I was trying my hand at an exercise to distinguish the different Sámi dialects (the exercise was used in the 2020 version of the Dutch Linguistics Olympiad). It gives nine words in all nine dialects and the mapping of one of those lists to a geographical area, and asks to map the other dialects to the other areas.
It seemed to me that some consonantal changes could be distinguished relatively easily (e.g. nasal assimilation and different strategies to avoid the /bd/ cluster), whereas there seemed to be much more variation in vowels and I could not easily tell which variant would be more original.
As I primarily work with Semitic languages I'm very used to looking at consonants first. This made me wonder: is it universal that consonants are more stable than vowels, is it just a coincidence that this happens to be so in both these areas, or is it because I'm used to looking at consonants that I find these easier to work with in Sámi as well?
(Please, no spoilers about the specific Sámi dialects, as I still want to figure out the rest of the exercise.)