Being Wrong about Sámi.

The last page of the TLS is the cheeky “NB” section, which discusses things like recent used-book purchases and mentions of the TLS in novels, movies, and the like. I generally enjoy it, but this bit from the Feb. 12, 2016 issue made me grind my teeth:

Lesser-used languages of Europe, an occasional series. Niillas Holmberg is the author of The Way Back: Poems in Sámi (Clive Boutle, £9.99). We thought we were ignorant of Northern Sámi, both language and region, but learn that it refers to the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. The old terms, Lapp and Laplander, Mr Holmberg writes, are “now seen as pejorative”. The poems are presented in the original, with facing translations. “In spite of centuries of colonization in Sámiland, many of us still speak the language of nature.” The poet also speaks the language of Zen Buddhism. Here are three lines of “Suomaiduvvan” (Assimilation):

Máid sápmelaš bargá
go meahccái láhppo
dat manná ruoktot

What does a Sámi do
when he gets lost in the wild
he goes home

If we’re not wrong, the translated “Sámi” is “láhppo” in the original. Are the old terms disapproved of in English but not in Sámi itself?

As it happens, you are wrong, you smug twits. I mean, you don’t have to do any extensive research to figure this out, you can just go to the frigging Wikipedia article and read “Sámi refer to themselves as Sámit (the Sámis) or Sápmelaš (of Sámi kin), the word Sámi being inflected into various grammatical forms.” Therefore it is the “sápmelaš” in the first line that is translated “Sámi.” Now, I went the extra mile and consulted an online Northern Sami-English Dictionary to discover that “láhppo” is an inflected form of láhppán ‘lost,’ but that wouldn’t have been necessary in order to prevent the idiotic attempt at a gotcha (“ooh, those do-gooders want you to use some fancy word they probably made up, but look, the quaint reindeer herders use the bad word themselves!”). I checked the next few issues, expecting a mea culpa or a correction in the letters section, but nary a word — I guess it’s just too obscure a topic for TLS readers. So here, two years late, is the rap across the knuckles they deserve.

Comments

  1. Hmm, had never seen Sami spelled with the accent on the ‘a’ before. Glad to learn this here.

  2. David Marjanović says:

    á is [a], a is [ɑ] in Northern Sámi.

    you can just go to the frigging Wikipedia article

    It’s taking most people some time to get used to the fact that the knowledge of the world is now at their fingertips. I still don’t look up as much as I should and now easily could.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    I feared for a moment there that the post would be about me.

  4. Northern Sami has had no less than 9 orthographies, and it used to be said that the orthography used in Norway changed every time the professor of Sami changed at the University of Oslo.

  5. Trond Engen says:

    It’s my understanding that the distinction between <á> and <a> is primarily one of length. But taking up the keen advice and checking Wikipedia, I see that in the (generally more conservative) Eastern dialects of North Sami, frontness is more important.

    There’s no clear agreement on the spelling of ‘Sami’ in English. The North Sami distinction represented by the acute is also reflected in the spelling with double a. I have vacillated between the two, so maybe I should try the acute too.

  6. Wiktionary gives the full verb conjugation for láhppot.

  7. Wow, that’s great — thanks!

  8. J.W. Brewer says:

    Re “clear agreement on the spelling of ANYFOREIGNORIGINWORD in English,” if one spelling variant has some foreignish diacritical thingie over one of the letters and the other one doesn’t, the latter spelling wins unless the word is primarily used in English texts by members of some sort of subculture in which using foreign-looking squiggles is a desirable marker of group identity that keeps the unwashed masses with normal-for-Anglophones keyboards at bay. But Saami v. Sami is more of a fair fight. (The doubled-a spelling looks kinda Finnish, but whether summoning up that sort of association is a bug or a feature seems like it might be a divisive question?)

    However, in the U.S. you’d probably have to look pretty hard to find someone who will be offended by “Lapp”; the grievances of the people formerly known by that name, however just, are simply not on the radar of even the sort of people unusually eager to offer unsolicited advice correcting the insensitive and/or behind-the-times language usage of others. That probably reduces the degree of any felt need to come up with a consensus spelling for the new-and-better demonym.

  9. Trond Engen says:

    Me: There’s no clear agreement on the spelling of ‘Sami’ in English. The North Sami distinction represented by the acute is also reflected in the spelling with double a. I have vacillated between the two, so maybe I should try the acute too.

    Now, Sami phonology is irrelevant for the English spelling. The important question is how to represent the English pronunciation. And, since it’s English, do something else entirely.

  10. I was going to post that Loloish (as used for the Loloish language family) is pejorative and that we should be using Yi, but I note this at Wikipedia:

    Loloish is the traditional name for the family. Some publications avoid the term under the misapprehension that Lolo is pejorative. Lolo is the Chinese rendition of the autonym of the Yi people, and it is only pejorative when written with a particular Chinese character (one that uses a beast rather than human radical), a practice that was prohibited by the Chinese government in the 1950s.”

    At Lolo-Burmese languages Wikipedia says:

    “Until ca. 1950, the endonym Lolo was written with derogatory characters in Chinese, and for this reason has sometimes been avoided. Shafer (1966–1974) used the term “Burmic” for the Lolo-Burmese languages. The Chinese term is Mian–Yi, after the Chinese name for Burmese and one of several words for Tai, reassigned to replace Lolo by the Chinese government after 1950.”

    ‘Lolo’ is from Chinese 倮倮 luǒ luǒ.

    ‘Mian–Yi’ is 缅彝 miǎn-yì.

    猡猡 luó luó appears to be the form with the beast radical. Despite the efforts of the Chinese government six decades ago, quite amazingly it can still be found at the Chinese Wikipedia article on 彝族 (Yi people) as one of the names that the Yi use for themselves. The Chinese love preserving old history. 🙂

    I gave up trying to figure out how “one of several words for Tai” was reassigned to the Lolo, who belong to a different language group. That’s one rabbit hole too many.

  11. We went down the Lolo rabbit hole a bit here (and it at least got mentioned back in 2003).

  12. láhppo – ‘lost’

    Originally the name they were called by the Norse was Finn (related to Old Norse finna – “to find”))

    Looks like a wordplay

  13. Dan Milton says:

    OK, Lapp’s the bad word, Sami’s the good word. But if you want to see an apparent derivative of Sami (or a closely related word) become the bad word, check Wikipedia “Talk: Samoyedic languages”. The samoyed is recognized by the American Kennel Club but it’s been expurgated from the Scrabble for schools word list.

  14. But what Samoyed is even supposed to mean in Russian?

    Self-cannibal?

    Looks offensive, but doesn’t really make any sense.

  15. So where does Lapp come from? The Swedish Academy dictionary doesn’t know. The OED says, “compare Middle High German lappe simpleton”, which seems a bit weak.

  16. January First-of-May says:

    I knew enough to recognize Sápme (or something similar) as the self-name of the Sami, but my own naïve guess for láhppo would’ve been “the wild”.

    …A few years back, I participated in a discussion about a fanciful alternate-historical map… not sure of the details any more, but TL/DR is that it basically included every place’s early medieval countries (with wildly anachronistically varying dates for “early medieval” – from 5th to 14th century – depending on how far back the area was attested, and which period had the most countries in it; occasionally it ended up with ancient countries, regions that were never independent, or even names that were effectively made up).
    A region in northern Finland/Karelia ended up named Sápmi, despite my insistence on using the authentic early medieval name, Kvenland.
    Their argument basically came down to “Kven is a derogatory name for the Sami”. I wasn’t sure whether it was (none of the references I was using said that), and had certainly never heard of Sápmi before; however, all the other options I could find were Lappland and Finnmark, which if referring to the Sami certainly would have been derogatory.
    Ironically enough, one of the nearby regions ended up with the name Pohjoland, clearly in the “effectively made up” category.

    Which reminds me of another story: back in the late 2000s, I ended up in a museum in Petrozavodsk that, among other things, had an exhibit about the Kalevala.
    At some point I asked the kind museum worker whether a place name in Karelia was actually connected with the original setting of the poem. (I’m not sure of the exact phrasing I used; it was in Russian anyway.)
    They said that no, the town of Kalevala was named directly for the poem, and relatively recently.
    “What? No,” I surprisedly answered, “I didn’t even know that one existed. I was talking about Louhi.”
    (They had no answer, and I still have no idea. That said, the original Louhi is usually perceived as a negative character, so I’m not sure why would anyone name a town after her.)

    (Sorry for the long and not particularly related comment, by the way.)

  17. Lars (not the regular) says:

    No, ‘the wild’ seems to be meahccái, cognate with Finnish metsä (meaning woods). There’s a case ending lurking in there; the base word is meahcci according to the dictionary Hat found. It has both the woods and the wilderness meaning.

  18. The -ái is illative singular, per WP.
    However, although that article appears to give the full inflection of ruokto- ‘house’, it doesn’t show ruoktot.

  19. If ON Finnr has anything to do with the ancient Fennī or Φιννοι, it can hardly be connected with PGmc. *finþ-i/a- ‘find’, since the progressive assimilation * > nn is a much later Old Norse development.

  20. But what Samoyed is even supposed to mean in Russian?
    Self-cannibal?
    Looks offensive, but doesn’t really make any sense.

    Agreed – it looks like it’s a slur implying that they chew their own legs or something. And there are two perfectly good Russian words for “cannibal”, neither of which are “samoyed”.

  21. Louhi

    The dragon was called Flogdreki, which is similar in form to the Finnish words “lohi” (salmon) and “louhi” (ledge, crag, boulder), and “Louhi, Pohjolan emanta” (Louhi, the Mistress of Pohjola). Thus, the Bosa Saga is similar in numerous respects to the structure ot the Sampo cycle.

  22. David Marjanović says:

    Fennī must technically be from Pre-Germanic, BTW – predating the *-enC- > *-inC- shift (where *nn counts as *nC).

    Despite the efforts of the Chinese government six decades ago, quite amazingly it can still be found at the Chinese Wikipedia article

    Isn’t the Chinese Wikipedia blocked on the mainland and therefore almost entirely written by Taiwanese?

  23. Isn’t the Chinese Wikipedia blocked on the mainland and therefore almost entirely written by Taiwanese?

    It wasn’t blocked ten years ago, when the majority of articles were first written, and PRC Chinese are many to be found outside the concrete and virtual borders of the country.

  24. > Northern Sami has had no less than 9 orthographies, and it used to be said that the orthography used in Norway changed every time the professor of Sami changed at the University of Oslo.

    Reminds me of the old saying that developing your own Chinese romanization is an inevitable sign of senility/tenure for Sinologists.

    This is completely unrelated and I know Steve’s not into the Voynich, but I have nowhere else to post it so I hope it’s ok: I’m amused at the war that just erupted at lingbuzz. In 2017, Gerard Cheshire posted Linguistic Missing Links, where he proves that the Voynich is a proto-Romance text in proto-Italic writing – complete with excerpted translations side-by-side with Vulgar Latin et cetera. Recently, J. Michael Hermann posted The Cannabis page of the Voynich Manuscript, where he proves that the manuscript is in a variety of Persian, written with some script related to Pahlavi or Mandaic. He demonstrates this by translating a moralistic rant against hemp habits. Chesire promptly busied himself in updating the earlier article, and in posting Linguistically Dating and Locating Manuscript MS408, where he laments how some people lack respect for the science of palæography and again proves it’s Romance, translating a tabula regio novem charting famous volcanoes and such. I’m holding my breath for Hermann to post some Islamic astronomical diagram translated from the original Persian, and so on. (not linking to lingbuzz to avoid the spam filter, but it should be easy to search.)

  25. This is completely unrelated and I know Steve’s not into the Voynich, but I have nowhere else to post it so I hope it’s ok

    Good lord, of course it is! I don’t mind people talking about the Voynich as long as they don’t mind me muttering about how it’s all a big fake.

  26. Trond Engen says:

    We discussed previous decodings of the Voynich manuscript e.g. here and here.

  27. In the second linked thread, slawkenbergius wrote:

    The doomed hunt for the Voynich has had one very beneficial knock-on effect for an unexpected group of people. Apparently there is a theory that the Voynich manuscript is written in Manchu. This theory is clearly inaccurate. Yet, to aid fellow-searchers interested in pursuing the theory, one Voynichologist has scanned and rather accurately digitized Jerry Norman’s Concise Manchu-English Lexicon.

    Which leads me to suggest that people should produce theories claiming it’s written in whatever obscure language they think should have better resources available.

  28. David Eddyshaw says:

    It’s in Kusaal. I’m amazed that nobody has noticed this previously. The text is mostly concerned with alien astronauts, of course, not cannabis (people are so gullible about these things.)

  29. There was a long thread a short while back (in Hattery time) about how the demonyms Finn and Est(onian) can both go back to IE words for scales / pimples / warts. Presumably because of fish skin clothing. (The words for pimple and Finnlander are in fact homonyms in current Swedish, whatever you think of the cognacy).

  30. Apparently there is a theory that the Voynich manuscript is written in Manchu.

    As my mother used to say, though it can no longer be repeated in society: Fu Manchu, but many man smoke.

  31. Trond Engen says:

    I love Rodger’s mum.

  32. Trond Engen says:

    Ther may have been nine orthographies for North Sami, but it has played out over a period of more 200 years, and three different national standards (or traditions) have been merged into one. For any one speaker that’s less than one spelling reform per generation.

  33. So where does Lapp come from?

    The two main theories are connections to Scandinavian lapp ‘patch’ (thus “people so poor they have to patch their clothes”?) or Finnic lappi, lape etc. ‘margin, side’ (thus “people who live in out in the wilderness”). Most of Finland is full of lapp- placenames, often with associated folklore about them being formerly inhabited by “Lapps”, so the former seems likely to be the folk etymology of the two.

    A more imaginative variation on the ‘patch’ theory goes that this would be actually a calque of sorts of an earlier Sami ethnonym *Vuowjoš ‘Wedge-y’, supposedly referring to a wedge-shaped patch worn on clothing as a sign of membership in a trader group. I find this to be likely only a fancy coincidence.

  34. Yet, to aid fellow-searchers interested in pursuing the theory, one Voynichologist has scanned and rather accurately digitized Jerry Norman’s Concise Manchu-English Lexicon.

    I read some story a long time ago, about someone having a deep ditch dug for free by scattering a few gold coins on the ground and starting a rumor about a buried treasure.

  35. Well, for values of “free” that don’t include the cost of the gold coins.

  36. Greg Pandatshang says:

    @Lars (the original one), could you link to the Finnish pimples discussion? My efforts at googling for it didn’t turn anything up.

  37. Greg Pandatshang says:

    Is Sápmi/Saami not etymologically the same as Suomi < PIE *dʰéǵʰōm? Or, if it is, why the -p-? I guess it could be an infix or maybe some sort of weird excrescence of a past fortition.

  38. Trond Engen says:

    j: The two main theories are connections to Scandinavian lapp ‘patch’ (thus “people so poor they have to patch their clothes”?) or Finnic lappi, lape etc. ‘margin, side’ (thus “people who live in out in the wilderness”). Most of Finland is full of lapp- placenames, often with associated folklore about them being formerly inhabited by “Lapps”, so the former seems likely to be the folk etymology of the two.

    I like that better too. Also since ON leppr m.sg. “patch, rag; lock of hair” and lappir m.pl. “Sami people” looks like distnct words to me. But is there an Uralic etymology for Lapp?

    A more imaginative variation on the ‘patch’ theory goes that this would be actually a calque of sorts of an earlier Sami ethnonym *Vuowjoš ‘Wedge-y’, supposedly referring to a wedge-shaped patch worn on clothing as a sign of membership in a trader group. I find this to be likely only a fancy coincidence.

    What other evidence is there for *Vuowjoš?

    With not too miuch stretch of imagination, Finn could be a better calque of the same word. There’s a wide variety of derived senses, but the original meaning must have been something like “spike; stiff straw”, cognate with Latin pinna. It wouldn’t have to be a calque of course. There are both good and bad reasons to use a word for something short, stiff and hardy as a designation for a neighbouring people.

  39. Trond Engen says:

    Greg P.: Is Sápmi/Saami not etymologically the same as Suomi < PIE *dʰéǵʰōm? Or, if it is, why the -p-?

    Yes, a borrowing from Baltic is the usual explanation. The p of Sápmi is an internal (Northern-ish, I think) Sámi development. Also Suopma “Finland”. I don’t remember the details, and I don’t have Sammalahti at hand.

  40. David Marjanović says:

    why the -p-?

    Because those people not only preaspirate their stops, they prestop their nasals. *m, *n > pm, tn under some condition or other.

  41. Greg Pandatshang says:

    But now I’m so curious what the condition is!

  42. Lars (not the regular) says:

    Not only that, but the p in sápmi undergoes consonant gradation, a pan-Finnic (or mostly so) phonological phenomenon. The exact principles vary between languages (Saami is a good deal more complicated than Finnish, as far as I can telll). Due to the phonological nature of CG, some forms lack it (or rather, the consonant appears in the “weak grade” as the terminology goes), as the declension tables show:
    https://glosbe.com/se/en/s%C3%A1pmi

  43. @Greg could you link to the Finnish pimples discussion? My efforts at googling for it didn’t turn anything up.

    Neither do mine, sadly. I rarely have luck googling for Hattery threads, though. As I recall, there was a link to an Academia.edu paper about a Germanic word family *astr- or similar. If that rings anybody’s bells.

  44. But now I’m so curious what the condition is!

    Sinus trouble.

  45. I rarely have luck googling for Hattery threads, though.

    Do you prefix your search terms with site:languagehat.com? Because that’s the Way. That said, I’m having no luck with this either.

  46. I do use the site: magic, but it rarely helps. I hope I wasn’t hallucinating in this case.

  47. Found the source. It’s from Hyllested’s dissertation, of course, much discussed here. Chapter titled “Estonia and the Aestii: Baltic Etymology as a Key to Fennic Ethnonyms”

    Alternative Etymology: Baltic *aistra- is a translation of PGmc. *finōn

    I didn’t find languagehat discussion of these etymologies, perhaps you discussed it on some other site.

  48. No, but I read Hyllested when it was mentioned here — and that was the connection that remained in my mind. Thanks, SFReader!

  49. Trond Engen says:

    I remember it too. I thought it was the Urchin discussion, but now I’ve read through most of the thread without finding it. I wonder if it could be in one of the linked papers.

    Edit: Sorry. Update before posting.

  50. This seems to be the original Hyllested thread.

  51. Trond Engen says:

    Yes, and also Pecan vs. Pecan.

  52. But what Samoyed is even supposed to mean in Russian? Self-cannibal?

    I thought so too, it seems to be a common misconception. Apparently it might come from saam-jedna, which means “the land of Saami”, which also means Lapland:
    goo.gl/s1QJNX

  53. Trond Engen says:

    Sámiid ædnan (obligatory).

  54. Trond Engen says:

    I have never heard that etymology before, but why not? Backformed from an adjective Samojedniy or something like that? By Novgorodian traders, presumably.

  55. Greg Pandatshang says:

    January First-of-May’s fanciful story reminds me of the game Crusader Kings 2, which is set on a detailed map of medieval Europe + north Africa + most of Asia. Due to the necessity of providing place names, these farflung locations come in for close attention from the game’s developers … if not, however, always very attentive attention. I dived at one point into the morass of their Egyptian place names, many of which seemed to be garbled if not just plain made up. Some appeared to be in the wrong place, especially those relating to Giza, which the game believes is in the desert west of Cairo, apparently because a stretch of desert in that area became part of Giza Governorate in 2011. In any event, the names Sápmi, Lappland, and Finnmark are all in use for an overlapping range of places. I don’t recall encountering a Kvenland, though.

    Crusader Kings, by the way, has a strange fascination with giving the names of selected places in the language of the ruler, or, rather, in some modern language considered equivalent. So, Norway, if the ruler is Norwegian, is not Norway but “Norge” and Ireland, if the ruler is Irish, is not Ireland but “Éire”; on the other hand, if the ruler of Ireland is Welsh, then it’s “Iwerddon”; or, if he or she is Breton, “Iwerzhon”, and so forth. They seem to have invested a lot of time into looking up the names of various countries in assorted languages.

  56. *m, *n > pm, tn under some condition or other

    Medial *-m-, *-n-, *-ń-, *-ŋ- have pm, tn, tnj, as their default reflexes; mm, nn, ŋŋ occur after a word-initial nasal (namma ‘name’, mannat ‘to go’, maŋŋit ‘late’). (There do not seem to be any actual examples of the theoretically possible root structure *N-ń-.) Both types result in m, n, nj, ŋ under consonant gradation.

    Sápmi is primarily the geographical term “Samiland” (no especially standard English translation that I know of), Sámi is its genitive-accusative case: “of Samiland; Samilander, i.e. Sami”.

    There are also bm, dn, which continue earlier geminate nasals *-mm-, *-nn-, *-ŋŋ- (and which gradate to pm, tn, ).

    Gradation itself happens, by the canonical formulation, at the onset of a closed syllable; closure per Proto-Samic though, so e.g. mannat < *mënëtēk with the *n still in an open syllable *-në-.

    Alternately, in Sami it would be actually quite feasible to instead consider the weak grade the default grade, and the strong grade to be derived by strengthening when in the onset of an *open syllable: gemination for most consonants or clusters, plus further complications involving stop consonants.

    I’m refraining from giving IPA since there is not too much agreement on what pm bm tn dn are exactly, either phonetically (varies quite a bit by dialect) or phonologically (unit phonemes? clusters? if the latter, with what?)

  57. January First-of-May says:

    January First-of-May’s fanciful story reminds me of the game Crusader Kings 2

    I think I might as well reveal it – the map was to be used in a mod of Europa Universalis 3, a game from the same studio as CK2 (Paradox Interactive).
    Unfortunately, that particular mod never really went anywhere (to the best of my knowledge, anyway).

    I was not aware of CK2 itself having similar problems, but it doesn’t surprise me very much; after all, a lot of the time we don’t really know what exactly the actual map of such places would have looked like in the 9th century (or, in some cases, even the 11th).

    …The underlying weirdness of Paradox Interactive’s research, in yet another game (this time a WW2-based one), is hilariously touched upon in the glorious ongoing AAR Inevitable Defeat – Slovakia ’44, which is… pretty much exactly what it says: Slovakia loaded in the June 1944 scenario, where it effectively cannot do anything except get overrun.
    (Eventually. The AAR was started in 2011, had since passed through four in-game months, and no overrunning of Slovakia had happened so far.)
    So the AAR is instead mostly about the weird randomness and random weirdness of Paradox’s research (surprisingly sloppy at times, as it turns out) as interpreted by the game’s AI (which can be rather weird and random just by itself).

  58. David Marjanović says:

    Both types result in m, n, nj, ŋ under consonant gradation.

    So perhaps the prestopping isn’t a sound shift at all, it’s the analogical creation of a strong grade for consonants that previously lacked one?

    See also: Welsh gw.

  59. Prestopping applies just fine also where there is no weak grade to compare with at all, such as in trisyllabic roots: siepman : stem siepmana- ‘seed’ (pseudo-PS *sēmënë, actually from Finnish siemen : siemene-). Also, pm : m gradation only occurs in Western Sami. Eastern Sami and also older Ume Sami indicate that it is derived from earlier mm : m gradation, i.e. the same purely quantitative pattern as for most clusters and non-stops.

    Now, OK, a small part of the long prestopped series indeed comes from *PN clusters (bodni ‘bottom’ < *potnē ← Scandinavian *botna-), but I dout these would suffice as a purely analogical source of prestopping for all other geminate nasals.

    (also, scratch my earlier line about the nonexistence of geminate retention for *N-ń: mannji ‘daughter-in-law’)

  60. Lars (not the regular) says:

    And Finnish siemen is Indo-European (thought I, and Wiktionary agrees), and with that we’re back to more familiar territory.

  61. Greg Pandatshang says:

    January First-of-May,

    Well, some places definitely require some speculation, but they could at least be expect to get the names of places in, say, Egypt spelled right and in the right spot. I think Paradox would be wise to crowdsource this type of research. In most cases, you’d hope to at least get somebody from said country to correct obvious inaccuracies. Best case, the crowdsourcing might attract someone with some genuine expertise in, say, medieval settlents in such-and-such place.

  62. Greg Pandatshang says:

    By the way, this paper “Common Era Sápmi Language Replacement: Motivation and Mechanisms” by John Weinstock discusses the origins of Sami/Sápmi. He mentions the Old Norse word

    sámr ‘swarthy’ in Geir Zoëga’s dictionary, cf. N. Sámi sapmu ‘haze’

    and goes to the trouble of emphasising that this is not the same root as Sápmi.

  63. Trond Engen says:

    Thanks, That seems like a good synthesis of recent scholarship (and very similar in conclusions to Hattic speculations based on some of the same sources). But I don’t know the field well enough to see if anything is missing.

  64. I knew a Finn whose given name was Sami; he was at pains to point out that this was not the same as Saami.

  65. But was it the same as Sammy?

  66. No, more like Summy.

  67. Trond Engen says:

    Still reading Agrarian Life in the North 2000 BC – AD 1000. Christin Jensen’s and Johan Arntzen’s article A Late Bronze Age Sheep Farm North of the Arctic Circle? may be of interest here.

    In the last few years, archaeology has moved the Nordic Bronze Age further north — on both sides of the peninsula as well as in Finland. Farmsteads with longhouses, evidence of cereal farming and occasional bronze artefacts have been found on island sites around Harstad. In Sweden a whole little cluster of NBA farms has come to light near what was then the mouth of the Ume river, just outside the modern town of Umeå. The article lays out the find of a Bronze Age farm even further north — and in a surprising location: A small three-aisled longhouse with NBA ceramics was dug out from the wet soil in Sandvika, a windy beach near the open coast west of Tromsø. The place was used for a couple of centuries in the late Bronze Age, ca. 1000-800 BCE. There’s only vague and circumstancial evidence for cereal farming, but this may be a result of erosion. After the abandonment, the farmstead in Sandvika was never settled again, but it seems to have been used for grassing during the Migration Era.

    Judging from the dating of the other northern sites mentioned in the article, there seems to have been a general retraction of southern elements towards the end of the Bronze Age, followed by new expansion, especially in the Migration Era, until another round of abandonments with the mid-6th-century crisis. We know from other sources that Southern Scandinavian culture expanded again in the Viking Age and the Late Medieval Era, and, after a setback with the Black Death, from the 15th century or so until this day.

    The implication of this for Sámi is that we’d expect a layer of (Post-)Proto-Germanic loans mediated through Paleo-Laplandic, maybe not discernible from a layer of (Post-)Proto-Germanic loans into (Pre-)Proto-Sámi, one layer of (pre-synchope) Proto-Norse loans into the emerging dialects of Sámi, and since Old Norse, a continuous stream of loans from various forms of Scandinavian into various forms of Sámi. Supposing that NBA was Proto-Germanic and that Sámi spread from southern Finland in the Iron Age.

  68. Graham Asher says:

    It may be of interest that Hellquist’s Swedish Etymological Dictionary of 1922, online at http://runeberg.org/svetym/, has this entry for ‘lapp’:

    lapp (folkslag), fsv. lapper = isl. lappir plur.; möjl. finskt lånord, jfr fin. lappalainen, egentl.: person från Lappi kanske med betyd, ’ödemarken i norr’), o. ry. löparj. Det äldsta nord. namnet synes ha varit finnar (se d. o.). Själva kalla sig lapparna sapme sing., sabme, same m. m. K. B. Wiklund Nord. fam.-bok 15: 1186 f.

    which I translate as

    lapp (a people), old Swedish lapper = Icelandic lappir (plural); possibly a Finnish loanword; compare Finnish lappalainen, evidently a person from Lappi (perhaps meaning ’northern wasteland), and Russian löparj. The earliest Scandinavian word seems to have been finnar (q.v.). The Lapps call themselves sapme, singular sabme, same etc.

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