Saami, North


A language of Norway

Alternate Names
“Lapp” (pej.), North Sámi, “Northern Lappish” (pej.), Northern Saami, “Norwegian Lapp” (pej.), Saami, Same, Sámegiella, Samic

20,000 in Norway (Laakso 2013). Population total all countries: 25,700. Ethnic population: 30,000 (1995 M. Krauss). 30,000–40,000.


Finnmark, Troms counties; Nordland county: Ofoten.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Sami Administrative District (1987, Sami Act, No. 12, Article 3).


Ruija, Sea Lappish, Torne. Two-thirds of all Saami speak Ruija dialect.

Language Use

In central Finnmark Province, where North Saami has an official status, many children learn the language and are likely to continue to use it in adulthood (Salminen 2007). All ages. Also use Norwegian [nor].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 30%–60%. Literacy rate in L2: 75%–100%. Taught in primary schools. New media. Bible: 1895.

Cyrillic script [Cyrl]. Latin script [Latn], primary usage.

Other Comments

Formerly called “Finns” which they consider derogatory.

Also spoken in:

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