Dear all,

I don't have strong feelings about this issue. The spelling with "aa" is
based on the writing system for Northern Sami (which is the largest Sami
language) in Finland (avtually based on Finnish orthography). In Norway and
Sweden both the old and the new orthography uses "á" (a-acute). I have asked
a number of experts (obviously not all). There was a clear majority in
favour of "Sami" (no accent and no double a). The spelling "Saami" may be
confusing in Norway (due to the traditional "aa" = "å"), and is little known
in Sweden. However, it is clearly well known in Finland.

I asked around in connection with a paper I wrote in 1998. At that time I
was recommended to stick to "Sami".

I shall be happy to conduct a survey among experts and institutions in
Finland, Sweden and Norway. This is definitely NOT an issue for the JAC to
discuss without further expert input.

Best regards,
Håvard Hjulstad

Håvard Hjulstad    mailto:[log in to unmask]
  Solfallsveien 31
  NO-1430  Ås, Norway
  tel: +47-64944233  &  +47-64963684
  mob: +47-90145563

-----Original Message-----
From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf
Of John Clews
Sent: 28. november 2001 10:38
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Saami or Sami?

I will comment later on the detail of the proposal for Saami
languages recently submitted by Haavard and Sten.

In the meantime, could JAC members also comment on the following?

In my view all additions to, and revisions of, any part of ISO 639
should use the term Saami for the English name. The justification
(rather strong) is below.

Both "the Norwegian Saami Language Council as well as the Finnish
Saami Language Council have decided to use the name Saami as the
English term for the former Lappish, thus leaving out Sami" (both
with and without an acute accent on the letter a). "It is expected
that the Swedish Language Council will follow these decisions. This
means that Saami is the form which ought to be used officially." [1]

Saami is also the term used by Isayev when writing about Saami in
Russia. [2]


[1] Ringstam, Hans (Sweden) - Standardization in multilingual areas:
the Saami languages in Norden. - New York: United Nations, 2000.
(Working paper - United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical
Names Twentieth Session, New York, 17-28 January 2000, no.66)

[2] M.I. Isayev - National languages of the USSR: problems and
solutions. - Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977.

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews,
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
Email: [log in to unmask]
tel: +44 1423 888 432;

Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37: Terminology