Pielpajarven erämaakirkko 2008
Piälppáájäävri church in the wilds. Photo: Toni Suutari 2008.

From one language to another

The Finnish names in the Saami region are often adaptations or translations from the Saami languages. The wilderness church of Pielpajärvi is located by the lake Iso Pielpajärvi (Great Pielpajärvi) east of the village of Inari. The Finnish name Pielpajärvi is an adaptation of the Inari Saami name Piälppáájävri. Its first part piälppáá means a small pointed wooden arrow, whereas its second part jävri corresponds to the Finnish word järvi ’lake’. There are also other names beginning with the word Pielpa in the region: Pieni Pielpajärvi (Little Lake Pielpajärvi) (Uccâ Piälppáájävri), Pielpavuono (fjord) (Piälppáávuonâ) and Pielpaniemi (peninsula) (Piälppáánjargâ).

The name Kalkuvaara is an adaptation of the Inari Saami name Kálguvääri. The first part of the name kálgu is based on a word referring to a wife or an old woman, and the second part vääri is a hill covered with forest. Sarviniemi (peninsula) is a translation of the Inari Saami name Čuárvinjargâ (čuárvi meaning a horn and njargâ meaning a peninsula).

Pielpajärvi. © National Land Survey, license 49/MML/10.