Foto. Patrik Trädgårdh
Photo: Patrik Trädgårdh

Language and Legislation

­The Sami language is an official minority language in Sweden - since the year 2000 when a Minority Language Act was passed for the first time, which was already the case in Finland and Norway. In 2010 a new Act on National Minorities and their languages entered into force in Sweden.

The Minority Languages Act entitles Sami people to use Sami in their contacts with the authorities and courts within the so called "Sami administration area". This area covers 19 municipalities in the north of Sweden: Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog, Berg, Dorotea, Härjedalen, Krokom, Lycksele, Malå, Sorsele, Storuman, Strömsund, Umeå, Vilhelmina, Åre, Älvdalen och Östersund.

An official recognition of a national minority language strengthens the status of the language and motivates its speakers to use the language and convey it to future generations. It gives people new possibilities to revitalise the language and take it back. The new act also gave the municpalities funding to promote the language.

Sweden has ratified the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. Read more

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