Wednesday Seminar: Sámi language education in Sápmi: From language policy to language practice

Kristina Belancic, a PhD student at the Department of Language Studies and Vaartoe at the University of Umeå, will give a talk on Sámi language education in Sápmi.  

My project "Sámi language education in Sámi schools in Sweden" is a qualitative study about indigenous children’s language use. In particular, I worked with two Sámi schools in Sweden where I have gathered the data for this project through 23 semi-structured interviews and over 50 hours of classroom observations. In addition, I draw on the questionnaire data gathered from 2012 as part of Literacy in Sapmi: multilingualism, revitalization and literacy development in the global North project, where I analyzed the data with a focus on Sámi children’s language use. To complete the project, I examined the learning outcomes in the syllabi for Sami and Swedish.

Language use is a key word in my thesis and therefore I focus on language use from different perspectives, highlighting what frameworks Sámi schools offer for the Sámi language learner. The thesis aims to identify Sámi children’s different pillars for language use and seeks to answer four research questions:

  1. How does the Sámi National Curriculum support Sámi children’s access to knowledge in and about Sámi and Swedish?
  2. How Sámi children’s attitudes influence the use of their own language in everyday life?
  3. Which language practices do Sámi children identify for language use?
  4. How play as an activity in Sámi schools supports language use?

Since my thesis is a collection of four articles focusing, the research questions are based on them.

In the seminar, I would like to raise the question about a suitable theoretical framework. Specifically, I would like to discuss how different theoretical approaches can frame my PhD work.



I am a PhD student, in my last year, in the field of language teaching and learning at the Department of Language Studies and Vaartoe at the University of Umeå, Sweden. My PhD research focuses on Sámi children’s language use in the Sámi educational context in Sweden. In particular my work examines Sámi children’s different ways for language use from both the macro-level and micro-level.


Olga Solovova
Published Sep. 3, 2019 10:49 AM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2019 3:57 PM