Davvisámegiel mánáid giellaovdáneapmi (DASAGO): North Sami child language acquisition

 [Dasago means approximately ‘Where to? There?’ in North Sami]

The project is funded by a 7 million NOK (app. € 900.000) from the Norwegian Research Council, and 250.000 NOK (app. € 32.000) from Sparebankens Gavefond/Tromsø Research Foundation. It started up in July 2011 and will run for 5 years.

Project members: Kristine BentzenBerit Anne Bals Baal, Berit Ellen Aina Siri BalsMárjá Eira

This webpage will focus on the research aspects of the project. If you are a parent of a child participating in the project, or if you are interested in the more applied aspects of DASAGO, we direct you to our more popularized webpage (currently mostly in North Sami, but soon also to appear in Norwegian).

The project DASAGO addresses first language acquisition of North Sami. North Sami is one of the indigenous languages spoken in Northern Norway and Northern Sweden. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family, and is on UNESCO‘s list of endangered languages.

DASAGO focuses on syntactic and phonological aspects of North Sami child language. We have three main subprojects:


We are adapting the language assessment tool MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) into North Sami. The CDI exists for more than 50 different languages, among them, our neighbouring languages Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Russian, as well as Norwegian.
The plan is to pilot this tool with selected families early in 2012.• Corpus
The project will develop one longitudinal corpus from two monolingual North Sami children, and one longitudinal corpus from one North Sami/Norwegian bilingual child. We are currently collecting and transcribing data from a three-year-old monolingual North Sami-speaking boy.• Focused experiments
We will conduct focused experiments on various aspects in North Sami child language, such as the OV-VO alternation, Null subjects, negation, word-medial consonant clusters and grade alternation.