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Lule Sami language

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Title: Lule Sami language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sami languages, Sami people, Sami Parliament of Norway, Southern Sami language, Inari Sami language
Collection: Languages of Norway, Languages of Sweden, Lule Sami Language, Sami in Norway, Sami in Sweden, Sami Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lule Sami language

Lule Sami
Region Norway and Sweden
Native speakers
1,000–2,000  (2007)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Norway; Sweden[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-2 smj
ISO 639-3 smj
Glottolog lule1254[3]
Lule Sami is 4 on this map

Lule Sami (julevsámegiella) is a Uralic, Sami language spoken in Lule Lappmark, i.e., around the Lule River, Sweden and in the northern parts of Nordland county in Norway, especially Tysfjord municipality, where Lule Sami is an official language. It is written in the Latin script, having an official alphabet.


  • Status 1
  • Grammar 2
    • Cases 2.1
      • Nominative 2.1.1
      • Genitive 2.1.2
      • Accusative 2.1.3
      • Inessive 2.1.4
      • Illative 2.1.5
      • Elative 2.1.6
      • Comitative 2.1.7
    • Pronouns 2.2
    • Verbs 2.3
      • Person 2.3.1
      • Mood 2.3.2
      • Grammatical number 2.3.3
      • Tense 2.3.4
      • Verbal nouns 2.3.5
      • Negative verb 2.3.6
  • Phonology 3
    • Stress 3.1
  • Writing system 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


With 1,500 to 2,000 speakers it is the second largest of all Sami languages. It is reported that the number of native speakers is in sharp decline among the younger generations. The language has, however, been standardised in 1983 and elaborately cultivated ever since.



Lule Sámi has seven cases:


Like the other Uralic languages, the nominative singular is unmarked and indicates the subject of a predicate. The nominative plural is also unmarked and is always formally the same as the genitive singular.


The genitive singular is unmarked and looks the same as the nominative plural. The genitive plural is marked by an -j. The genitive is used:

  • to indicate possession
  • with prepositions
  • with postpositions.


The accusative is the direct object case and it is marked with -v in the singular. In the plural, its marker is -t, which is preceded by the plural marker -j.


The inessive marker is -n in the singular and the plural, when it is then preceded by the plural marker -j. This case is used to indicate:

  • where something is
  • who has possession of something


The illative marker is -j in the singular and -da in the plural, which is preceded by the plural marker -i, making it look the same as the plural accusative. This case is used to indicate:

  • where something is going
  • who is receiving something
  • the indirect object


The elative marker is -s in the singular and the plural, when it is then preceded by the plural marker -j. This case is used to indicate:

  • where something is coming from


The comitative marker in the singular is -jn and -j in the plural, which means that it looks like the genitive plural. The comitative is used to state with whom or what something was done.


The personal pronouns have three numbers - singular, plural and dual. The following table contains personal pronouns in the nominative and genitive/accusative cases.

  English nominative English genitive
First person (singular) I mån my muv
Second person (singular) you (thou) dån your, yours duv
Third person (singular) he, she sån his, her suv
First person (dual) we (two) måj our munnu
Second person (dual) you (two) dåj your dunnu
Third person (dual) they (two) såj theirs sunnu
First person (plural) we mij our mijá
Second person (plural) you dij your dijá
Third person (plural) they sij their sijá

The next table demonstrates the declension of a personal pronoun he/she (no gender distinction) in various cases:

  Singular Dual Plural
Nominative sån såj sij
Genitive suv sunnu sijá
Accusative suv sunnuv sijáv
Inessive sujna sunnun siján
Illative sunji sunnuj sidjij
Elative sujsta sunnus sijás
Comitative sujna sunnujn sijájn



Lule Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical persons:

  • first person
  • second person
  • third person


Lule Sami has 4 grammatical moods:

Grammatical number

Lule Sami verbs conjugate for three grammatical numbers:


Lule Sami verbs has two simple tenses:

and 2 compound tenses:

Verbal nouns

Negative verb

Lule Sami, like Finnish, the other Sámi languages and Estonian, has a negative verb. In Lule Sami, the negative verb conjugates according to tense (past and non-past), mood (indicative and imperative), person (1st, 2nd and 3rd) and number (singular, dual and plural).



Writing system

The orthography used for Lule Sámi is written using an extended form of the Latin script. There are few special characters: á (a-acute), ń (n-acute), and å (a-ring). Traditionally, the character n-acute (Ń/ń) has been used to represent the [ŋ] sound found for example in the English word "song". In place of n-acute (found in Unicode, but not in Latin-1 or traditional Nordic keyboards), many have used ñ or even ng. In modern orthography, such as in the official publications of the Swedish government and the recently published translation of the New Testament, it is usually replaced with ŋ, in accordance with the orthography of many other Sami languages.


  1. ^ Lule Sami at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ "To which languages does the Charter apply?". European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Council of Europe. p. 3. Retrieved 2014-04-03. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lule Sami". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Spiik, Nils-Erik: Lulesamisk grammatik
  • Grundström, Harald: Lulesamisches Wörterbuch
  • Kintel, Anders 1991: Syntaks og ordavledninger i lulesamisk. Kautokeino : Samisk utdanningsråd.
  • Wiklund, K.B. 1890: Lule-lappisches Wörterbuch. Helsinki: Suomalais-ugrilaisen seuran toimituksia ; 1

External links

  • Sámásta Lule Sami lessons and resources (in Swedish)
  • Morphological analyzer for Lule Sámi
  • Language generator for Lule Sámi
  • Lule Sámi grammar in Norwegian(Currently only covers pronouns).
  • Ådå Testamennta The New Testament in Lule Sámi (PDF)
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