Despite its wondrous prosperity, Norway is a relatively small country, leading most people to believe that the Scandinavian nation is entirely Norwegian-speaking. It’s true that Norwegian is the country’s primary language, spoken as a mother tongue by the vast majority of Norway’s 5.4 million inhabitants. But it’s certainly not true that Norwegian is the only language native to Norway. In the country’s far north, we find Norway’s other official language at a national level, Sámi, a Finnic minority language spoken in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. At the northeastern tip of Norway, north of Finland, we find Norway’s other key minority language: Kven.
Whether Kven is an independent language or a dialect of Finnish is up for debate. It received recognition as a minority language from the Norwegian government in 2005 as an effort to help revitalize the severely endangered tongue, but linguistically speaking, it’s so similar to Finnish that the two are easily mutually intelligible and is thus classified as a Finnish dialect by many linguists. Even Kven speakers themselves are split on the classification. But in either case, one fact remains: Kven, with an estimated 2,000 to 8,000 speakers, is seriously endangered and must be protected. Here at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to support revitalization efforts with our Kven translation services.
If you’re interested in Kven translation, reach out today and ask about a free quote!
Discovering the differences between Kven and Finnish
Kven’s dire situation today is due to historical oppression from the Norwegians, who feared Finnish expansion into Norwegian territory and saw the Kvens as a threat to Norwegian society. This led to a stronger effort to assimilate the Kvens than the neighboring Sámi, whose minority language today boasts far more speakers than Kven. Most modern-day Kven speakers are older, with children and young people rarely speaking the language, except in the village of Børselv, where children learn Kven in school.
Just like Finnish, Kven is characterized by its extensive number of cases, which, in many cases, replace the prepositions found in other European languages. The rules for declining nouns are complex, incorporating vowel harmony and sometimes changing consonants, but they generally mirror the rules in Finnish. The biggest difference between Kven and Finnish is in the vocabulary, with Kven incorporating a large proportion of Norwegian-based words into their vocabulary, whereas Finnish is a particularly purist language, preferring to keep its terminology as Finnish as possible.
Our Kven translators are ready to serve you.
While there aren’t a lot of Kven speakers left, we’re proud to say that we’ve engaged the most passionate translators in the speaker community to help clients from Norway, Finland, and the rest of the world translate to and from Kven. The scope of our offering is limited by the small speaker base, but we do our best to match clients with the most suitable Kven translator with the right knowledge and experience for the job. We translate documents both to and from Kven, relying on the linguistic expertise of our native-speaking Kven translators.
To the extent possible, we aim to accommodate as many translation needs as possible. If you have a Kven-language document that you’d like translated into English, whether it’s a historical document or a traditional story, our translators would be happy to help you share it with the world. If you run a business in the area and really want to impress locals, we can help you translate marketing materials into Kven, and if you’re a researcher who wishes to interview Kven speakers, we can translate your survey into Kven. Maybe you’re a language activist who wants to translate educational materials or entertainment content, such as books, poems, apps, or games, into Kven, which can help younger Kven people embrace their heritage language and promote its continued survival. Whatever you need, let us help.
What do you want for your Kven translation project? Tell us today in a message!