Working group calls for help to preserve Sami language in Finland

Image: YLE UutisgrafiikkaThe three Sami languages spoken in Finland are under threat says a working group set up to examine the current position of native Lappish languages. Education, daycare and migration from Finnish Lapland are the greatest challenges posed to the survival of indigenous languages in the area.

A working party presented its findings to Minister of Education Jukka Gustaffson and Sports and Culture Minister Paavo Arhinmäki on Friday.

According to the group, the Northern Sami, Inari Sami and Skolt Sami languages are endangered.

It proposes improvements in language training and the provision of daycare in the three languages.

The biggest problem lies with those speakers of the languages who live outside their home areas. These total around 65 percent of the estimated population of 10,000 Sami. Only around half of all Sami speak their mother tongue.

Minister of Education Jukka Gustafsson has promised additional financial resources during the life of the current administration. In his view, the issue was not one of cash but more of a political and cultural nature.

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