I read another day in the newspaper about a Sami person who told that, in order to learn Finnish and Finnish ethnohistory, they should study Sami.
Having read the text, I remembered a map in a book that I read recently. And the map showed how the only people that dwelled in Northern Europe were Sami.
The map to the right shows the linguistic situation in Europe in 600 BC. The Sami people are displayed in light yellow, and the other (Fenno-)Ugric languages in yellow. As seen the ancestors of today’s Finnish speaking population lived in today’s Estonia and in a very limited area of today’s Southern Finland coast area.
Since then both the Finnish and Germanic tribes have pushed the Sami northward.
Somewhen in the past I got familiar with a site called Ethnologue. It contains information about all languages in the world.
One thing that I was missing though is the lack of maps that would better show where the languages are spoken. At that time there wasn’t any other site either that would contain many languages plotted on the map.
In summer 2009 I convinced my family to visit Värmland during our summer vacations in Sweden — although Värmland was aside from our planned route.
So why did I want to visit Värmland?
Well, I had read that pretty recently there were Finnish speaking people living there: “The early 17th century marked the beginning of a substantial immigration from Finland. The areas where they centred were known as Finnskog. They kept their Finnish customs and language until the late 19th century. The last native resident to speak Finnish here died in the 1980’s.”.
After all we didn’t expect to talk there in Finnish, or more specifically “Forest Finnish”. But it was more than astonishing to see Finnish names on the traffic signs in the heart of Sweden!