Rapping to preserve the endangered language of the Arctic-region

Meet Nils Rune Utsi, a hip-hop artist from the northern Norwegian town of Máze. His goal is to preserve the endangered language of Sami through the medium of music.

At Today Translations, we are always interested in finding out about endangered languages and the innovative ways that people seek to preserve them.

This week, we’ve come across the Sami language, a Uralic language spoken in the most northern regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the most north-western part of Russia. It is estimated that less than 20,000 people speak it natively.

Nils Rune Utsi , aka Slincraze, is a 22-year-old hip-hop fanatic from Máze, a village in the north of Norway with a population of 250 people, whose goal is to preserve the Sami language through the medium of rap music.

“I rap in Sami because it is my language and it feels natural to me,” explains Utsi. “And of course I want to preserve the language in a way that the youth can understand it.”

“People are interested in hearing something different, even though they can’t understand the words that I’m rapping about, they can understand the rhythm, they can understand the feeling and the flow. So music, in general, I think is a language.”

Next to rereleasing Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in the endangered native American language of Navajo, this has to be one of the most unique methods of preserving an endangered language that we’ve come across.

At Today Translations, we all have a great interest in all things affecting language. We provide translation and interpreting services in over 200 languages, and although we’ve never received a request for anything to be translated into Sami, we could probably find a means of doing it.

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