Sami again

Kenneth Whistler kenw@sybase.com
Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:55:55 -0800 (PST)


For what it is worth, as a linguist and a lexicographer, I
find Michael Everson's arguments about the term "Sami" very
compelling. It is the clearly better choice for standardization
as the *English* name of the language, although "Saami" will no
doubt linger on indefinitely as an alternate spelling.

Incidentally, the Unicode Standard has dropped the nativized
form with an accent ("Smi") in favor of "Sami" throughout,
when referring to the language in that standard.

Regarding the pronunciation issue, I don't see "Saami" as any
significant pronunciation help to the naive English user over
"Sami". As Michael has pointed out, "Sami" will lead people to
either /'sami/ or /'smi/, either of which is arguably
acceptable right off the bat. "Saami" gives more opportunity
for misinterpretations like /sa'ami/ or /'semi/ and the like.
And in addition to the easy (and correct) pronunciation
analog in "swami", there is a very widely known language name
which also provides a correct analog: "Yahi".

--Ken