Kven (kvääni)

Kven is a member of the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, and is closely related to Finnish, particularly the Peräpohjola dialects. It is spoken in northern Norway by 5,000-8,000 people. In 2005 it received the status of a minority language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Native names for the language include Kainun kieli, Kveenin kieli, Kväänin kieli and Meiðän kieli, and it is known as Kven or Kvääni in English, as Kvensk in Norwegian, as Kvänska in Swedish and as kveenin kieli in Finnish.

Kven contains many loanwords from Norwegian. It also has some old Finnish words that are no longer used in modern Finnish.

Attempts were made from the 1860s by the Norwegian government to assimilate the Kvens. These includes banning the Kven language in schools and government offices and replacing Kven placenames with Norwegian ones. From the 1970s these policies were reversed and Kven was taught in school again. Since 2006 courses in Kven culture and language have been offered at the University of Tromsø. and the Kven Institute (Kainun institutti) was set up in 2007 in Børselv to promote the language.

There is some dispute about whether Kven should be written with Finnish orthography or with its own orthography, which would need to be developed.

Kven alphabet

A a B b C c D d Ð ð E e F f G g H h I i
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r S s
Š š T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z Ä ä Ö ö

Kven pronunciation

Kven pronunciation

Sample texts

Kaikki ihmiset synnythään vaphaina, ja heilä kaikila oon sama ihmisarvo ja samat ihmisoikkeuet. Het oon saanheet järjen ja omatunnon, ja het piethään elläät toinen toisen kans niin ko veljet keskenhään.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Kvääninkieli oon se kieli mitä kväänit oon puhuhneet ja vielä tääpänäki puhhuuvat, ja mikä oon säilyny ruottalaistumisen ja norjalaistumisen läpi minuriteettikielenä. Minun mielestä Torniolakson «meiän kieliki» oon vanhaa kvääninkieli tahi vanhaala meiđän kielelä kaihnuunkieli


The Kven language is the language which the Kvens have spoken and still speak today and which has survived through Swedenization and Norwegianization as a minority language. In my opinion "meänkieli" of Torne Valley is also an old Kven language or in our old language, Kainu language.

Sample videos in and about Kven

Information about Kven | Phrases | Numbers


Information about the Kven language

Læremidler i Kvensk

Kainun institutti / Kvensk institutt

Finnic languages

Estonian, Finnish, Karelian, Kven, Livvi-Karelian, Livonian, Ludic, Meänkieli, Seto, Veps, Võro, Votic

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 11.10.21


Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:


Talk in Arabic - Learn Egyptian, Iraqi, Levantine, Sundanese, Moroccan, Algerian or Saudi Arabic

If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.

Get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime (UK)