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Pite Saami language

Pite Saami is spoken by very few individuals in the Arjeplog community in the Swedish Norrbotten. Earlier the language was spoken also in the neighbouring regions in the Norwegian side. Some scholars prefer the name Arjeplog Saami because the biggest languge in the historical Pite Lappmark (in Sweden) was Ume Saami. Pite Saami consists of four main dialect groups, which are very near to each other. The neighbouring Saami language in the South is Ume Saami with very few speakers. In the northern side the neighbouring language is Lule Saami.

The most characteristic feature in the phonology of Pite Saami is the peculiarity in the vowel system: Pite Saami has both metaphony tendency or »Umlaut», as in (() South Saami, and vowel harmony. In the first tendency the second syllable vowel affects the vowel in the first syllable and in the latter tendency vice versa (the first syllable vowel affects the choice of the second syllable vowel). The vowel harmony in Pite Saami is, unlike e.g. Finnish, a labial harmony. A similar harmony type is found e.g. in Hungarian. Example on metaphony: al'pmie 'sky' - ilmij 'of the skies' (GenPl), tååjjiet 'to brake' - t5ujij 's/he broke'. The vowel harmony changes a > o after a first syllable labial vowel (å or åå). Characteristic for the consonant system in Pite Saami is the abundancy of possible consonantal clusters (over 180). The consonant gradation is typically quantitative: also in cases of qualitative gradation there is a difference in the quantity as well.

The grammatical endings have somewhat more archaistic forms than in North Saami, but they are less archaistic than the South Saami forms (for instance, the Accusative and Genitive are separate while they in NSaa have fallen into one and lost the original suffix; also the Inessive and Elative (Ablative) cases are separate due to better preserved sound structure). The Comitative case in Plural is lacking the characteristic secondary ending (North Saami -guin, South -guimie)

The noun in Pite Saami has 9 case endings (juolŽkie 'leg, foot'):

  Sg. Pl.  
Nominative juolˊkie juolkieh '(a / the) foot / feet'
Accusative juolkiev juolkijt 'foot / feet (as object)'
Genitive juolkie juolkij 'of the foot / feet'
Illative juolˊkaaj juolkijta 'into the foot / feet'
Inessive juolkien juolkijn 'in the foot / feet'
Elative (Ablative) juolkiest juolkijst 'off the foot / feet'
Comitative juolkijn(a) juolkij 'with the foot / feet'
Essive juolˊkien   'as (a) foot'
Abessive juolkietahk ~ juolkiehtaka   'without a foot / feet'

The possessive declension has all the above mentioned inflectional forms except abessive with all the 9 persons (1., 2., and 3. person Sg., Du., and Pl.). Example of nominative forms of the word ååˊppaa 'sister': ååpˊpaam 'my sister', ååpˊpaat 'your (Sg) sister', ååpˊpaas 'his/her sister', ååpˊpaamen 'our (2) sister', ååpˊpaaten 'your (2) sister', ååpˊpaaska 'their (2) sister', ååpˊpaameh 'our (Pl) sister', ååpˊpaateh 'your (Pl) sister', ååpˊpaaseh 'their (Pl) sister'. There are also separate series for singular vs. plural for the possessed, so that the nominative forms alone build a set of 18 different forms (for example 'my several sisters' ååpˊpaamah, 'our (2) several sisters' ååpˊpaanenieh, 'our (Pl) several sisters' ååpˊpaame(mie)h).

Other Saami languages

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