Saami Language Centre opened in Murmansk
The Sami Language Support Centre has been opened at the Institute of Linguistics of the Murmansk Arctic State University. The university is the only institution in Russia that teaches the Sami language in the master’s degree.
The Saami Language Support Centre has been opened at the Institute of Linguistics of the Murmansk Arctic State University (MAGU). The centre will start working on the revival of the language by training specialists.
Traditional language teaching methods are used in the teaching. Also new methods will be developed and used, such as language immersion and the “master-student” method. In addition, teaching tools are tested that have been developed by students of the Saami master’s programme, the only programme in Russia to teach Saami languages.
Viktoria Bakula, Professor of Language and Media Communication at the university, noted that almost all of the master’s students studying at the programme are Saami. They are primarily involved in the revitalisation of the Skolt Saami language, didactic developments of Saami for mobile applications, teaching the language to preschoolers and even translating the Bible.
Bakula emphasised that such a diversity of areas of work will allow a multifaceted approach to future methodological developments in order to create a professional community capable of transmitting knowledge about the language and defending the status of the Saami language.
The Saami languages are a branch of Uralic languages spoken in four countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia) from Central Scandinavia and Lapland to the Kola Peninsula. Around 200 Saami in Russia speak Kildin Saami, about 20 speak Skolt Saami and c. 10 speak Ter Saami. According to the latest census, 1,530 Saami lived in the Russian Federation. Only 247 Saami, or 16.2% of Russian Saami, considered the Saami language their mother tongue.