Southern Saamic

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The Southern Saamic languages constitute the southern branch of Western Saamic. Two languages are distinguished: Ume Saami in the north, and South Saami in the south.

Typical features of Southern Saamic include:

  • Preservation of word-final vowels in the third syllable.
  • Splitting of original short stressed vowels according to the original openness or closeness of the syllable.
  • Gemination of consonants after short stressed vowels, leading to the effect that consonantal gradation is reduced in Ume Saami and totally absent from South Saami.
  • Heavy umlaut in the stressed syllable that was strongly phonologized by neutralization of unstressed short vowels.