ОЧЕРКИ ЭТНОГРАФИИ СААМОВ. 3.Е. ЧЕРНЯКОВ

The book ("Essays on Saami Ethnography") deals with the following subjects:

- the origin of the Saami people

- human settlement in Europe extending to the extreme north

- the place of Saami in the world system of languages

- the comparative ethnographic aspects of the Saami culture, its common and specific features

- the importance of reindeer breeding in Saami life

- Saami folklore, its role in present-day linguistic evolution

- the elaboration of a written Saami language

- the birth of Saami literature under the conditions of bilingualism

- the ethnographic study of the Saami and the immediate tasks facing Loparistics (Saami studies).

The Saami are directly descended from the Paleoeuropeans - the primary inhabitants of the European sub-continent.

In the Ice Age, (at the mammoth hunting stage) the Paleoeuropeans and the Protosaami, who became separated from them at the reindeer hunting stage, settled in an extensive area between the Mediterranean shores, the Ural mountains, and the extreme north of Europe.

The Saami language has retained a sub-stratum clearly noticeable in the later elements which have contributed to its Finno-Ugric character.

In the Iron Age, the Saami became isolated in the outlying areas of the European sub-continent; they became forest and sea hunters, fishermen and reindeer breeders. In Eastern Europe they were absorbed by various agricultural and pastoral peoples who had penetrated as far as the Baltic, Finland, Karelia, the areas of Novgorod and those lying to the east of Lake Onega.

The Saami retained their traditional culture up until the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. They remained pre-literate despite unsuccessful attemps by missionaries to develop a written Saami language.

The measures taken by the Soviets for developing a written Saami language and for establishing literacy and education, have led to a rise in the cultural level and ethnic self-consciousness of the Saami people.

The development of Saami writing, under the conditions of bilingualism and polylingualism calls for profound research into the problems of polylingualism, for the compilation of a dialectological dictionary of the Saami language and of the comparative grammars of Saami, Russian and other languages.

The spontaneous evolution of the written Saami language and the emergence of Saami poets and prose writers should be given a wide scope. There is a great need for Saami to be studied in schools and in special groups for adults and for poetry and prose by Sami writers to be published in Saami, Russian, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian.

 
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