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Learn helpful phrases in the Sami language before you travel with the Sami in Norway

Päivitetty: 19. loka 2019


Nothing helps you to stand out while you travel more than speaking the local language. We encourage everyone to learn a few phrases in the local indigenous language when staying with the indigenous people. Learning a few key phrases in a local language will open up a world of possibilities for you and make a good impression. When you visit an area inhabited by the Sami reindeer herders in northern Europe, you can make a great first impression just by saying hello in the Sami language. Before we go to the Sami greetings, it is good to know a bit of their language. The Sami people are the European Union's only indigenous peoples, and they live in Norway, Finland, Sweden, and in the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The Sami people speak Sami languages that belong to the Fenno-Ugrian language group. About 30,000 people speak these languages, but some Sami languages have already disappeared, and some have only a few speakers left. The Sami’s own language is divided into three main languages: Eastern Sami, Central Sami and Southern Sami. These languages are further divided into nine distinct variants. Some of these Sami languages are under threat to disappear. For example, the Inari Sami language is spoken by 300 people only. The majority of the Inari Sami speakers are middle-aged or elderly, so the language is considered seriously endangered. The Sami reindeer herders in northern Norway speak the Northern Sami language, which has about 20,000 speakers. Learn some basic greetings in Northern Sami

Hi! Bures!

Good morning! Buorre iđit!

How are you? Mo dat manna?

I'm fine, thank you! Giitu, manná bures!

Welcome! Bures boahtin!

Thank you! Giitu!

You are welcome! Olu giitu!

Bye! Mana!

What is your name? Mii du namma lea?

My name is Niiilas Mu namma lea Niilas

Good luck! Ollu lihkku!

Have a good trip! Buorre matki!


Dod you know that this year, we are celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages that is a United Nations observance in 2019 that aims to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of indigenous languages across the world. The indigenous peoples speak more than 4,000 of the world’s 7,000-odd languages. But many of the world's indigenous languages are under threat to disappear. The indigenous languages not only help people to communicate with each other, but indigenous languages also carry the ethical values of their ancestors. The indigenous knowledge systems, traditions, ways of thinking, and environmental knowledge are embedded in their languages. The biggest threat to indigenous languages comes from climate change, which is gravely impacting their traditional livelihood.


Visit Natives is a travel agency whose mission is to help indigenous peoples to maintain their cultural heritage and traditional livelihoods, like reindeer herding, to the future generations through small-scale sustainable tourism. If you are interested in traveling for good and exploring fascinating indigenous cultures, checking out our expeditions and trips among the indigenous peoples in Norway and Tanzania here. You can book a homestay or join a Sami reindeer migration with a Sami reindeer herder family and live like a Sami herder in the most beautiful wilderness in northern Norway. These trips are the most authentic and unique way to discover rich Sami reindeer herding culture and get to know the Sami people. Book your trip with the Sami here.

Some of the Sami languages are under threat to disappear. Visit Natives trips helps the Sami to maintain their traditional livelihood and culture


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