Lapp

(redirected from Sámi people)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Lapp

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

Lapp

 

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.

REFERENCES

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.

A. B. DOLGOPOL’SKII