Is learning a language on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Why not break away from the usual suspects and learn an endangered language instead?
Ume Sami is one of many Sami languages spoken by the indigenous people of northern . Today however it listed by Unesco as “critically endangered” and has less than 50 speakers.
The last speakers are to digitally document their mother tongue and to create a learning resource to encourage more people to learn the language.
Here’s a few of the videos they have recorded so far. Why not try and teach yourself a few key phrases?
- “Good day”
Or “buörrie beäjvvie” in Ume Sami. Not a bad place to start in any language.
If you are in northern Sweden where Ume Sami is spoken, then this word is going to be useful. Reindeer herding is one of the traditional livelihoods of the Sami people, although today only around 2,500 are still doing this type of work today. The word in Ume Sami is “bodsu”.
3. “I am hungry”
Reindeer is also a popular dish in northern Sweden, so having “månna leäb njeälgguominne” or “I am hungry” might be the natural next step in your expanding vocabulary.
4. “This is my fox”
Admittedly it is unlikely, but if you do find yourself in a situation when you need to say “this is my fox” then the phrase is “dahta leä muv riebiej” in Ume Sami.
5. Different types of snow
In Ume Sami there are at least 100 known words to describe snow, how it acts, and even how it may act in the future.
Here reindeer herder Anders Ruth shares two examples in Ume Sami. “Dievve” means soft snow and “skietje” describes hard, crystalline snow.