Saamelaisjäljet Kuusamon ja Posion paikannimistössä

  • Alpo Räisänen
Avainsanat: nimistöntutkimus, paikannimet, saame, sanahistoria


Sami influences in place names within Kuusamo and Posio (englanti)

3/2005 (109)

Sami influences in place names within Kuusamo and Posio

Todays municipal districts of Kuusamo and Posio (originally part of Kuusamo) were not populated by Finns until after 1673, when Swedens King Charles XI issued a decree on the settlement of the Lapp areas. Until then, the area had been part of what was known as Kemin Lappi and contained two Sami winter villages: Kitka and Maaselk. With the arrival of the Finns, most of the Sami retreated eastwards and northwards, but some stayed and became assimilated with the Finnish settlers. Even before the settlers came, Finns from Ii (a large district to the southwest of Kuusamo and Posio) used to come and fish in the lakes of Kuusamo.

There are many times more place names of Sami origin in Kuusamo than in the Kainuu region to the south of it, where Finnish settlement began a century earlier. Evidently the main reason for this is that a proportion of Sami inhabitants chose to remain in Kuusamo among the Finns there. There were also mixed marriages between Samis and Finns. Knowledge of ancient Sami place names was thus retained and passed on to the majority population.

Most of the place names of Sami origin in Kuusamo and Posio are names of lakes and other waters, e.g. Elijrvi (< Proto-Sami *e?le- upper + Finnish jrvi lake); Irni (< Proto-Sami je?r?e? > Inari Sami jor?a open water); Jorvanjrvi (cf. Inari Sami coarvi horn, antler); Kaava, a bay in Posiojrvi (cf. Northern Sami gvva bend, curve); Kylnkoski (cf. Northern Sami geavli curve, bend); Livojrvi (cf. Northern Sami / Inari Sami Iivva- sleeping place for reindeer - the extensive sandy shores of the lake are favoured by reindeer); Paanajrvi, a big lake formerly in the Kuusamo district (< Proto-Sami *pane tooth > Northern Sami btni, Inari Btnejrvi); Sunnansalmi (cf. Inari Sami sudde unfrozen spot in the ice + Finnish salmi strait, channel); Suorajrvi, two lakes, one round and the other bifurcated (cf. Northern Sami suorri branch, fork).

Vanttaja is an interesting case. It refers to the isthmus that separates the two lakes of Iijrvi (on the upper course of the Iijoki, which drains into the Gulf of Bothnia) and Kuusamojrvi (drains into the White Sea via Pistojoki). Travel from one lake to the other would involve crossing the isthmus. The root of the name Vanttaja is the Sami verb *vance to walk (> Northern Sami vaz|zat). The same verb serves as the root for Vanttauskoski, the great rapids on the Kemijoki river. This, too, was not possible by boat but required walking alongside the rapids. The Sami affricates have been replaced in these names by tt, which is consistent with Northern Finnish dialects.

The influence of Sami in place names in the Kuusamo and Posio districts is also evident in the structure of many place names. As in Northern Finland in general, the area has, for instance, many names which are nomen actionis and ending in -ma/-m: Ampumavaara, Eksymjrvi, Kiitm (a large lake; kiit travel quickly), etc. Sometimes these types of name include the subject of the root verb, for example Lassinlytm the fishing ground discovered by Lassi, and Pirunhuutamavaara the hill where the devil cried out. The object of the root verb may also feature, as in Metonpaistama the place where the capercaillie was cooked. Exactly the same types of construction are found in Sami place names. These have the Sami deverbal derivative suffix *-me, which corresponds historically to the -ma/-m suffix. Some of the Kuusamo and Posio names ending in -ma/-m have probably been translated from Sami into Finnish.

Alpo Risnen

tammi 3, 2005
Räisänen, A. (2005). Saamelaisjäljet Kuusamon ja Posion paikannimistössä. Virittäjä, 109(3), 336. Noudettu osoitteesta