Ter Sámi language Redirected from Ter Sami

  (Redirected from Ter Sámi language)
Ter Sami
saa´mekiil / са̄мькӣлл
Native toRussia
Native speakers
2 (2010)[1]
Latin script (historical), Cyrillic script (current) [2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sjt
ELPTer Saami
Sami languages large.png
Ter Sámi is number 9 on the map.

Ter Sami is the easternmost of the Sámi languages. It was traditionally spoken in the northeastern part of the Kola Peninsula, but now it is a moribund language; in 2004, only ten speakers were left. By 2010, the number of speakers had decreased to two.[1]

Sámi dialects and settlements in Russia:


Zoya Gerasimova (left), one of the last speakers of Ter Sámi.
Photo taken in 2006.

In the end of the 19th century, there were six Ter Sámi villages in the eastern part of the Kola Peninsula, with a total population of approximately 450. In 2004, there were approximately 100 ethnic Ter Sámi of whom two elderly persons speak the language; the rest have shifted their language to Russian.[3]

The rapid decline in the number of speakers was caused by Soviet collectivisation, during which its use was prohibited in schools and homes[citation needed] in the 1930s, and the largest Ter Sámi village, Yokanga, was declared "perspectiveless" and its inhabitants were forced to move to the Gremikha military base.[3]



Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k ɡ
Affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ x h
Nasal m n̥ n ŋ
l̥ l
Trill r̥ r
  • All consonants except for /j/ may be palatalized [ʲ].
  • Consonants /t, d/ can also sound as half-palatalized.


Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close i ɨ ɨː u
Mid ɛ o
Open a ɔ
  • After palatalized consonants, /ɛ/ is realized as [e].[4]


There are no educational materials or facilities in Ter Sámi, and the language has no standardized orthography. The language is incompletely studied and documented; text specimens, audio recordings as well as dictionaries for linguistic purposes exist,[5][6]

The earliest known documentation of Sámi languages is a short Ter Sámi vocabulary collected by the British explorer Stephen Burrough in 1557; the vocabulary was published by Richard Hakluyt.[7]

Writing system

A spelling system for Ter Sámi using the Latin alphabet and based on Skolt Sámi was developed in the 1930s. After the Second World War, this was replaced by a system using the Cyrillic alphabet and based on Kildin Sámi.[8]

Example of words in Ter saami[9]

выэййвэ = head

ныкчым = tongue

кидт = hand

лоннҍт = bird

чадце = water

ке̄ддҍкэ = stone

аббьрэ = rain

толл = fire


Ter saami has 8 cases, Nominative, Genetive, Accusative, Essive, Inessive-Lative, Dative-Illative, Abessive and Cominative.

case singular plural
Nom - change of the main part of word
Gen change of the main part of word change of the main part of word
Acc change of the main part of word t
Essive n n
Inessive s't n
Dative a, i t
Abessive ta ta
Cominative n k'em, g'em

Examples of the Genetive

(in the UPA script)

abre' paл = raining cloud

pɛci̮ pal'čemi̮š = slaughter of deer

taja oлmi̮j = German inhabitant

tara parnɛ = Russian boys


In the Nominative case the base word changes when a plural is made.

Word Meaning Plural Meaning
mi̮rr forest mi̮r forests
k'iлл language k'iл languages
šiɛn'n' swamp šiɛn' swamps
tast star taast stars

The word "ku", meaning: who, which in the cases.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative ku kogg
Genetive konn kojt
Accusative konn kojt
Essive kon'n'in kojn
Inessive kon'n'es't kojn
Dative kon'n'i kojt
Abessive konta kojta
Cominative kon'in kojgujm


  1. ^ a b Sámi Languages Disappearing Barents Observer
  2. ^ "Ter Sámi alphabet, pronunciation and language". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Tiuraniemi Olli: "Anatoli Zaharov on maapallon ainoa turjansaamea puhuva mies", Kide 6 / 2004.
  4. ^ Tereškin, Sergej N. (2002). Jokan'gskij dialekt Saamskogo Jazyka. Sankt Petersburg: Rossijskij Gosudarstvennyj pedagogičeskij Universitet imeni.
  5. ^ Itkonen T. I.: "Koltan- ja kuolanlapin sanakirja", Helsinki: Société Finno-Ougrienne, 1958.
  6. ^ Itkonen T. I.: "Koltan- ja kuolanlappalaisia satuja", 1931.Memoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 60
  7. ^ Aikio Samuli: "Olbmot ovdal min - Sámiid historjá 1700-logu rádjái". Girjegiisá: Kárášjohka, 1992.
  8. ^ "Ter Sami alphabet, pronunciation and language". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Tersamisk - Allkunne". www.allkunne.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  10. ^ Tereškin, Sergej (2002). . Йоганьгский диалект саамского языка. Saint Petersburg.

External links

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