Akkala Sami language

Akkala Sami language
Akkala Sami
Spoken in Southwest Kola Peninsula, Russia
Extinct 2003
Language family
  • Sami
    • Eastern
      • Mainland
        • Akkala Sami
Writing system Cyrillic
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sia

Akkala Sami is a Sami language that was spoken in the Sami villages of A´kkel and Ču´kksuâl, in the inland parts of the Kola Peninsula in Russia. Formerly erroneously regarded as a dialect of Kildin Sami, it has recently become recognized as an independent Sami language that is most closely related to its western neighbor Skolt Sami.

Akkala Sami is the most endangered eastern Sami language. On December 29, 2003, Marja Sergina – one of the last fluent native speakers of Akkala Sami – died.[1][2] However, there are at least two people, both aged 70, with some knowledge of Akkala Sami.

Although there exist a description of Akkala Sami phonology and morphology, a few published texts and archived audio recordings[3] the Akkala Sami language remains among the most poorly documented Sami languages.




The following overview is based on P.M. Zajkov’s monograph.[4] Zajkov’s Uralic phonetic transcription is retained here. The middle dot ˑ denotes palatalization of the preceding consonant, analyzed by Zajkov as semisoft pronunciation.


Akkala Sami has 8 cases, singular and plural: nominative, genitive-accusative, partitive, dative-illative, locative, essive, comitative and abessive. Case and number are expressed by a combination of endings and consonant gradation:

  • Nominative: no marker in the singular, weak grade in the plural.
  • Genitive-accusative: weak grade in the singular, weak grade + -i in the plural.
  • Partitive: this case exists only in the singular, and has the ending -tti͔.
  • Dative-illative: strong grade + -a, -a͕ or in the singular, weak grade + -i in the plural.
  • Locative: weak grade + -st, -śtˑ in the singular, weak grade + -nˑ in the plural.
  • Essive: this case exists only in the singular: strong grade + -nˑ.
  • Comitative: weak grade + -nˑ in the singular, strong grade + -guim, -vuim or -vi̮i̭m in the plural.
  • Abessive: weak grade + -ta in the singular.


The table below gives the declension of the personal pronouns monn ‘I’ and mij ‘we’. The pronouns tonn ‘you (sg.)’ and sonn ‘(s)he’ are declined like monn, the pronouns tij ‘you (pl.)’ and sij ‘they’ are declined like mij.

  Singular Plural
Nominative monn mij
Genitive-Accusative mii̭ji
Essive munˑ ---
Dative-illative munˑnˑa͔ mii̭ji
Locative muśtˑ miśtˑ
Comitative muinˑ mii̭jivuim
Abessive muta mii̭ta

The interrogative pronouns ‘what?’ and tˑī, ‘who?’ are declined as follows:

  ‘what?’ tˑī, ‘who?’
Nominative tˑī, kī
Genitive-Accusative mi̮n t́an, ḱan
Dative-illative mi̮z koz
Locative mi̮st kośtˑ
Comitative mi̮i̭nˑ ḱainˑ
Abessive mi̮nta ḱanta

The proximal demonstrative tˑa͕t ‘this’ and the medial demonstrative ti̮t ‘that’ are declined as follows:

  Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative tˑa͕t tˑa͕k ti̮t ti̮k
Genitive-Accusative tˑa͕nˑ tˑa͕i ti̮n ti̮i̭
Essive tˑa͕inˑ --- ti̮i̭nˑ ---
Dative-illative tˑa͕z tˑai(t) ti̮k, ti̮z ti̮i̭(t)
Locative tˑa͕śtˑ tˑa͕in ti̮śtˑ ti̮i̼(n)
Comitative tˑa͕inˑ tˑa͕ivuim ti̮i̭nˑ ti̮i̭vuim
Abessive tˑa͕ta tˑa͕ita ti̮ta ti̮i̭ta


Akkala Sami verbs have three persons and two numbers, singular and plural. There are three moods: indicative, imperative and conditional; the potential mood has disappeared. Below, the paradigm of the verbs va͕n̄ˑće ‘to walk’ and korrɛ ‘to knit’ is given in the present and imperfect tense:

  Present Imperfect Present Imperfect
1sg. vā͕nʒam va͕n̄ˑcim kōram korri͔m
2sg. va͕nʒak vā͕nˑcik kōrak korri͔k
3sg. va͕n̄ˑc vānˑʒi korr kōri͔
1pl. va͕n̄ˑćepˑ vānˑʒim korrɛpˑ kōri͔m
2pl. va͕nˑćepˑpˑe vānˑʒitˑ korrɛpˑpˑe kōri͔tˑ
3pl. vā͕nˑʒatˑ van̄ˑciš kōratˑ korri͔š

The verb ĺiije ‘to be’ conjugates as follows:

  Present Imperfect
1sg. ĺam ĺii̭jim
2sg. ĺak ĺiijik
3sg. ĺie ĺai
1pl. ĺepˑ ĺījim
2pl. ĺepˑpˑe ĺījitˑ
3pl. ĺetˑ ĺii̭jiš

Compound tenses such as perfect and pluperfect are formed with the verb ĺii̭je in the present or imperfect as auxiliary, and the participle of the main verb. Examples are ĺam tĭĕhtmi̮nč ‘I have known’ from tĭĕhttɛ ‘to know’, and ĺai tui̭jāma ‘(s)he had made’ from tui̭je ‘to make’.

The conditional mood has the marker , which is added to the weak grade of the stem: kuarčim ‘I would sew’, vizzčik ‘you (sg.) would become tired’.

As in other Sami languages, Akkala Sami makes use of a negative verb that conjugates according to person and number, while the main verb remains unchanged. The conjugation of the negative verb is shown here together with the verb aĺ̄ḱe ‘to begin’:

1sg. jim aĺg
2sg. jik aĺg
3sg. ij aĺg
1pl. jepˑ aĺg
2pl. jepˑpˑe aĺg
3pl. jetˑ aĺg

The 3rd person singular and plural of the verb ĺii̭je ‘to be’ have special contracted forms ɛĺĺa and jāĺa.


  1. ^ http://www.galdu.org/govat/doc/nordisk_samekonvensjon.pdf
  2. ^ Rantala, Leif, Aleftina Sergina 2009. Áhkkila sápmelaččat. Oanehis muitalus sámejoavkku birra, man maŋimuš sámegielalaš olmmoš jámii 29.12.2003. Roavvenjárga.
  3. ^ Scheller, Elisabeth 2011. The Sami Language Situation in Russia. In: "Ethnic and Linguistic Context of Identity: Finno-Ugric Minorities." Uralica Helsingiensia 5. Helsinki. 79-96.
  4. ^ Зайков, П.М. Бабинский диалект саамского языка (фонолого-морфологическое исследование). «Карелия», 1987.

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