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Ter Sami
Spoken in Russia
Total speakers 10
Language family Uralic
Writing system no writing system
Language codes
ISO 639-1 smi
ISO 639-2 smi
ISO 639-3 sjt
Ter Sami is number 9 on the map.

Ter Sami is the easternmost of the Sami languages. It was traditionally spoken in the northeastern part of the Kola Peninsula, but now it is a dying language; in 2004, only ten speakers were left.


In the end of the 19th century, there were six Ter Sami villages in the eastern part of the Kola Peninsula, with a total population of approximately 450. In 2004, there were approximately 100 ethnic Ter Sami of whom two elderly persons speak the language; the rest have shifted their language to Russian.[1]

The rapid decline in the number of speakers was caused by Soviet collectivisation, during which use of the language was prohibited in schools and homes in the 1930s, and the largest Ter Sami village, Jokanga, was declared "perspectiveless" and its inhabitants were forced to move to the Gremikha military base.[1]


There are no educational materials or facilities in Ter Sami, and the language has no standardized orthography. The language is incompletely studied and documented; text specimens, audio recordings as well as dictionaries for linguistic purposes exist[2][3], but no grammatical description is available.

The earliest known documentation of Sami languages is a short Ter Sami vocabulary collected by the British explorer Stephen Burrough in 1557; the vocabulary was published by Richard Hakluyt.[4]


  1. ^ a b Tiuraniemi Olli: "Anatoli Zaharov on maapallon ainoa turjansaamea puhuva mies", Kide 6 / 2004.
  2. ^ Itkonen T. I.: "Koltan- ja kuolanlapin sanakirja", Helsinki: Société Finno-Ougrienne, 1958.
  3. ^ Itkonen T. I.: "Koltan- ja kuolanlappalaisia satuja", 1931.Memoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 60
  4. ^ Aikio Samuli: "Olbmot ovdal min - Sámiid historjá 1700-logu rádjái". Girjegiisá: Kárášjohka, 1992.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun

Ter Sami


Ter Sami

  1. One of the languages spoken by the Sami people, now moribund.


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