Endangered Languages, Sociolinguistics

Sami language on Swedish state television

Swedes are often quick to judge Americans and Australians for the way the indigenous cultures and languages are disappearing – but we often forget how we have treated the Sami. “Sami” is an official Swedish minority language nowadays – though “Sami” is a common term for several smaller, quite independent language varieties. The Sami language(s) is a Finno-Ugric language – this means that it is very different from almost all other languages spoken in Europe. But then again, the Finno-Ugric languages have lived in close contact with Indo-European languages for a long time, and there has been lots of language contacts.

Both the Swedish and English wikipedia entries about Sami are quite good!

Swedish state television has a short segment about the fact that several courses in Sami is being presently taught in Sweden:

Here’s a good English speaking short segment (5 minutes) about the history of the Sami language: