Wiktionary:About Northern Sami

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Overlong consonantsEdit

The character ˈ is sometimes used in dictionaries to indicate that the consonant is "overlong". The pronunciation does not differ from a regular long consonant in modern Northern Sami. However, the consonant still has a distinct type of consonant gradation, so dictionaries include this for pedagogic purposes in order to allow the user to deduce the correct declension of the word. Wiktionary follows this practice, by showing it in the form of a word that is displayed in the headword line or in inflection tables. It is not included in the name of the entry itself, because Northern Sami is ordinarily not written with such overlong marks.

So, the entry for the word ealli will be named as such, but its headword line and inflection table will display ealˈli.


All suffixes in Northern Sami have, in theory, two different forms, depending on whether they are affixed to an even-syllable or odd-syllable stem. For example, the common result noun suffix -a / -ag- only appears in that form when attached to even-syllable stems, such as čállitčála / čálag- (itself an odd-syllable noun). When attached to odd-syllable nouns, the form is -at / -aga-, as in gosahitgosahat / gosahaga- (itself an even-syllable noun).

On Wiktionary, the form that attaches to even stems is considered the primary form. The form that attaches to odd stems should have an entry, but its definition should refer back to the other form. Categories should only be created for the primary form, and etymologies should use the primary form even if the other form is the one that actually got suffixed. The change into the other form is considered "automatic" as part of the suffixation process, much like, say, vowel harmony is an automatic part of suffixation in Finnish.