Finno-Ugrian (Finnish) and Sami languages

Comparison between the two languages is shown in this article; the first moment is that Proto-Finno-Ugrian language is unknown except the series of the vowel chain shifts which were shown in the previous article. So, the most valuable variant is to change Proto-Finno language into modern Finnish and compare it with the modern Sami language.

The big group of the Sami languages is spreaded widely onto the Scandinavian Peninsula. Their dialects use as the official languages there. All Sami languages are similar one another like the Gaelic language which similar to British and all of them is languages of the Uralic group.

The Finnish language has the next consonants,

Labial Dental,




Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p (b) t (d) k (g) ʔ
Fricative (f) s (ʃ) h
Approx. ʋ l j
Trill r

A table of sounds of Southern Sami is given below

Labial Dental Alveolar Postalv. Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p (b), (p), ph (p) t (d), th (t) ts (ts), p (b), (p) tj (tj) k (g), kg (k)
Fricative f (f) s (s) ʃ (s) h (h)
Nasal m (m) n (n) ɲ (n) ŋ (ng)
Lateral l (l)
Trill r (r)
Approx. β – w (v) j (j)

As it is shown above, the Sami language’s sounds are approved that this language is a descendant of the Finnish language because the Finnish language is less complex with none aspiration and no one of the sound like “ɲ” and “ŋ” which were formed from the Nasal sound “n”. A main famous trait is that the Finnish language formed less number of sound’s groups (Southern Sami has the additional Lateral group).

It is an utopian point of view because both of the languages are from the Uralic family but its division gives the information that Southern Sami is a language from the Sami group but Finnish is from the Finnic group. It is a typology of the languages.

The more important is words’ differences. The table of common phrases is shown below (these are series of transcriptions).

Finnish Southern Sami Translations
Terve, hyvää päivää, päivää Buaregh, Bööresth, Buerie biejjie (Good day) Hello (general greeting)
Mitä kuuluu? Guktie veasoeh? How are you?
Hyvää kiitos, entä sinulle Mannine hijven Reply to “how are you?”
Mikä teidän nimenne on? (frm, what is your name?) Mov nomme … What is your name? / My name is …
Mistä olet kotoisin? Gubpede datne båatah? Where are you from?

As it is showed above, the Southern Sami language hasn’t any common words with the Finnish language and the similarities in the consonants would appeared because of the nearest location and the common Uralic family but sounds don’t ensure similarities in the words.


Omniglot, Wikipedia

This article was written by Ilya Duchanin.

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