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350 speak my parents' language as a first language...Worth teaching my kids?

(33 Posts)
LaplanderAndProud Sun 23-Sep-12 03:33:21

I'm from Finnish Lapland, specifically Inari. I'm Sami (basically, my family were herders). My children know Finnish, English and Swedish, and know a few words of Inari- anything I shout at drivers really, so as you can guess, none of them are especially nice words. Worth teaching? I only know a few words myself, so I'd rely on my parents to help, but being Sami is such a large part of me and my life. Even though my first language was Finnish, I still grew up with people talking (mainly swearing) in Inari, and I want to keep it. Should I, and how should I go about doing it?

Narked Mon 24-Sep-12 18:37:12

I read Mis Smilla's Feeling For Snow grin

HolofernesesHead Mon 24-Sep-12 19:27:35

Definitely worth teaching your kids! It's part of their heritage, and shuold be cherished. smile

LaplanderAndProud Tue 25-Sep-12 17:25:00

BaronessBomburst . It sounds Sami, obviously it hasn't happened for ages, Sami's are now (mainly) Christian (though I'm not), but it's a fun tradition. I remember having some tourists coming and seeing us for a festival, we'd dressed up traditionally, had sled racing etc; and it felt great knowing other people wanted to know about us.

I'm glad you kept the hat! (I'm guessing you didn't see the reindeer slaughter (I remember washing intestines and tongues etc; in the river nearby when I was four), otherwise you might not be so keen to be a reindeer).

Is it like this (only red?) If so, that's meant to be a Sami hat. It's a nice hat, I have one, I wear it to Sami weddings (like Scots wearing kilts to their weddings) with a traditional dress, and though only my grandparents (they'd be 95 and 98 now) have ever had one as a proper hat. It's the same as buying a dreamcatcher when going to visit what used to be a Native American settlement. They're nice and warm aren't they.

Kveta Tue 25-Sep-12 17:36:20

my sister lived in Rovaniemi for a while and is mad about all things Sami and Finnish! she named her dog after a famous Finnish architect grin I only know one word in Finnish (Poro) but loved visiting Rovaniemi and having poro for dinner!

we are raising our DC speaking an eastern european language which is useless outside DH's country, but totally worth them learning it IMO - it connects them to their father's culture more than anything else!

LaplanderAndProud Tue 25-Sep-12 17:56:13

I lived there for 6mnths (when applying for university, and studying more intently than ever for a place in London) and it was great. SHE NAMED HER DOG AFTER A FINNISH ARCHITECT? It's a bit of a coincedence, but I named MY dog (well, my first dog) after an English architect.

My family had 'poro' (well, reindeer) when I was a child. We stayed at houses, and camped at roadsides (in the warmest tents ever, in the hi-techest (okay, not technically a word) sleeping bags ever on reindeer migration. We also slaughtered them sad. My earliest memory is washing intestines and a tongue in a stream, and seeing blood-covered hides outside, with heads next to them. However, they were treated nicely beforehand, and, from what I've seen of pig slaughter, more humane. Every little thing is used.

Hopefully you forget about the above (and the slaughter) next time you eat poro!

BaronessBomburst Wed 26-Sep-12 10:07:48

Yes! That's my hat. I didn't see any slaughtered reindeer though, it was a very sanitised touristy affair. I remember feeling how nice it was to breathe. The air felt so clean. It's a weird thing to remember but I've never felt it anywhere else.

And yes, definitely teach them Inari. It's part of their heritage.

LaplanderAndProud Wed 26-Sep-12 18:07:05

Well, I've found a book. It's roughly 7yr old level, so a bit advanced for all but DD, but they'll be able to read a few words I guess. You're right about the air, the first thing I noticed when I was out of Lapland (so in London) was that the air was dirtier and smellier. I got used to it, kind of, but it has always felt heavy, even if I go to the countryside, it's nowhere near like the air where I lived.

MoelFammau Fri 19-Oct-12 00:38:40

I'd try to pass on what I could, even if it isn't much. It's so important to keep cultures and languages alive, even if only a smattering of words are passed on.

Nothing like your situation but I'm Welsh and grew up with non-Welsh speaking parents and grandparents. One day, when I was 5, a teacher came to school and taught us the Welsh numbers up to 12 as well as a few colours. I still remember every single word he gave us and I treasure them.

I'm now trying to learn German, having lived there for 2 years, and it's so so so much harder!

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