Eliel Lagercrantz – sámegiela dutki gii čálii giellaoahpa mearrasámegiela vuođul
Marit B. Henriksen (Sámi allaskuvla)
Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).
Eliel Lagercrantz – the Sami language researcher who published a grammer on the sea Sami language
Eliel Lagercrantz (1894–1973) completed his doctor’s degree in the University of Helsinki in 1927. While working on his degree, he studied for shorter periods at the universities of Hamburg, Budapest and Paris between the years 1921 and 1927. In this period, he also conducted field trips to Sami areas of Finland, Sweden and Norway. He held positions mainly at the University of Helsinki, and became professor there in 1965. He also held a position at the University of Oslo for some time.
This article contains a brief presentation of Lagercrantz’ research, and also a short examination of his scientific views and perspectives. The main part of the article is a study of Lagercrantz’ grammar on the sea Sami dialect (a sub dialect of North Sami). Eliel Lagercrantz may be considered as a controversial researcher, mainly because of his scientific views, but also in his choice of methodologies. He brought a gestalt-psychological view to his language research, and used (for his time) modern, experimental methods with his informants. Although he claimed to be fascinated with the Sami languages, at times he presented quite negative and discriminating views of his informants. These views should probably be seen as a result of the general scientific perspectives of the period in which he did his research. I still think that the material he presents is valuable and deserves to be examined for example in connection with the present research of the dialects in the areas where Lagercrantz conducted his fieldwork.