I've been struggling a little bit about something for a while when expressing possession in Northern Saami.
My set of Davvin books has quietly taught me that expressing possession is quite similar to colloquial Finnish and vaguely similar to most I-E languages in western Europe in it basically being something like pronoun + noun.
"mun veli" (Coll. Finnish)
"mu viellja" (N. Saami)
However I keep reading about there being possessive suffixes instead.
"(minun) veljeni" (Coll. Finnish)
"vieljan" (???) (N. Saami)
Could someone please provide a summary of how to attach these suffixes (e.g. are they attached to a stem that has undergone gradation?) as well as their listing in singular, dual and plural? I find it a little odd that none of the volumes of Davvin discusses them and I'm left suspecting that their use in Northern Saami is fading despite the descriptions in technical monographs (e.g. Sammallahti (1998)) implying that they're actively used. My suspicion is heightened by what Timothy Feist discovered recently in Skolt Saami:
Feist, Timothy (2010). “A Grammar of Skolt Saami”, p.169
As well as inflecting for number and case, nominals in Skolt Saami also optionally inflect for possession. This seems to be disappearing, however, despite the existence of the same grammatical feature in Finnish. Instead, speakers tend to show a preference for a possessive pronoun together with a noun unmarked for possession. Although possessive marking on the noun is clearly still in use to a certain extent it proved extremely difficult to elicit during field-work, even when presenting the consultant with the equivalent possessive-marked form in Finnish.