our solution? If you cannot read those characters, you need to install additional fonts on your computer. Trondtr 18:59, 17 June 2006 (UTC).
It's really strange, as I do have Everson, etc. installed on my computer, yet the names still do not show properly if the Unicode template is used. This, however, brings another problem to light, namely, how can we expect people who know nothing of these fonts that do work to figure it out? We also cannot expect people to download an entirely different browser for their system if their browser doesn't support Unicode fully; the majority of users are going to be using whatever browser (e.g., IE) that was bundled with their computer software when they bought the computer. Perhaps this need for a different browser/fonts should be mentioned on the pages in question? -Yupik 08:18, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I think you should discuss the problem on the talk page of the Unicode template. There should be no need to download a different browser in order to properly view all characters. Instead the template should be corrected, if it does not support Skolt Sami letters yet. --Hippophaë 18:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

By the way, I haven't been following the discussions too closely, but wasn't there talk of switching from templates to css for unicode, ipa, etc? -Yupik 08:27, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I usally use a mac with enough fonts installed so that I casn see what I want, and I always write Unicode directly (no &ddd;. Sitting on another machine at the moment, a non-modified MS Windows machine with IE something, it again seems fine (g-caron is a box in the source code, but ok on the page itself). The only problem I can see is that some users don't have large enough fonts, and no encoding tweak will alter that. The only alternative is a picture, but that is a dead end, we cannot write with pictures. But a warning on top, ok. Trondtr 09:31, 18 June 2006 (UTC).
The letters are correctly shown without font tags, but as boxes with the font tags, although I have Everson fonts. I comment out the font tag, supporting Yupik and Hippophaë. People with other browsers than I have (Safari, Mac) can then report what they see. Specifying fonts should not be the way of doing things in the Unicode era. Trondtr 16:12, 4 November 2006 (UTC)


When I was creating the article on Tiina Sanila, I noticed that the English Wikipedia doesn't have any page for the Skolts themselves. This page should be created and probably a disambuigation page, too.

-Yupik 13:51, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Skolt grammar[edit]

Thanks to Yupik for adding a section on grammar, this is a great addition. I did a minor correction by changing the morphological type to synthetic instead of agglutinative. It seems problematic to characterize Skolt as agglutinative because there is such a high degree of fusion, heavy root alteration and many portmanteau suffixes. This would appear to contradict the description in the article agglutinative language: "each affix typically represents one unit of meaning... and bound morphemes are expressed by affixes (and not by internal changes of the root of the word, or changes in stress or tone)".

I also wonder whether it is right to characterize the partitive case as "unproductive" - isn't it fully productive in numeral constructions, as well as with certain postpositions? --AAikio 10:29, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Good, good! Thank you and sorry about that, how embarassing! -Yupik 20:42, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Partitive -d[edit]

In reference to AAikio's noteworthy comment about the partitive, I thought to change the text to the following:

The partitive is only used in the singular and can always be replaced by the genitive.

1. It appears after numbers larger than 6:

  • kääu´c čââustõkkâd eight lassos

This can be replaced with kää'uc čââustõõǥǥ.

2. It is also used with certain postpositions:

  • vuâstta against
  • ?

3. It can be used with the comparative to express that which is being compared:

  • ?

The dual form of the essive is still used with pronouns, but not with nouns and does not appear at all in the plural.

-Yupik 21:04, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

This looks like a good edit. Moreover, now that I think of it, it seems possible to characterize the partitive somewhat "unproductive" after all - or perhaps "marginal" would be a better wording. I checked all words ending in -Vd in a 68-page corpus of Skolt texts and found only a minimal number of partitive forms. E.g. there was one instance of partitive + mie´ldd 'along, according to', but numerous examples of the same postposition with the genitive case.
As for the essive, shouldn't one say rather that "the essive form is used of dual pronouns but not of plural pronouns", or the like? It would seem better to consider suännän just the essive of suäna and not an essive dual - the latter solution would imply suäna and son are members of the same paradigm.--AAikio 08:14, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
I took a look at Pââibužškooul sää'mǩiõll: mätt'tõõttâmǩe'rjj yesterday and on p. 11 it says: Genetiivimuotoa käytetään myös postpositioiden yhteydessä. Esim. jooǥǥ rââst = joen poikki and then gives other examples in the exercises. Rather an interesting issue this! -Yupik 11:00, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Instrumental -l[edit]

What about mention of this case? It is totally unproductive (-l) and is usually replaced by the comitative nowadays.

-Yupik 21:04, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps this should be called a derivational suffix rather than a case? I'm not sure that it has ever even been fully productive.--AAikio 08:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Skolt Sami Grammar page?[edit]

The more this page is filled out, I'm thinking it might be a better idea to make the grammar section a separate entry of its own, like there is for Finnish. Any thoughts on the matter?

-Yupik 11:17, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

I think this would be a good idea; the article may be getting too long. The same could be done with some orher Sami language articles as well. --AAikio 07:00, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


Removed text:

As a historic note, this region was hit hard by the first of the great famines of the 19th Century, which happened about 1913. This resulted in many people moved out of this area to North America or farther south to parts of Fennoscandia.
For those interested in doing Sami-American genealogical research, check York county, Pennsylvania as five Sami settlements were established there in the 17th Century. Many Skolt Sami fled there to escape the famine mentioned above.

The dates (1800's, 1913, 1600's) don't match. I don't question that the region was occasionally hit by famines, but the lack of coherence in this piece of text makes it substandard. This raises doubts about verifiability, especially when no references are provided. --Vuo 10:57, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Good, good! That comment about Pennsylvania has always struck me as strange, but I never really thought about the dates. -Yupik 06:35, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Another point when mentioniing the famines of the 19th century, was that it's doubtfull if it struck the Sami population very hard, it struck the finish population, which lead to the Kveenin settlements(mainly coastal) in North-Norway. If it struck the Sami population this should have involved resettlements from inland to coast as well, which hasnt been the case.
As another historic note its a weakness to the article that it, in the history chapter, only mention the settlements in Finland. As an example Pasvik and Neiden in Norway isn't mentioned here. Neiden in particular is important as it is one of the oldest settlements and the site of one of the holiest places (or maybe the most holy place) of the Eastern-Samis; Sait Georg's Chapel, built in the 16th century by St. Trifon.


When was the current alphabet adopted? --Alivemajor 10:40, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

SOV or SVO[edit]

The page on Southern Sami language states, that Southern Sami "like Skolt Sami but unlike other Sami languages is a SOV language", however all the examples given in this article show what do me appears to be a SVO structure. Is the Southern Sami page then correct? Would be nice to hear more. Mulder1982 (talk) 04:39, 25 August 2013 (UTC)