Skolt Saami

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Skolt Saami
Autoglottonym: Sääˊmǩiõll, Nuõrttsääˊmǩiõll
Pronunciation: []
Ethnologue name: Saami, Skolt
OLAC name: Skolt Sami
Location point:
Family: Uralic
Genus: Mainland Eastern Saamic
Country: Finland, Norway, Russian Federation
Official in: Finland (Inari)
Speakers: 300
Writing system: Latin (orthography)
ISO 639-2: sms {{{ISO2T}}}
ISO 639-3: sms

Skolt Saami is one of the five living Eastern Saamic languages.


The name skolt, and derived from it Finnish koltta, is likely borrowed from North-Germanic (Norwegian) skalle (cf. Old Norse skoltr, English skull) and means originally 'bald' (skallet in Norwegian).[1]


Skolt Saami is spoken in the borderland area between Russia, Norway and Finland.


There are estimated to be about 300 speakers,[2] with the vast majority of whom living in Finland. Only somewhat more than 20 Skolt Saami speakers live in Russia.[3] Although the traditional Skolt Saami dialect of Norway is extinct, the language is again spoken in its original areas there by a few Finnish Skolt Saami domiciled in Norway.[4]


Skolt-Saami can be split up into the following dialects:[5].

Northern Skolt Saami

  • Njauddâm
  • Paaččjokk – Peäccam – Mue´tǩǩ

Southern Skolt Saami

  • Suõ´nn’jel
  • Njuõ´ttjäu´rr – Sââ´rvesjäu´rr

The names of the dialects coincide with the names of the original Skolt Saami villages (or rather settlement areas, in Skolt Saami called sijdd), but note that a few of them are merged into two common dialects.


Eastern Saamic
Mainland Eastern Saamic


Major works on the language


  1. Steinar Wikan. 1995. Grensebygda Neiden. Stonglandseidet: Nordkallott-Forlaget ISBN 82-7380-176-4
  2. Ulla-Maija Kulonen. 2005. Skolt Saami language. The Saami. Helsinki: SKS. 396–397 ISBN 951-746-506-8
  3. Elisabeth Scheller. 2011. The Sámi language situation in Russia. Ethnic and linguistic context of identity. Helsinki: SUS. 79–96 ISBN 978-952-5667-28-8
  4. Michael Rießler, own observation
  5. Pekka Sammallahti. 1998. The Saami languages. Kárášjohka: Davvi Girji ISBN 82-7374-398-5

See also

Survey articles on Skolt Saami linguistic structures:

Language articles on the other Kola Saami languages

Other Languages