A member of the Research Centre for the Languages of Finland says he
is not happy with the Sami proposals, and will get back to me when he
has consulted their Sami expert.
My own view? There are not very many speakers of any of these Samic
languages, and there are not very many books printed in them.
According to Pekka Sammallahti, 75% of all Sami speakers speak
Northern Sami. He gives the following populations (SIL figures in
parentheses after, but these seem rather inflated for the smaller
Northern Sami: 17000 speakers (16600)
Lule Sami: 2000-3000 speakers (2000)
Kildin Sami: 650 speakers (1000)
Southern Sami 300-500 speakers (5000)
Skolt Sami 300-500 speakers (1000)
Inari Sami: 300-500 speakers (400)
Ume Sami: mainly old speakers (5000)
Pite Sami: mainly old speakers (1000)
Ter Sami: mainly old speakers (500)
Akkala Sami: mainly old speakers (--)
Having said this, some of these languages have official or
semi-official status, are taught in schools, etc. I've met speakers
of Inari Sami myself.
IANA registered a number of Chinese languages as zh-langname; these
have many millions of speakers. If the JAC does not accept any or all
of these, we could easily register smi-inari etc., which could still
meet user needs for language tagging.
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com