Reindeer vocabulary

Reindeer herding has its own lively and expressive work- related language. Parts of the terms have integrated to the general language, but some are used only in local dialects.

For example J. Juhani Kortelainen has a broad vocabulary in his book “Poronhoidon synty ja kehitys Suomessa” (The birth and development of reindeer herding in Finland). First reindeer vocabulary “Altavita” was published in 2010 by Martti Anneberg.

Elo – Reindeer livestock

Erotus, pykällys – An activity held in the autumn or winter where the reindeer are counted and registered to alive or slaughtered reindeer. Pykällys refers to an old way to mark counted reindeer to a wooden stick.

Etto, ettoaminen – Gathering reindeer for a roundup

Hukkasuoni – Achiles tendon. It is a very sensitive spot that the wolf often attacks.

Jasa – An area where snow stays for a long time in the summer. Reindeer like these spots, because they are cool and there are not that many blood-sucking insects. Also, these areas are rich with plants.

Jotos,rannio – A track trodden by reindeer in  thick, hard-crusted snow

Parttio – A small herd of reindeer

Peurahiiri – Lemming

Sevä – Hard snow

Teot, sanat, leikot – The different parts of the earmark that are cut with a knife to the reindeer’s ears

Tokka – A large herd of reindeer

Vasanmerkintä, vasaleikko – Calf marking that starts during or after midsummer. Calves are marked to the same earmark as their mothers.

Words referring to the age or gender of the reindeer

Ajokas – A reindeer that has been taught to run with a sledge

Hirvas – A male over three years old

Härkä, ajohärkä – A castrated male

Kermikkä – Reindeer at its second summer

Takkahärkä – Reindeer that can carry things on its back

Valtahirvas – Sizeable male reindeer

Vasa – Reindeer at its first year

Voidesuti – Gland in the hoof that reindeer uses to lubricate the tips of the growing antlers and to leave olfactory signs

Words relating to the colour and behaviour of a reindeer

Korppi, korpinmusta – Black or dark coloured reindeer

Kisura – Small and decrepit reindeer

Maitonokka, kalppinokka – Reindeer with a white muzzle

Peurakka – Long legged, shy or panicky reindeer

Suivakka, suivakko – Reindeer with a white muzzle

Valkko – A white reindeer