“I Really Want to Save Our Language”: Facing the Challenge of Revitalising and Maintaining Southern Sami Language through Schooling

  •  Kitt Lyngsnes    


This article is based on a study of Southern Sami language learning in Norway. There are around 600-1000 Southern Sami living widely dispersed over a large territorial area in Norway. As an indigenous people, they have a right to instruction in their own language. The Southern Sami language however is in danger of extinction. The purpose of this article is to explore how Southern Sami language learning is organised and implemented in school and, whether this training contributes to revitalising and maintaining the language. Data is collected in the contexts of the main Southern Sami language learning schools through qualitative interviews with pupils, teachers, headmasters, and parents. A sociocultural theoretical framework is used to analyse the data. The findings show that Southern Sami language learning in school offers very limited access to a Southern Sami language community due to the small number of pupils and teachers, lack of learning materials and most importantly the overall lack of language arenas for Southern Sami language. Another finding was that enthusiasm and motivation for learning and saving the language was very extensive.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.