Thursday, August 19, 2010

links to Sámi-language related pages

You should certainly look up the Sámi language entries on Wikipedia for some basic information, but I found it frustrating that a lot of their references are broken links. All the links in this post do work! Or at least they did when I added them.

I'm particularly interested in South Sámi, but the most practical variety to explore first is North Sámi, because there's a lot more material.(North Sámi has c. 20,000 speakers, Lule Sámi has c. 2,000, none of the others has more than a few hundred.) There is currently a drive to describe the dozen varieties of Sámi as dialects of a single language, rather than as a dozen separate languages (this is in order to emphasize that the Sami are one people).

* means recommended - that is to say, recommended for anyone like me who doesn't know any of the Sámi languages but is kind of generally interested in an irresponsible poetical personal sort of way. I particularly recommend the audio courses in North Sámi and Lule Sámi - even if you don't know any Swedish, you can listen to the audio samples and probably work out what's going on.


(webzine on Sami matters, published by the Sami Information Center (run by the Sámi Parliament in Sweden), in Swedish and English)

* (communication platform administered by the Sámi Education Center in Jokkmokk. Useful to compare the text of the main pages in Lule, North and South Sámi - as well as Swedish, English, and Finnish. Contributors write in various languages, most commonly Swedish)

(Illustrated lexicon by topic, for various languages/dialects including North Sámi, Lule Sámi and South Sámi alongside Danish, English, etc. NB For unexplained reasons the first topic page, which is about family relationships, always seems to be in Swedish, but the other pages look fine.)

NORTH SÁMI (DAVVI) English, with North Sámi tourist phrases)
(larger vocabulary North Sámi - English)

(starter course in North Sámi, in Swedish – with audio)
(Lone Synnøve Hegg, Existential School History from Loppa – in North Sámi, with translation in Norwegian.)
("YOU DECIDE" Pamphlets for young people issued by Norwegian govt, on social networking - in North Sámi)
(The Sami Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association website – in North Sámi)

(Lisa Monica Aslaksen's literature thesis - in North Sami)

(Inari site in English about reindeer herding, with some reindeer-herding-related vocabulary)
(small vocabulary Inari Sámi - English)

(Inari Sámi service book)


(starter courses in Lule Sámi, in Swedish – with audio)
(Photo of two-page spread in old Lule Sámi Hymnbook, taken by Olve Utne)


(Reports and interviews from South-Sámi camping school, by Inger Johansen. With translation into North Sámi and Norwegian - note that, confusingly, the North-Sámi word for South Sámi is "lullisámi"! There's a lot of other interesting stuff on this site (mainly in North Sámi) that I haven't had time to look at yet.)
(South Sámi grammar; in Norwegian)
(same thing in Swedish)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

False Oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius)

False Oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), a ubiquitous coarse grass. In late July/August, at the point when most of the seeds have been shed and the papery-transparent glumes remain on the stems, it becomes a light-show, nothing in itself and everything in the mass.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

vast quantities

In your face and in your eyes
concealed skies;
what made you, what dominated you, and what prevented you.

That's what I love,
what you had no choice in, what afflicts you every day.
You, you, you...
This is the real you, the quiddity of reactionary priests.

oh those details: the poverty, the grandmothers,
the big suitcase, the terrifying shadow:
we both love them
It is beautiful, I promise you

the skies of your native past
turquoise heroic
lit up your eyes

your possession!

it's only a question of this: do the chains matter?
isn't it far better to buckle down?
Relax, carrot and blossom-honey, friendship.

but you fight in the shallows
I will change
I don't want you to
I don't love
your change.
remember, happy times too?
That's how I'm behaving!

Bubbles from their eyes
Floating in
The bucket.

the concealed
ignorance bliss

let's go and tend your grave.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

specimens of the literature of Sweden - bottle of Ramlösa

I've extended my obsessive researches (typically collected in one week of every year) to include artefacts.

An everyday item, this: a bottle of Ramlösa, a famous naturally-effervescent mineral water ("kolsyrat naturligt mineralvatten") from a spring (Hälsobrunn) in Helsingborg in Skåne.

Mineral analysis:

Natrium (Sodium) 210mg
Kalcium 3mg
Kalium (Potassium) 2mg
Magnesium 0,5mg
Vätekarbonat (Bicarbonate) 520mg
Klorid 21mg
Sulfat 6mg
Fluorid 2,7mg

Names of the elements. Swedish compared with English uses some element names that better match the symbols (Kalium, Natrium). But it has a different name for carbon: "Kol", which also may mean coal or charcoal, though these can also be distinguished as "stenkol" (stone-coal) and "träkol" (tree-coal) respectively.

It also has a different name for hydrogen - "Väte". From my parochial English viewpoint this came as a surprise. After all hydrogen was not discovered until 1766 (Henry Cavendish, London) and was given its name by Lavoisier (1743-94) from the Greek, meaning water-generator. But the Swedish word is cognate with a range of terms in other European languages, e.g. German "Wasserstoff", Finnish "vety", Polish "wodór", Czech "vodík" etc.

"Kolsyrat" - literally carbon-soured, meaning "carbonated". This refers to carbonation, i.e. dissolved carbon dioxide in the water, making it effervescent. A very small percentage (0.2-1%) of this CO2 reacts with the water(H2O) to produce carbonic acid (H2CO3). ("syra" also means acid). This is why it's sometimes been claimed that fizzy water can damage your teeth - but the effect is said to be negligible (hundreds of times less) compared to the sugar in a soft drink.

This water's natural carbonation has probably a direct connection with its high bicarbonate content, though bicarbonate is a negative ion (HCO3-) found in still mineral waters too (e.g. Evian, 360mg). ("Natural" carbonation is a term with nuances, e.g. Perrier water is not bottled just as it comes from the spring but is a recombination of gas and water extracted separately.)  Anyway, here the philological question is about English: why do we call it BIcarbonate? The term arose because it takes twice as many bicarbonate ions (HCO3-) as carbonate ions (CO3--) to neutralize an acid. This term is now deprecated. Instead, it's recommended to use the term hydrogencarbonate (cf. "vätekarbonat" in Swedish).

[Note (2012): I now have a bottle of Still Ramlösa. The mineral analysis is:

Ca 72mg
Na 11mg
Mg 9.6mg
K 3.5 mg
HCO3 213mg
SO4 31mg
Cl 26mg
F 0.3mg

Completely different, in other words. This is because it comes from a different spring, known as "Jacobs källa". Whereas the carbonated water comes from "Döbelius källa". Johan Jacob Döbelius was the 1707 founder of the health spa around these springs.]

Anyhow, there's not much poetry in this. I bought this bottle at Skavsta airport when I was flying home. Airports are where I usually find those iconic things like Dala horses and bottles of Ramlösa - Once off into the country, these things are seen to be mere dots clustering around the tourist concourses. But the hoarse, slightly tangy water sustained me through many small hours. I got to Stansted OK, picked up my van at midnight and found the M25 East was closed, so I drove unsteadily all the way round the west of London to get to E.Sussex, where I was to spend what was left of the night. I never saw so many cones in my life.


I forgot to mention one more thing about this bottle (labels are much more complicated spaces than poems). It's this:

1 KR

Yes - in Sweden you get a deposit back by returning plastic bottles. (1 krona = about 10p.)


When we no longer value the authentic, office-water-cooler-collectors will seek out Borg & Overström product (which has nothing to do with Scandinavia) with the same enthusiasm that we currently buy Superdry clothing (which has nothing to do with Japan).


[Other mineral waters that you find in Sweden:
PREMIER - Saxhyttans källa i Jeppetorp (Västmanland) - weakly mineralised. Some people like their water weakly mineralized, e.g. the Norwegian Isklar (glacial) or the Spanish Bezoya. I think they're nice cold (especially Isklar), but at room temperature I definitely prefer the bite of a water with plenty of carbonates, e.g. Evian.
AQUAD'OR - the spring is in Brande in Jylland (Denmark) - hydrogencarbonate 120 mg/litre, an averagely mineralized water. Widely sold. ]


Powered by Blogger