Pite Sami
Native toNorway, Sweden
Native speakers
25 to 50 (2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sje
ELPPite Saami
Sami languages large.png
Pite Sámi is 3 on this map.

Pite Sami or Arjeplog Sámi (bidumsámegiella, Swedish: pitesamiska, Norwegian: pitesamisk) is a Sámi language traditionally spoken in Sweden and Norway. It is a critically endangered language[2] that has only about 25–50[1] native speakers left and is now only spoken on the Swedish side of the border along the Pite River in the north of Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur and in the mountainous areas of the Arjeplog municipality.


Pite Sámi is a part of the Western Sámi group, together with Southern Sámi and Ume Sámi to the south, Lule Sámi and Northern Sámi to the north. Of these, Pite Sámi shows closest affinity to Lule Sámi, but a number of features also show similarity to Ume and Southern Sámi.



The Pite Sámi consonant inventory is very similar to that found in neighbouring Lule Sámi, but lacks contrastive voicing of stops and affricates entirely.

Pite Sámi consonants
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive / Affricate p t t͡s t͡ʃ k
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ h
voiced v (ð)
Semivowel j
Lateral l
Trill r


The Pite Sámi vowel inventory has a relative lack of phonemic diphthongs, compared to other Sámi languages and particularly neighbouring Lule Sámi. Instead, there are more vowel height distinctions.

Pite Sámi vowels[3][disputed ]
Monophthongs Diphthongs
Front Back Front Back
Close i u (ie̯) (uo̯)
Close-mid e o uæ̯ uɑ̯
Open-mid ɛ ɔ ɔː
Open a

Sammallahti[4] divides Lule Sami dialects as follows:

Features of the northern dialects are:

Features of the southern dialects are:


For a long time, Pite Sámi was one of the four Sámi languages without an official written language. A working orthography was developed in 2008–2011 by the Sámi Association of Arjeplog;[5] this version was described by Joshua Wilbur and implemented in the dictionary Pitesamisk ordbok samt stavningsregler, published in 2016.[6] On August 20, 2019, an official orthography was approved for the language.[7][8] The orthography closely resembles the orthography of neighbouring Lule Sámi.

Letter Pronunciation[8] Notes
A a [ä]
Á á [äː]
B b [p]
D d [t]
Đ đ [ð]
E e [], [ɪe̯], [e]
F f [f]
G g [k]
H h [h]
I i [ɪ]
J j [j]
K k [k], [ʰk], [] Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
L l [l]
M m [m]
N n [n]
Ŋ ŋ [ŋ]
O o [], [ʊɒ̝̯]
P p [p], [ʰp], [] Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
R r [r]
S s [s]
T t [t], [ʰt], [] Postaspirated at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
Ŧ ŧ [θ]
U u [ʊ], [ʊː]
V v [ʋ]
Å å [ɒ̝], [ɒ̝ː]
Ä ä [æː]


Pite Sami diagraphs
Digraph Pronunciation[8] Notes
ie [ɪe̯]
ua [ʊä̯]
uo [ʊɒ̝̯]

Lexicographic sources

A number of (re)sources exist with extensive collections of Pite Sámi lexical items, including grammatical and (morpho)phonological information to various extents. These include:



Pite Sámi has nine cases:

The inflectional paradigm for the noun guolle 'fish' by Israel Ruong, archived at the Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore in Uppsala.
The inflectional paradigm for the noun guolle 'fish' by Israel Ruong, archived at the Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore in Uppsala.



Pite Sámi verbs conjugate for three grammatical persons:


Pite Sámi has five grammatical moods:

Grammatical number

Pite Sámi verbs conjugate for three grammatical numbers:


Pite Sámi verbs conjugate for two simple tenses:

and two compound tenses:

Negative verb

Pite Sámi, like Finnish, the other Sámi languages and Estonian, has a negative verb. In Pite Sámi, the negative verb conjugates according to mood (indicative, imperative and optative), person (1st, 2nd and 3rd) and number (singular, dual and plural). This differs from some of the other Sámi languages, e.g. from Northern Sámi, which do not conjugate according to tense and other Sámi languages, that do not use the optative.

Non-past indicative Past indicative
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
1st person iv ien iehp, iep 1 ittjiv iejmen, ittjijmen iejmeh, ittjijmeh
2nd person ih iehpen, ähpen, ihpen iehpit, ihpit 2 ittjih iejten, ittjijten iejteh, ittjijteh
3rd person ij iepá, iepán ieh 3 ittjij iejkán, ittjijka ittjin

For non-past indicative versions that have more than one form, the second one is from the dialect spoken around Björkfjället and the third is from the Svaipa dialect. The plurality in the other forms is due to parallel forms that are not bound by dialect.

Singular Dual Plural
2nd person ieleh iellen iellit
1st person alluv iellun, allun iellup, allup
2nd person alluh ielluten, alluten ielluteh, alluteh
3rd person allus ielluska, alluska ielluseh, alluseh


  1. ^ a b At least 25 speakers in 2010 according to researcher Joshua Wilbur. At least 30 active, native speakers in 2010; at least an additional 20 native speakers who do not use the language actively according to the Pite Sámi dictionary project leader Nils Henrik Bengtsson.
  2. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
  3. ^ (Wilbur 2014: 63–70)
  4. ^ Sammallahti, Pekka (1998). The Saami Languages: An Introduction. Kárášjohka: Davvi Girji.
  5. ^ (Wilbur 2014:18–19)
  6. ^ (Wilbur 2016:9-11)
  7. ^ Sunna, Anna; Päiviö, Anne Marit; Niia, Anna-Karin (19 August 2019). "Nu har pitesamiskan eget skriftspråk" [Now Pite Sámi has its own written language]. Sveriges radio (in Swedish). Sameradion & SVT Sápmi. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Pitesamisk ortografi: beslut om pitesamisk ortografi" [Pite Saami orthography : resolution on the Pite Saami orthography] (PDF) (in Swedish). Sámi Giellagáldu. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  9. ^ (Halász 1896)
  10. ^ (Lagercrantz 1939)
  11. ^ cf. the titles of Lagercrantz 1926 and Lehtiranta 1992.
  12. ^ (Qvigstad 1926)
  13. ^ (Ruong 1943)
  14. ^ (Wilbur 2016:9-10)
  15. ^ "Insamling av pitesamiska ord". Interregnord. Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2019-10-12.)
  16. ^ (Wilbur 2016)
  17. ^ Wilbur, Joshua. "Bidumsáme Báhkogirrje credits". Bidumsáme Báhkogirrje. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  18. ^ cf. credits for the app.