Harman Patil

Ter Sami language

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Native to  Russia
Writing system  no writing system
Glottolog  ters1235
Native speakers  2 (2010)
ISO 639-3  sjt
Ter Sami language
Language family  Uralic Sami Eastern Sami Ter Sami

Ter Sami is the easternmost of the Sami languages. It was traditionally spoken in the northeastern part of the Kola Peninsula, but now it is a moribund language; in 2004, only ten speakers were left. By 2010, the number of speakers had decreased to two.



In the end of the 19th century, there were six Ter Sami villages in the eastern part of the Kola Peninsula, with a total population of approximately 450. In 2004, there were approximately 100 ethnic Ter Sami of whom two elderly persons speak the language; the rest have shifted their language to Russian.

The rapid decline in the number of speakers was caused by Soviet collectivisation, during which its use was prohibited in schools and homes in the 1930s, and the largest Ter Sami village, Yokanga, was declared "perspectiveless" and its inhabitants were forced to move to the Gremikha military base.


There are no educational materials or facilities in Ter Sami, and the language has no standardized orthography. The language is incompletely studied and documented; text specimens, audio recordings as well as dictionaries for linguistic purposes exist, but no grammatical description is available.

The earliest known documentation of Sami languages is a short Ter Sami vocabulary collected by the British explorer Stephen Burrough in 1557; the vocabulary was published by Richard Hakluyt.


Ter Sami language Wikipedia

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