Seimi is spoken on the Shetland Islands by descendents of the Northern Saami. It was created by Daniel Andreasson.
Seimi -- an Overview
History and background
The Saami were taken as thralls by the Norwegian vikings to the Shetland Islands in the 9th century, where they came in contact with Irish and Scottish Gaels who had been taken as war prisoners by the vikings and used as slaves. The picts who had lived on the islands earlier were driven away or killed. The Saami languages was influenced by Gaelic, but mostly phonologically, and with few loan words. The vikings being the lords on the island gave the Saami slightly better status than the Gaelics. Thus the Gaelics borrowed more words into their languages than the other way around. The Saami had strong ties to their culture and traditions and kept their language free from most Norwegian influences.
In the year 1496, the union king Kristian I gave the Shetland Islands in pledge to Scotland. This led to the vikings' almost totally disappearing from the islands. But the pledge included the slaves - both the Saami and the Gaelic ones. The Gaelic slaves were freed and came to be free men on the islands, while the Saami were kept as thralls. The Saami serfs however were almost as many as the freed Gaelics plus Scottish newcomers and settlers and five years after Scotland's take-over of the Shetland Islands, the Saami revolted in the so-called Great Saami Revolt on March 23rd 1501 which led to the freeing of the Saamis as well. Since then, March 23 is the greatest commemoration day of the Seimi and this year (2001) was the 500 year jubilee of the day the Seimi finally were free men. The year 2001 is a year of festivities where the traditional culture and traditions are celebrated with many festivities and parties.
The Seimi today are mostly shepherds. There are about 10,000 Seimi speakers on the islands. All of the Seimi speak their own language, which is held high by all of the Seimi and not (at least not for the moment) endangered.
The Shetland Islands
The islands are situated north east of Scotland, between the North Sea and the open Atlantic. They are windswept, low and there are no trees. The coast is broken. The weather is foggy and rainy. Of the hundred islands, only 16 are inhabited.
The biggest island is Mainland with its main town Lerwick (S. Lërwic), Yell (S. Eall) and Unst (S. Ëns). Traditional industries have been fishing, sheep and kniting, but the oil industry has grown big in the last decades.
The Seimi Language Phonology The stress is always on the first syllable. The phonemes are pronounced as in English with the following exceptions: th always [T] dh [D] j [dZ] s [S] before front vowels, otherwise [s]. -> Seimi ['SEjmI] ch always [x], ach-laut lh [l<vcl>], i.e. voiceless lateral approximant c always [k] The vowels are: i [I] e [E] a [a] o [O] or [V] u [U] ë [@] The diphthongs are: ei [Ej] ae [aj] ai [aj] ui [Uj] ea [ea] rising! Stress the [a]. ia [ja] rising! ie [jE] rising! The Verb Phrase Conjugations: indicative present bwathaidh 'to come' SG DL PL 1 bwathan bwathë bwathidh 2 bwathadh bwathveath bwathivë 3 bwatha bwathiva bwathedh godaidh 'to kill' indicative present SG DL PL 1 godan godë godidh 2 godadh godveath godivë 3 goda godiva godedh indicative past SG DL PL 1 goden godaemë godaedh 2 godedh godaedë godaeth 3 godae godaega godë Or put another way: PRES PAST I kill godan goden Thou kill godadh godedh (S)he kills goda godae We two kill godë godaemë You two kill godveath godaedë They two kill godiva godaega We kill godidh godaedh You kill godivë godaeth They kill godedh godë The Present expresses both present and future. Examples daeselaidh goddi mis giall fight death GEN language 'Fight language extinction!' lwodadh giall create language 'Create a language!' Daeselaidh goddi mis giall! Lwodadh giall! ['[email protected] 'gOd:I mIs 'gjal: 'lwOdaD 'gjal:] Isae minn [Our Father] Isae minn gae lea daevas is. Leachedh raesaidh namma mis donn. Bwathëchedh mà mis donn. Adaidh mijaedh siemën buivim minn buivi deith. Our father Our father who is in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Come your kingdom. Give us today our daily bread. "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." - Albert Szent-Györgyi Lea eica waenaidh mae bwochath waenë Is discovery see what:REL all saw ja jordhëchaidh mae gothëje jordhëchë. and think what:REL no-one thought. Nhwolgadhus mis moreil Lea lichëlas sonn gean nhwolgadhus mis moreil lea, ath cwodal seatha jurdëlaidh sonn geill. Jordhëchae Nero easa bwochëweisu ala, ath lei dath bwolin geill jala. Eibël, munn ejen cwaewëlaidh sonn, chealcae Cein, muth lei sonn ilmanith ban. Lea lichëlas sonn gean nhwolgadhus mis moreil lea, ath cwodal seatha jurdëlaidh sonn geill. Interlinear: Lea lichëlas sonn gean nhwolgadhus mis moreil be:3SG:PRS happy 3SG who:GEN rule GEN moral 'Happy is he, who has as his guiding principle' lea, ath cwodal seatha jurdëlaidh sonn geill. be:3SG:PRS that before should:3SG:PRS think:INF 3SG probably 'that you should probably think before you act.' Jordhëchae Nero easa bwochëweisu ala, thought Nero not:until hospital in 'Not until at the hospital, did Nero think' ath lei dath bwolin geill jala*. that was that fire probably crazy 'that that fire thing was probably insane.' [ jala is mostly used of persons, but is here for rhyming purposes. ] Eibël, ejen cwaewëlaidh munn sonn, Abel not:1SG:PAST mean:INF 1SG 3SG 'Hey, Abel, I didn't mean it,' chealcae Cein, muth lei sonn ilmanith ban. say:3SG:PAST Cain but was it too:late then. 'said Cain, but then it was too late.' Lea lichëlas sonn gean nhwolgadhus mis moreil is happy 3SG whose rule of moral 'Happy is he, who has as his guiding principle' lea, ath cwodal seatha jurdëlaidh sonn geill. is that before should think 3SG probably 'that you should probably think before you act.' A Seimi Farewell Phrase "May your sheep always be wooly." Leajaidh seivza du eilo ullujei. Leajaidh seivza du eilo ullujei be sheep of:you always wooly Short wordlist in non-alphabetical order sheep seivza always eilo forever ajibeaivei wool ullu wooly ullujei be leaidh small ucha small wunni small, minute meann (gael. borrowing) mieow v. nheivuidh mieow n. nheivu mieow n. miamhail / meam (onomatopoetic) discover eicaidh discovery eica see waenaidh what, which, what kind mae everyone, all bwochath everything, all bwoth and ja think jordhëchaidh no one gothëje I munn you donn we mae this deith that dwoth who gae not ae all bwoth many meicha one ochta two gwochtë big stworis long gëlhi small ënni woman nëssu man diavud person ammos fish gwoli bird lodhi dog beannë louse dilhi tree mworrë seed siemën leaf lasta root rwothas bark beircu skin laeci flesh cwaji blood varra bone deici grease voja egg monni horn cwarvi tail seaibi give adaidh green rwonas
© 2001-2005 daniel andréasson | all rights reserved | rev 2001.03.28