Sami is actually several languages, within the Finno-Ugrian language strain, related to Finnish.  Sami is divided into three main languages – Eastern-, Central- and Southern Sami.  The language regions stretch from east to west, so we speak the same “language” across national borders, but have difficulty understanding each other south to north.

Far from all speak Sami today, but an increasing number try to recapture their language while others have always spoken Sami with family, relatives and friends.  From having been spoken mainly as a home-language, Sami is developing.  Today it is used in greater contexts. Sami has also gained official status through national language legislation giving Sami-speakers, within the Sami region, possibility to use their mother language in contacts with authorities and municipalities.

The language awakening is most apparent among young Sami who demand teaching in the Sami language and culture.  Together they contribute to the increased efforts for the language’s survival.

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