Previously I wrote about why it’s important to have dictionaries that incorporate the morphology of a language in word lookups, particularly when the language has a ton of morphology. I went over coverage statistics from a paper me and colleagues wrote to show how well these dictionaries work, but I saved popularity for another time.
A friend of mine posted the following quote on Facebook from latest report of a statistical analysis group focusing on Saami matters, Samiske tall forteller:
There is little quantitative research on the role of the Saami writing languages in the modern Saami community. We need to know more here. For youth, language is particularly important in social media. But, for use of Sami in social media, there is no quantitative knowledge. (pp. 43)
Thus, I felt inspired to provide more quantitative evidence of language use/learning, though not especially in social media, which incidentally is already covered for Twitter by Indigenous Tweets.
Here I’ll present two kinds of statistics: (1) a usage log recording word lookups and translations which helps us find words to add, (2) Google Analytics; for two instances of Neahttadigisánit, one for Northern Saami (with bilingual dictionaries between Northern Saami, and Norwegian and Finnish), and one for Southern Saami (with just Norwegian as a translation language). All of these types of statistics concern a period of 7 months from February 6th, to October 22nd of 2013.
First, the simple numbers from the lookup log, including word lookups from the front page, combined with data from API endpoints:
|N. Saami ↔ Finnish & Norwegian||148,559|
|S. Saami ↔ Norwegian||19,642|
These statistics match fairly well with visits and individual page views on Google Analytics:
|Unique visits||Page views||Unique users||Percent returning / new|
|North Saami||18,232||229,636||4,768||75% / 25%|
|South Saami||2,379||30,580||828||70% / 30%|
Another fun fact to see was also that there were a good amount of people who returned more than 201 times (the highest category Google differentiates for returning visitors):
Another thing to put these numbers into perspective is the population of speakers for these languages across all countries, estimated by Ethnologue:
I’ll leave on this note, and let the numbers do the talking.