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Unlock the secrets of Saami language: A guide for university students


Have you ever wanted to learn the secrets of Saami language? Are you a university student interested in understanding the culture and language of one of the oldest languages in Northern Europe? 

Saami has a unique and fascinating history that is both challenging and rewarding to study. It is a Uralic language, spoken by the Sámi people living in parts of Northern Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. With nine different versions of Saami spoken today, knowing the secret history and learning how to understand this ancient language can be a rewarding learning experience for anyone interested in exploring new cultures. 

In this guide, we will provide an introduction to Saami language for university students. We will discuss its origins, common phrases and words, pronunciation tips, and other topics that are essential for understanding this historic language. 

Overview of Saami language 

As a University student, learning Saami language can open up a whole new world for you. With its deep and complex history and culture, learning it can provide an invaluable insight into the lives of the Saami people. 

Saami is an Uralic language family whose components are spoken in Northern Europe. There are nine living Saami languages, with Northern Saami being the largest. All varieties share a common origin and have many similarities, but also differ in some respects. The Saami languages are written with either the Latin or Cyrillic alphabets and have seen significant changes over time due to contact with other languages and cultures. 

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the language, it can be broken down into five main dialects: South Saami, Umeå-Luleå Saami, Piteå-Kvenish Saami, Inari-Skolt Saami, and North Saami. Learning to speak any of these dialects will give you a unique view into the lives of the Saami people as well as provide an opportunity to experience their culture first hand. 

Studying Saami languages at the university level

Studying a Saami language is an exciting challenge that can open a whole new world of knowledge and understanding. At the university level, there are several ways to get started.

First, look for language classes. Many universities offer courses in Sámi languages at undergraduate and even graduate levels. These courses provide a comprehensive introduction to the language, its grammar and structure, as well as cultural context.

Second, consider taking a Saami Studies class or seminar. These classes provide an opportunity to explore the culture and history of the Sámi people more broadly, as well as understanding how their language functions within that framework.

Third, if you’re looking for more self-directed learning opportunities, look for online resources like textbooks and websites with lessons and exercises in Saami languages. There are also online forums for Saami language learners who can provide additional support and motivation.

Finally, try immersing yourself in the culture by visiting areas where the Sámi people live or gathering with native speakers to practice speaking and comprehension skills in real time. With dedication and commitment of time, you’ll soon be unlocking the secrets of this unique language!

The benefits of learning Saami

When you learn to speak the Saami language, you don’t just learn a language—you open up a cultural connection to an indigenous people with an incredibly rich heritage. With a greater understanding of the different dialects and cultural nuances in the Saami language, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the history, struggles, and values of this ancient community.

Learning Saami can also give you a concrete way to leverage your education and prior experience in linguistics or anthropology. The Saami languages are thousands of years old and highly complex, with many dialects and sub-dialects. By mastering these languages, you may be able to pursue positions related to culture preservation or use your expertise to serve in the public sector.

In addition to these tangible benefits, learning Saami will also give you access to wisdom that is not easily found outside of its native environment. From traditional folklore tales to in-depth discussions on survival strategies used by their ancestors, learning Saami will give you an invaluable gateway into an often overlooked perspective on life.

Resources for learning Saami languages

As more and more universities are offering courses on Saami language, the resources for learning Saami languages are also increasing. It is indeed possible for university students to learn the language on an academic level, and here are just a few of the options available:

Online courses

Many universities offer Saami language courses online, making it easier than ever before to learn the language from the comfort of your home. With individualized guidance, dedicated instructors and interactive lessons, these courses provide a comprehensive education tailored to each student's needs.

Language immersion programs

Language immersion programs are an immersive experience that allow university students to interact with the local culture and people in their community. This can include living with a family who speaks Saami, attending classes at a local school or university, or participating in country tours or volunteer programs. The goal of these programs is to expand understanding and develop fluency in Saami language.

Digital resources

There are also plenty of digital resources available that can help university students learn Saami languages. These include music streaming services like Spotify that have playlists dedicated to Saami folk music, YouTube channels dedicated to lessons on Sámi grammar instruction and pronunciation guides, as well as audio-video resources such as documentaries or interviews with native speakers.

With all these amazing resources available, there's never been a better time for university students to start learning the beautiful and fascinating Sámi languages!

Understanding the Sápmi region and culture

Among the reasons why Saami is a difficult language to master is its close relation to the Sápmi Region and Culture. This region, which spans across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and part of Russia, has been home to the Sami people for millennia. As such, their language is deeply embedded in their culture and everyday life - both past and present.

Without a deep understanding of their history, customs, values and beliefs, it is hard to grasp the full meaning of Saami expressions. This does not mean that one should become an expert on Sápmi culture in order to learn the language; on the contrary, the more one learns about this region and its people’s ways of life, the better they can understand Saami expressions in context.

Learning about what shapes Saami language will help you break through cultural barriers:

Geography: Learn about where and how Sápmi countries differ from each other.

Politics: Shine a light on how politics affect the area and how language politics play into it.

Indigenous Peoples: Understand how indigenous cultures shape the Saami way of life.

Religion: Discover traditional religious practices that may influence their language use.

Tips and strategies for learning Saami languages

Learning the Saami language will require time and effort, but the payoff can be great. As a university student, you have access to resources that many people don't – not to mention you have the motivation of a grade to work towards! Here are some tips to get you started:

Learning resources

Take advantage of your university's library and make use of their resources – you'll find a wealth of information about Saami culture and language. Books, videos, audio recordings, articles and more can all be used in your quest for knowledge.

Find a conversation partner

It's almost impossible to learn how to speak a language without proper guidance - so find yourself a conversation partner! Reach out in chat forums or look among students at your university who might share your desire to learn the Saami language. You'll be able to practice with each other while learning more about the language and its nuances.

Listen and repeat

Saami is an oral language as well as an art form. Spend time listening to recordings of speakers conversing in Saami so you can familiarize yourself with both the words and their pronunciation. Then try repeating what they say - it's an amazing way of picking up new words quickly and making sure they stick!

Learning northern Saami (Davvin)

If you’re looking to learn Saami on an academic level, then Davvin should be your first stop. It is the most widely spoken of the Saami languages, with over 60,000 speakers worldwide. But don’t let its relative popularity discourage you – Davvin is spoken in some of the planet's most remote and rugged regions.

Learning Davvin can be a rewarding experience for any university student looking to expand their cultural horizons, as it gives them access to a unique culture that has been around for many centuries. Here are just a few of the benefits of learning this ancient language:

Improved cognitive abilities: As you learn more about Davvin, your brain will start to recognize patterns and make associations which will benefit your thinking in other areas as well.

Deeper understanding of Saami culture: Learning Davvin gives you an insight into one of Europe's oldest and most unique cultures. By understanding their language and customs, you’ll gain invaluable knowledge that can help you better understand this ancient people.

Sense of achievement: Learning new skills can be daunting task, but mastering Davvin will give you a sense accomplishment that few others can match!

With these benefits in mind, start your journey towards mastering Davvin today!


Unlocking the secrets of the Saami language can be a challenging but rewarding experience. For university students, the study of this ancient language offers insight into a unique culture and language, and provides an opportunity to better understand the Sami peoples of northern Europe. By familiarizing yourself with the grammar, vocabulary and dialects of the Saami, you will be well on your way to speaking a fascinating language and to better appreciate the Sámi culture and its history.

Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino 2023-02-19

By Roger K. Olsson

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