Grundström, Harald

Grundström, Harald Image 1

© Ájtte museum, Jokkmokk

A priest by profession, Harald Grundström was born in Jörns district, Skellefteå, in 1885 and died in Uppsala in 1960. He is today probably best known for his work in Saami linguistics. For more than thirty years, he worked in Jokkmokk (Jåhkåmåhkke), Northern Sweden, where he got to know the Saami culture and language. From the early 1920s and onwards, he published extensively on topics relating to Saami folklore and ethnography, while also documenting the Lule Saami language and place names. Grundström is also known for transcribing, translating and publishing the memoirs of Saami reindeer herder Anta Pirak.

Grundström’s most important contribution to the field of linguistics is his comprehensive dictionary of Lule Saami, based on materials gathered by himself and the two professors Björn Collinder and K. B. Wiklund. Published between the years of 1946 and 1954, the dictionary spans almost two thousand pages and contains information on several Lule Saami dialects, along with translations into Swedish and German as well as abundant example sentences and a morphological overview of the Lule Saami language.
Grundström also did important philological work in publishing a long lost manuscript on Saami beliefs, as well as editing and translating the lyrics in a collection of traditional Saami music. In addition to his scientific work on the Saami language and culture, Grundström also translated hymns and other religious texts to Lule Saami.

In 1944, he was appointed honorary doctor of Uppsala University. A collection of his sermons was published posthumously in 1980.