Ter Sámi is an Eastern Sámi language spoken in the northeast of the Kola Peninsula in Russia. In 2010 only two people spoke this language.
At the end of the 19th century about 450 people spoke Ter Sámi in six villages in the east of the Kola Peninsula. During the 1930s as a result of Soviet collectivisaiton, the Ter Sámi people were forbidden to speak their language at home and in schools, and the inhabitants of the largest Ter Sámi village, Jokanga, were forced to move to the Gremikha military base in 1964. By 2004 the number of Ter Sámi people had dwindled to 100, and only two of them spoke Ter Sámi - the remainder had shifted to Russian.
The is no standard spelling system for Ter Sámi, and the language is only partly documented. There are some collections of text specimens, audio recordings and dictionaries made by linguists, but there is no grammatical description.
The British explorer Stephen Burrough compiled a short vocabulary of Ter Sámi in 1557, which was published by Richard Hakluyt. This was the first known documention of a Sámi language.
A spelling system for Ter Sámi using the Latin alphabet and based on Skolt Sámi was developed in the 1930s. After the Second World War this was replaced by a system using the Cyrillic alphabet and based on Kildin Sámi.
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Information about Ter Sámi
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Page last modified: 23.04.21
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