Tue, 19 Feb 2002 00:29:57 GMT
, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: RE: Sami
X-Mailer: PCElm 1.12 beta 3
> Yes, I agree, the -aa- is certainly unnecessary in English, it's
> just a quirk of *Finnish* ortography (though, of course, the Sami
> living in Finnish, or sources quoting those Sami, might use it,
> because that's how they often see it spelled in Finland)
As a speaker of English, living in England, I maintain that it's not
true that "the -aa- is certainly unnecessary in English."
The string "aa" is actually very helpful, and arguably necessary in
English, as I indicate below.
The string "aa" is widely used in film titles on Indian cinemas and
in TV listings for films in this country, and widely used and
recognised, and this has crept into English use (and not just
recently - for decades, even prior to independence). Many people in
the UK will be familiar with this usage.
This use of "aa" is also familiar to millions in India.
However, "a" alone is capable of a wide variety of interpretations:
the "a" in "have a bun", "amen", "garage" produce about 5 or 6
different sounds related to "a" among different English speaking users.
In addition, the name "Sammy" with its usual short "a" pronunciation
is what many people will supply when they see the name "Sami" without
knowing the name.
Again, the interjection "Aah" is well used, but its pronunciation is
generally fixed with a long "a" and rhyming with "Saami." That's
probably the only "natural" English language word I can think of.
Thus the term Saami is prefered
(a) as it fits with English language expectations;
(b) as the Sami language councils in Scandinavia recommend it as an
(c) as it is also coming into more general use in reference works;
(d) as it's also listed that way in the Ethnologue, which is the most
widely cited linguistic reference work for names of languages.
"Sami" by contrast is too ambivalent in possible pronunciation.
If you want to see the language name mispronounced, or cater for
older usage, fine.
However, there's no point in trying to pretend that "Saami" isn't a
help - and indeed a necessary spelling, ideally as a main spelling of
Please let's retain it as it is in the Ethnologue, and ideally please
also allow Saami to be included as a language name in ISO 639 (and
also to permit references to Sami as well, in the ordered list) so
that people looking at the list don't miss the version that they are
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