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1. a member of a nomadic people living chiefly in N Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula of Russia
2. the language of this people, belonging to the Finno-Ugric family



the language of the Lapps, spoken by about 1,900 persons on the Kola Peninsula (1970 census), about 20,000 in northern Norway, about 7,000 in Sweden, and about 2,000 in Finland. Lapp belongs to the Finno-Volga branch of the Finno-Ugric languages.

There are three groups of Lapp dialects, with great differences between the groups. North Lapp, the Norwegian Lapp dialect, includes the coastal, western mountain, and eastern mountain dialects of northern Norway and Finland, the southern mountain dialect of the Torneälven basin in northern Sweden, and the Lule Lapp and Pite Lapp dialects of the basins of the Luleälven and Piteälven in northern Sweden and Norway. South Lapp includes the Ume Lapp dialect of the basin of the Umeälven and South Lapp proper, spoken between 62° and 66°N lat. in Sweden and Norway. Among the East Lapp dialects are the Inari Lapp dialect spoken in northeastern Finland and the Kola dialects (Kil’din, Tuloma, and Iokanga) spoken in Murmansk Oblast. Several literary languages exist. Norwegian Lapp, based on the eastern mountain dialect, has been in use in Norway and Finland since the 19th century. A literary language based on the southern mountain dialect came into use in Sweden and Norway in the 1950’s. Lule Lapp is a literary language in Sweden, and Kola Lapp was used in the USSR in the 1930’s.

The phonetics and morphophonemics of Lapp are complex. The Proto-Lapp vowel system of five long and four short vowels has become quite complex in the modern dialects because of the change from quantitative oppositions to qualitative oppositions, umlauting and other position-conditioned mutations, and the development of new quantities. There are many diphthongs. Consonantism is poorly developed in initial word position but complex in medial position. Long and short consonants may be strong (aspirated and preaspirated) or weak in the western and southern dialects, with the weak consonants voiced or unvoiced. In East Lapp, obstruents may be voiced or half-voiced palatalized or nonpalatalized fricatives. The western and eastern dialects have a consonant gradation system, as seen in the Norwegian Lapp -ll-/-l-, -bm-/-m-, dd-/-tt-, and -hp-/-p-. East Lapp has a system of gradation based on consonant palatalization. All dialects have very complex vowel and diphthong gradation systems. All these gradations are morpho-phonemically significant and play a role in inflection and word-formation. The gradations are seen in declensional forms of the Kil’din word for “fish” in the singular: kul’l’ (nominative), kül’ (genitive-accusative), and ku∊ll a (dative-illative).

Lapp morphology is synthetic, with well-developed fusion. Nouns and pronouns are inflected for case (eight or nine cases) and number (singular, plural and, in the pronouns of western and southern dialects, dual). Substantives have possessive forms for three persons and three or two numbers of the possessor. The verb has synthetic forms to indicate person, number, mood, and voice. The vocabulary is Finno-Ugric, historically similar to that of Baltic-Finnic. Some roots are shared with the Samoyed languages; this may be interpreted as evidence of a Samoyed substratum in Lapp or as a common Uralic inheritance and traces of a non-Uralic “Arctic” substratum. Lapp has many borrowings from Finnish.


Kert, G. M. Saamskii iazyk. Leningrad, 1971.
Wiklund, K. Entwurf einer urlappischen Lautlehre. Helsinki, 1896.
Nielsen, K. Lœrebok i Lappisk, vols. 1–3. Oslo, 1926–29.
Nielsen, K., and A. Nesheim. Lappisk ordbok, vols. 1–5. Oslo, 1932–62.
Bergsland, K., and G. Hasselbrink. Sámien lukkeme-gärjá. Oslo, 1957.
Itkonen, T. I. Koltanja kuolanlapin sanakirja (Wörterbuch des Koltaund Kolalappischen). Helsinki, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
It is located within walking distance of some fabulous cabin-style shops offering traditional Lappish crafts, as well as others offering the more usual tourist souvenirs.
Historically, exploration dates from Lappish and trading-route activities of the 17th century, in the north, eastern, and western margins of the country, were focused on iron.
Humans have been here since the early Stone Age and today it is the southernmost territory of the nomadic Lappish, or Sami, people who were pushed north by incoming farmers.
The fun begins at this enchanted spot and there will be time for all-inclusive activities including a Lapland ceremony steeped in Lappish tradition, reindeer and husky dog sleigh rides and a simple but delicious Lappish meal.
From 1660 to the late eighteenth century the Danish absolute monarch ruled over a multi-lingual State, where Norwegian, Faeroese, Icelandic, high and low German, Frisian as well as Danish were spoken (Feldbaek, 1992, 81), and on his birthday, the King was known to receive "congratulatory poems not only in Latin and French, but also in Danish, German, Icelandic and Lappish.
It is even possible that his dive into the mere resembles a Lappish shaman's journey into the watery underworld.
Way to a Woman's Heart" by the recently deceased Pakka Parttikka and Paul-Anders Simma's "The Minister of State," the second Lappish feature ever made, were among the dozen new Finnish films screened.
The Karasjok Samelandssenter is the focus of Lappish cultural, commercial and political activity.
opp mountain (this is not a Russian word; it is presumably Lappish, a Finno-Ugraic language gora ropa mountain gorod, grad ropo?
Her tonguetied Lappish hillbillies are low-hopers trapped in a culture drained of meaning and direction.
Tour highlights 'Search for Santa' experience Private meeting with Santa Token children's gift A thrilling snowmobile ride Reindeer sleigh ride through the snow and a Husky dog experience Tobogganing, 'snowballing' and snowman-making Thermal clothing Two-course Lappish lunch Hot drinks Return flights to Pajala in Swedish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle Return airport to Santa's Village transfers In-flight catering Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager