The University of Oulu holds the national responsibility to develop the highest education and research on Saami language and culture.
Cultural studies do include some studies in the Saami language, and Saami Culture is naturally a suitable minor subject for students of the language, so the two subjects complement each other very well. The Giellagas Institute has offered North Saami as a major subject since its establishment in 2001 and Saami Culture since 2004, in order to train researchers, teachers and other professionals who have a profound knowledge of Saami cultures and languages.
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The Giellagas Institute for Saami Studies
Marjatta Jomppanen, Tel. +358 50 3080 682
E-mail: marjatta.jomppanen (at) oulu.fi
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The purpose of the subject is to educate versatile and skilled language professionals for the needs of the Sámi community. Graduates of Saami Language are employed for instance in teaching and research positions, in Saami media, as experts in translation and language planning, administratorial positions and in the field of language technology. Studying Saami, conducting research of one’s own and getting to know the working life improve the students’ possibilities to be employed in a position of their liking after graduation. The studens familiarize themselves with the working life already during their studies, and a training period is included in the Bachelor’s Degree.
Saami Language is primarily meant for native speakers of Saami and those who have a fluent command of the Saami language. Students who do not speak Saami as their native language and who do not have a fluent command of the language improve their language competence by completing basic and subject studies in Saami as a foreign language (as applicable) when completing their major subject studies in Saami (as a native language).
The study of the Saami language is a field of Humanities that teaches and conducts research in the structure and use of the language, spoken and written language, theoretical and practical language planning, and language variation and development. At the University of Oulu, focal areas are language structure and use.
The Giellagas Institute offers two lines of study in Saami languages: Inari Saami and North Saami. Other subjects offered by the Giellagas Institute include North Saami as a Foreign Language and Saami Culture.
Learning objectives at different levels
Basic Studies 25 s p
Students have a command of the key issues of grammar, spelling and norms of North Saami and are able to produce various kinds of texts. Students are able to describe the main features of word phonology, morphophonology and syntactic morphology of North Saami. Students actively extend their vocabularies and are able to pay informed attention to enriching their language. Students are also familiar with Saami literature.
Intermediate Studies 45 sp
Students have a command of Saami grammar and spelling and are able to maintain their skills independently. They extend their written and spoken use of Saami and are able to produce academic texts. They are also familiar with the main lines of development of the Saami language. Students improve their skills in lexicological work.
Advanced studies 80 sp
Students have strong skills in spoken and written Saami. They write, translate and revise demanding texts. They have a good command of various text types, ways and styles of language use and employ Saami also in academic communication. Students have a command of not only the practical use of Saami grammar but also of analyzing it from different theoretical viewpoints. They have a comprehensive understanding of Saami as an object of linguistic research. They have acquired extensive knowledge of research areas that are of interest to themselves and are able to plan and carry out research independently.
Learning objectives at different levels
Having completed the Basic Studies package, students have a good command of the basic grammar of Inari Saami and are able to use the language in everyday contexts in both speaking and writing. Students also have a good command of the key concepts in research on Inari Saami and are familiar with the status of the language and the characteristics of Inari Saami culture.
Having completed the Intermediate Studies package in Inari Saami, students have an in-depth understanding of the structures of Inari Saami. They are also familiar with the establishment of literary Inari Saami and its development to its present form. Furthermore, students deepen their knowledge of different fields of research on the language. Students have a good command of the basics of academic writing and are able to prepare brief academic studies, compositions and other oral or written presentations, drawing on primary and secondary materials.
Having completed the Advanced Studies package in Inari Saami, students have an in-depth understanding of the structures of the language. They are able to work independently and draw on primary and secondary sources in their own research. They are also able to work independently as experts in various fields that concern language.
The curriculum will be announced at the start of each semester and can be found on WebOodi.
Overview of the subject
In addition to providing students with an understanding of the Saami cultural heritage, the subject familiarizes them with the Saami culture and society of today. The development of Saami culture is connected with the historical, social and juridical conditions of the Nordic countries and Russia. Saami culture is set in a larger context and examined from the viewpoint of indigenous peoples, especially of the North, who share similar natural conditions, historical developments and claims for maintaining their traditional rights.
In addition to offering students the possibility to become researchers and teachers, studies in Saami Culture prepare them for a range of tasks in the domain of culture, not only within the Saami area in Finland but also in other Nordic countries and various international contexts. Cultural professionals are needed in Saami, municipal and state administration as well as in various cultural events, organizations and projects in art and culture.
Suitable minor subjects include, for example, Saami Language, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, Finnish and Scandinavian History, Archaeology, Information Studies and Cultural Geography at the University of Oulu or Administrative Science, Environmental Law and International Relations at the University of Lapland. The degree also includes studies in the Saami language that aim at practical language skills.
Learning objectives at different levels
Having completed the Basic Studies package in Saami Culture, students are familiar with the main features of Saami culture and its historical and regional variation. Students will have a basic understanding of, for example, Sámi history, means of livelihood, society, traditional knowledge and indigenous peoples as well as of the processes of carrying out research in general. The studies are based on lectures that are supplemented with readings for examinations, article folders and various exercises.
Having completed the Intermediate Studies package, students have an in-depth understanding of the Saami as part of indigenous communities. Students are capable of academic writing, presentation and discussion. They are also able critically to draw on source materials, analyze data and apply various methods to carry out research. As students progress from Basic Studies to Intermediate Studies, the emphasis shifts to research and methodology: in addition to a theoretical section, the Intermediate Studies package includes a Bachelor's thesis and related seminar work. The Intermediate Studies package includes an elective course that offers students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge on topics of their interest by familiarizing themselves with appropriate readings, for example, or to gain practical experience through a period of work practice. The specific aim of the Intermediate Studies package is for students to gain their Bachelor's degree in humanities.
Having completed the Advanced Studies package, students have a comprehensive, up-to-date understanding of Saami culture and changes in it as well as of the development of the Saami society in the Nordic countries and Russia. Students are able to describe, analyze and assess Saami culture to an increasing degree, first and foremost from the viewpoint of indigenous peoples in the North. Furthermore, students have the academic and practical ability to carry out research and to apply the findings of their own research area, among other things, when acting as experts.
The Giellagas Institute for Saami Studies Minor Subjects -poster (pdf)
The courses 683400P Basic Course in the North Saami Language (5 ECTS credits) and 683401P Advanced Course in the North Saami Language (5 ECTS credits) are compulsory for students of Saami Culture for whom Saami is a foreign language.
All students enrolled at the University of Oulu and registered as present are allowed to have the Basic Studies of North Saami as a Foreign Language as their subsidiary (minor) subject. It is a suitable subsidiary subject for students of Finnish, foreign languages, history and information studies, for instance, as well as students studying to become class teachers. Additionally, students who have already completed the Basic and Advanced Course in the North Saami Language may expand their studies and have Saami as a subsidiary subject.
After the completion of the Basic Studies (25 ECTS credits), if students want to minor in North Saami, they are to take an entrance exam for minor students held at the beginning of the autumn term and to display a good command of North Saami. The structure of the test is similar to the entrance exam organised in the summer. It consists of the following parts: a written exam (mastery of the structures, grammar rules, language planning and terminology of North Saami), a written production of Saami and a 20-minute interview in North Saami.
Study guidance is provided by the University Lecturer tel. +358 50 308 0682 and University Teacher tel. +358 50 350 6504.
North Saami as a Foreign Language
It is possible to complete the Basic Studies (25 ECTS credits) of North Saami as a Foreign Language. The aim of the studies is to provide the students with good written and oral skills in the North Saami Language. No previous studies are required.
Upon completion of the Basic Studies package, students will be able to use North Saami in different situations that require oral and written skills, and they will be able to read various texts in North Saami. After completing the Basic Studies, students will be able to fluently use written and spoken Saami and follow teaching in Saami.
683400P Basic Course in the North Saami Language (5 ECTS credits)
683401P Advanced Course in the North Saami Language (5 ECTS credits)
683402P Written Use of the North Saami Language (5 ECTS credits)
683403P Spoken Use of the North Saami Language I (5 ECTS credits)
683475P Spoken Use of the North Saami Language II (5 ECTS credit)
Skolt Saami studies are intended for students who speak Skolt Saami natively or have a fluent command of the language. You are eligible for Skolt Saami studies if you are a degree student at the University of Oulu or have the right to non-degree studies. Before you can enroll for Skolt Saami courses, you have to participate in a placement test and pass it.
Skolt Saami basic studies
Skolt Saami basic studies (25 ECTS) give the student knowledge and skills that are necessary for linguistic description and analysis of the structure of Skolt Saami, i.e. phonology, morphology and syntax. In addition, the studies improve and deepen the student’s active command of the language in terms of vocabulary, written production and translation.
GieKu is a registered association for students of Saami Language and Saami Culture at the University of Oulu. Its purpose is to bring students together as well as to support and promote their studies. GieKu organizes various parties and get-togethers, such as sauna evenings and Christmas parties, and keeps in contact with other student associations and universities.
GieKu welcomes as members all students of Saami Language and Saami Culture at the Giellagas Institute and all Saami studying at the University of Oulu. Students of Saami Language and Saami Culture wear a dark grey overall, which was introduced in spring 2005.
Last updated: 1.12.2017