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Davvisámegielat čálamáhtu konteaksta [The context of North Sámi literacy]
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies. (Kirk P. H. Sullivan, Eva Lindgren, Asbjørg Westum)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6157-2879
2015 (Sami languages (Other))In: Sámi dieđalaš áigečála, ISSN 0805-4312, no 1, 29-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The context of North Sámi literacy

This article sets out to unravel the contexts of Sámi literacy that are necessarily and unavoidably intertwined with the bilingual and biliterate actuality of the Sámi learners in North Sámi speaking regions of Sápmi in Sweden, Norway and Finland. The study presented in this paper is a language sociological cross-sectional case study. Our primary material consists of the 128 questionnaires that were gathered from 9 and 12 year old North Sámi learners and their parents during the school year 2012-2013. We have approached and analysed the questionnaire data using the Hornbergian Continua of Biliteracy theoretical framework as our main conceptual tool.

According to our findings Sámi language is often conceived of as being a difficult language to write and having more value when spoken fluently. Such views seems to, in turn, have negative effects on how literacy skills in Sámi are perceived both by the pupils and their parents. Paradoxically, when placed on the scales of the Continua of Biliteracy framework, we see that the literacy context of many young Sámi learners of today is limited to the literary realm of school, and to literate rather than oral contexts. Our findings further implicate that there are substantial interregional differences in the state of Sámi literacy that are due to as well ideological as practical factors that arise in this complex bi- and multilingual context. Although some regions are coping better with reaching balanced biliteracy and good Sámi litercy skills among Sámi learners, Sámi literacy practices everywhere are in need of special attention and focused measures so that they can withstand the pressures that in the present cause considerable lack of balance in many Sámi learners biliteracy scales.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tromsø, 2015. no 1, 29-59 p.
Keyword [en]
literacy, Continua of Biliteracy, methodology, sociolinguistics, North Sámi
Keyword
čálamáhttu, guovttegielat čálamáhttu joatkašuvvi skálat, metodihkka, sosiolingvistihkka, davvisámegiella
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Finno-Ugric Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101329OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-101329DiVA: diva2:798656
Projects
Literacy in Sápmi: Multilingualism, revitalization and literacy development in the global north
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-6153
Available from: 2015-03-27 Created: 2015-03-27 Last updated: 2016-06-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Multilingual literacy among young learners of North Sámi: contexts, complexity and writing in Sápmi
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multilingual literacy among young learners of North Sámi: contexts, complexity and writing in Sápmi
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Flerspråkig literacitet bland elever som studerar nordsamiska : kontexter, komplexitet och skrivande i Sápmi
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents an investigation of the complexities of the immediate, ideological, educational, and societal contexts for literacy development among North Sámi learners between the ages of 9 and 15 who live in Northern Finland, Norway and Sweden in the central regions of Sápmi. Further, this thesis focuses on one area of literacy, namely writing. It examines these children’s writing, its phases and peculiarities, writing strategies, and the nature of transitions that these multilingual writers experience in switching between North Sámi, English and their respective national majority language. The main body of the collected materials consists of computer mediated pupil texts that the author gathered at 10 schools that arranged compulsory schooling in Central Sápmi during the school year 2012-2013. The texts were collected using keytroke logging methodology that not only records the final written product but also keeps track of changes and other writing activity during the writing session. Other materials collected and analyzed in this study include questionnaires addressed to the pupils, their parents, and to their language teachers. The materials also include detailed interviews with with 24 teachers from the participating schools. This study consists of six individual papers that focus at 1) research methodological aspects that concern studying Indigenous populations, 2) language attitudes, ideologies and available language arenas that have an impact on biliteracy emergence in North Sámi speaking Sápmi, or 3) the qualities and characteristics of multilingual pupil's writing and texts. The implications of the six individual papers are analyzed with respect to language revitalization and biliteracy emergence using the Hornbergian Continua of Biliteracy as the overarching theoretical framework. North Sámi, English and the national majority languages in the respective countries are constantly present in the lives of Sámi learners. Young Sámi learners grow up to be multilingual citizens of the global north through this extensive exposure to many languages and cultures from multiple sources such as popular culture, literature, media, community, tourism, and school. In their writing, multilingual Sámi learners show a wide spectrum of strategies and knowledge that carries over from one language to another. Nevertheless, most young Sámi learners cannot draw on equally many points on their Continua of Biliteracy in all their languages. Due to factors such as scarcity of adequate teaching materials, lack of popular culture and media content in Sámi languages, and language compartmentalizing language ideologies, the scales on the continua of biliteracy are in severe imbalance for many Sámi learners. Many Sámi learners risk losing their indigenous heritage language because the non-indigenous languages are prevalent in school as well as out of school contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2015. 113 p.
Series
Umeå studies in language and literature, 27
Keyword
bilingualism, complexity, Continua of Biliteracy, diversity, global North, keytroke logging, learners, literacy, Nordic Countries, North Sámi, Sápmi, school, writing
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Finno-Ugric Languages
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-102922 (URN)978-91-7601-284-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-11, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 15:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Literacy in Sápmi: multilingualism, revitalization and literacy development in the global north (Vetenskapsrådet 2011-6153)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-6153
Available from: 2015-05-20 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-06-09Bibliographically approved

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