ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Tóth Anikó Nikolett

nyomtatható változat

Tóth, Anikó (Debrecen)

On the Terminology of Cardinal Directions in the Saami Language(s) (pdf)

The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate some aspects which underlie expressions of spatial orientation in the Saami language(s). So far the expressions of cardinal directions have been analysed, on the one hand, on the level of theoretical models of definition, and, on the other hand, on the level of examining the origin of compass directions in Finno-Ugric languages. According to Brown’s investigation and the summary of his quantitative data, the movement or position of the sun clearly provides the predominant model for the terms of cardinal directions.

I would like to demonstrate that there is a great variety of designation systems for cardinal directions also in the Saami language(s). In the following will be presented the conceptual sources on which expressions for the cardinal directions in the Saami language(s) are based. The most important expressions for cardinal directions are the reference to environment-specific features and landmarks and it should be mentioned that the deictic orientations: UP and DOWN. Cardinal directions are determined as a point of reference, they lead to different results depending on where these expression are used. Sources of cardinal directions in the Saami language(s) are: PFW *tiwä ’deep’; PF *manta ’interior of the country’; FU *lu ’down’; FP *orja ’slave’; FP *saja ’shadow’; FU *wilä ’up’.

My final aim is to demonstrate that there is great variety in the designation systems for cardinal directions (especially SOUTH) and explain how it is possible that one word could have more meanings and for one direction there can be many words, for example N oarje ’west’, U qrje ’south’, N davve, nuorta ’north’.