What countries use Sami as their primary language?

What countries use Sami as their primary language?

In this article, we will explore the countries where Sami is spoken as the primary language. Sami is an indigenous language spoken by the Sami people, who inhabit the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. With a rich cultural heritage and a unique linguistic identity, Sami serves as the official language in certain areas within these countries. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of Sami language and discover the countries that embrace its rich linguistic heritage.

Sami as a primary language in Scandinavia


Norway is one of the countries where Sami is spoken as a primary language. The Sami people, also known as the Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous inhabitants of northern Norway. In certain regions of Norway, particularly in the northernmost parts, Sami is recognized as an official language alongside Norwegian. The Sami language has several dialects, and each dialect is associated with different regions in Norway.

The Norwegian government has implemented measures to preserve and protect the Sami language. Sami language schools have been established to provide education in Sami, and efforts are made to promote bilingualism among the Sami population. Additionally, there are initiatives to increase awareness and cultural understanding of the Sami people and their language in Norway.


Similar to Norway, Sweden is another Scandinavian country where Sami is considered a primary language. The Sami population in Sweden resides primarily in the northern regions of the country, such as Lapland. The Sami language holds official recognition in Sweden, and efforts are made to support and maintain its usage.

In Sweden, there are Sami language schools and educational programs that aim to preserve and develop the Sami language. The Swedish government also supports the publication of literature and media in Sami, contributing to the promotion and visibility of the language. The Sami people in Sweden have the right to use Sami in interactions with public authorities, further reinforcing its status as a primary language in the country.


In Finland, Sami is recognized as an official language in the northernmost parts of the country. The Sami people in Finland have their own parliament, called the Sámi Parliament of Finland, which works towards protecting and promoting the Sami language and culture.

Efforts are made to ensure that the Sami language is integrated into various aspects of society, including education, administration, and media. Sami language services are provided in public administration, and Sami language education is available in schools. The Finnish government actively supports initiatives that aim to strengthen the status and usage of Sami as a primary language in Finland.

Overall, Sami holds significant importance as a primary language in Scandinavia, particularly in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. These countries recognize the cultural significance and uniqueness of the Sami language, and efforts are continuously made to preserve, develop, and promote its usage among the Sami population.

Sami as a minority language in other countries


In addition to being spoken in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of Russia, the Sami language also holds minority status in Russia. The Sami people, who are traditionally nomadic reindeer herders, have inhabited the Kola Peninsula in Russia for centuries. Despite the relatively small number of Sami speakers in Russia, estimated to be around 1,500 individuals, the language continues to be a vital part of their cultural heritage.

The Sami language in Russia faces challenges similar to those in other countries where it is spoken. The influence of dominant languages and cultural assimilation poses a threat to the preservation and development of the Sami language. However, efforts are being made to safeguard the language and promote its usage. The Sami people in Russia have established cultural organizations, schools, and language revitalization programs to ensure the survival of their language and cultural identity.


Estonia, a country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, is another place where Sami is recognized as a minority language. Although the number of Sami speakers in Estonia is relatively small, the government has acknowledged the importance of preserving linguistic diversity within its borders. The Sami language in Estonia is primarily spoken by the Seto people, an indigenous Finno-Ugric community with cultural ties to the Sami people.

The Seto people in Estonia have a distinct cultural heritage and language that sets them apart from the majority Estonian population. With the support of local authorities, the Seto language is taught in schools and cultural events are organized to celebrate and promote the Seto-Sami identity. Despite the challenges of language revitalization and the influence of the dominant Estonian language, the Sami language continues to be cherished and nurtured by the Seto community in Estonia.

In conclusion, while Sami is primarily spoken in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of Russia, it also holds minority language status in countries like Russia and Estonia. Despite the challenges faced by Sami speakers outside its core regions, efforts are being made to preserve and promote the language, ensuring its cultural significance and the identity of the Sami people in these countries.

In conclusion, Sami is primarily spoken in four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. While it may not be the dominant language in these countries, efforts are being made to preserve and promote the use of Sami among the indigenous communities. As globalization continues to impact languages worldwide, it is crucial to recognize and support the preservation of endangered languages like Sami, as they represent the rich cultural heritage of these countries.

Share This Post: