How to Revitalize an Indigenous Language? Adults’ Experiences of the Revitalization of the SÁMi Language

Erika Sarivaara, Satu Uusiautti, Kaarina Määttä


The purpose of the research: Language revitalization means that an extinct language is taken in active use. Language revitalization can also save an endangered language from extinction. The Sámi form an indigenous people whose language is endangered. A marginal group of people with Sámi ancestry has revitalized the Sámi language. The materials and methods: This study focused on these adult Sámi-speaking people (N=10) who had revitalized the language. They were interviewed of their language revitalization process, especially how they became language revitalizers. This was a narrative study.The results: The results show that language revitalization is a process that demands strong motivation and courage at the individual level. The process includes difficult experiences and the support from the community is not any obviousness. The study contributes information about a less studied and topical viewpoint to the revitalization of indigenous languages.

Key words: Indigenous people; Language revitalization; Linguistic diversity; Language maintenance; Identity; Motivation


Indigenous people; Language revitalization; Linguistic diversity; Language maintenance; Identity; Motivation



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Copyright (c) 2013 Erika Sarivaara, Satu Uusiautti, Kaarina Määttä

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