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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...



Possibly one of Europe’s longest surviving ethnic groups,
the Sámi people have come a long way as an historical-
ly opressed minority in four countries, are now asserting
themselves and are taking advantage of today’s oppor-
tunities. Results of DNA studies seem to indicate that
their ancestors were isolated for a very long time.

Language information: Sámi (also known as “Saami” or “Saame,” formerly “Lapp” or “Lappish”) is the indigenous language of the Sámi people. These days it is used by between 35,000 and 40,000 persons. Today’s area of Sámi language and culture spans much of the polar circle regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of the far northwest of the Russian Federation. In Norway and Sweden it extends to some regions farther south (Hedmark and Dalecarlia). It is believed that the Sámi area was much larger before Germanic, Slavonic, Finnish and Karelian spread.
      Sámi is a Uralic language group, is thus a relative of the Finnic, Ugric and Samoyedic languages (including Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian). It consists of three broad variety groups (or languages) with subdivisions, of which some have further dialectical divisions:

      Eastern Varieties [Nuortasápmelaš gielat]:
                  Akkala Sámi [Áhkkilsámegiella] (Russia)
                  Kildin Sámi [Gielddasámegiella] (Russia)
                  [Kemi Sámi (Finland)]
                  Ter Sámi [Darjjesámegiella] (Russia)
                  Inari Sámi* [Anarâškiellâ] (Finland)
                  Skolt Sámi* [Sä́äḿ̀kiõll] (Finland, Russia)
      Western Varieties [Oarjesápmelaš gielat]:
                  Pite Sámi [Biđonsámegiella] (Sweden)
                  Lule Sámi* [Julevsámegiella] (Norway, Sweden)
                  Northern Sámi* [Davvisámegiella] (Norway)
                  Southern Sámi [Lullisámegiella] (Sweden)
                  Ume Sámi [Ubmisámegiella] (Sweden)

(Those varieties marked with * above have written standards.)
      Being a minority language in four countries in which it is indigenous, as well as in overseas areas (especially in North America), the Sámi language has been struggling to survive. While some dialects are still struggling, the fate of the language as a whole appears to be improving lately, thanks to more enlightened attitudes on the part of Norway, Sweden and Finland and also thanks to increased Sámi awareness and activism. ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!The Sámi language is now officially recognized in Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is used in the media, including in radio and television, Sámi studies are offered at universities, and Sámi organizations variously promote Sámi development, assertion and participation. This has resulted in political Sámi representation and in increasing Sámi Internet presence. The situation of Sámi in Russia remains worrisome despite some Sámi reassertion attempts in that country. Due to the situation in that country, the Akkala (Akhkil, Babinsk), Skold and Ter Sámi varieties are now virtually extinct, and only a small number of speakers of Kildin Sámi remains. Other varieties that are severely endangered are Inari and Skolt Sámi (Finland) as well as Ume, Pite and Southern Sámi (Sweden). Kemi Sámi (Finland) has now been extinct for a good hundred years, and few written records from the 18th and 19th centuries remain of it.

Genealogy: Uralic > Finno-Ugric > Finno-Cheremisic > Finno-Mordvinic > Finno-Sápme > Sámi

    Click to open the translation: [Northern Sámi] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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