Talk:Meänkieli dialects

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I started to revise this article on my laptop, but am now busy with studies and preparations for an exam, why I think I better post my version here - unfinished and unpolished as it may seem. /Tuomas 13:15, 23 May 2004 (UTC)

Whether Meänkieli is in fact a language could be questioned. It is much closer to standard Finnish than are some Finnish dialects, such as those of Rauma, Savo or Karjala. 26.09.04

The word 'language' seems redundant. 'Kieli' means the exact same thing. -- Kizor

Maybe it's a dialect that just happens to have a name like that. No matter what dialect you speak anyway, it's still part of a language. Seems pretty natural for a group of people to say "our language". They wouldn't necessarily know there is a bunch of politics involved in saying so. Besides, I cant see them saying meänmurreh 'our dialect'. Doesnt have the same ring to it. --Alcarilinque 22:49, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Meänkieli language is an unnecessary redundancy, since "kieli" means language as Kizor already pointed out. Either meänkieli or meän kieli should do fine. I see it written as meänkieli most of the times, and Google supports this (36,700 vs. 522). "Meänkieli language" gets 859 hits. I now move this page to meänkieli. / Habj 20:05, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
..."unnecessary redundancy" is self-referent

Renaming (Meänkieli -> Meæn language)[edit]

Meänkile is actually (Meæn) Meæn Kile, (English) Meæn language. I propose we rename the page to Meæn language if there isn't objections.


  • replace ä with æ: ä is not used in English, but old English used æ.
  • Meæn language are sometimes used
  • Quens or Tornedalians rather write Meæn Kile and not Meænkile
  • It should rather be Meæn-Kile language rather than Meænkile language
  • There is somewhat mostly relation to this article and when I search for Meänkieli language on e.g. Google.

Meæn language is also (poetical) refered to as old-Finnish language in some literature. // Rogper 20:43, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If you have an urge to invent new terminology in English I suggest we translate the term correctly: Meänkieli is literally translated Our language.
Meänkieli is a dialect of Finnish. This is a linguistic fact that is poliically difficult to admit in Sweden. The decision to treat it as a separate language derives from the ahistorical policy of trying to deny that area of modern Sweden has an indigenous Finnish population in the North.-- (talk) 09:31, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
What?? That is just silly! A brief google search gives only links which use "meän language". Can you give some references where this form is used? Also, please sign your posts with ~~~~ and don't mark them as minor if you want people to actually read them. -- Jniemenmaa 08:07, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, it's termed old-Finnish in old sources. (c.f. Hälsinge-Runor pertains to this language, beyond others, too)
I saw it was written meän kiele in newspaper (and by e.g. // Rogper 20:43, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Why would we want to replace ä with æ? Give us some authorative source that uses the form "meæn language".
All language articles on wikipedia should be named in the form "X language", unfortunately Meänkieli means "our language". But "Meän language" would be just wrong, since the name of the language is not "Meän". -- Jniemenmaa 08:59, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Because 'ä' is improper form of 'æ'.
The form Meänkiele descents from the Swedish form. Themself write meän kiele (Meän-Kiele) or similar, thus Meæn language would be more suitable.
// Rogper 17:16, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Using æ instead of ä in this case would be improper. Please show me even one source that uses æ instead of ä.
"meän kiele" gives 5 google hits. "meänkieli" gives 8,310. Example of page that is written in meänkieli and that uses the name "meänkieli": [1]. -- Jniemenmaa 17:34, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Consider to look for Meän. The character 'ä' is an improper form of 'æ'. The character 'ä' has never existed in English language. The character ä in Skräling is replaced to æ on wikipedia (Skræling is in OED). The character 'ä' and 'meänkiele' is the Swedish form of 'meän kiele' or 'meän language'. I propose and argue that the page should be renamed to Meæn language! :-) That 'meänkiele' is best practice might be cause that you refers to Swedish Govermental sites, which presumably have used Nationalencyklopedin where Meæn language is termed meänkiele. // Rogper 23:58, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, æ doesn't exist in modern english, either. And if one should follow your argument with all its implications, it would probably end with the article being written in runes.
You have not shown any evidence for your argument. The name of the language is "Meänkieli", not "Meænkieli", "Meæn" or "Meænkiele". The Ethnologue gives the names "Torne Walley Finnish", "Tornedalsfinskan", "North Finnish" and the quite strange "Tornedalen". I will not continue arguing with you if you do not provide some evidence for your claims. -- Jniemenmaa 08:10, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There is no authorative source in this question, besides perhaps Kvänlandsförbundet, as I am aware of. I don't know if they are representative, either. The sourcers I refers to is newspaper, e.g. [2]. // Rogper 23:31, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I propose we call it the same thing as the meänkieli-speakers would. Perhaps though, the title should remove the 'language', as it is ambiguous.

--Alcarilinque 22:10, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The argument made at WikiProject Languages is that we might want to have articles such as Meänkieli literature and Meänkieli phonetics in the future. So the name would not just refer to the language alone. But since Meänkieli redirects here I do not think that is such a problem. -- Jniemenmaa 08:29, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I still propose we use the noun Meän on Wikipedia for Meän language, Meän culture, Meän literature, etc. They simply refers to themself as Meän. The question whether to use ä or æ or ae is somewhat irrelevant. Some Englishmen have earlier pointed out to me that æ should be used instead of ä. For those considering Google as an authority, check yourself that meän gives 11,000 hits, whereas meänkieli gives 9,000 hits. // Rogper 12:52, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Back to the old argument again... Of course "meän" gives a lot of links in Google, it just means "ours" in this dialect, a pretty common word. For instance the first Google link is to "Meän raatio" (Our Radio). The only relevant links seem to use the form "meän kieli". I would really like to see just one link or reference that refers to the language as just "meän". Note that this article is about the language itself, not the people speaking it. -- Jniemenmaa 13:10, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

But Meän raatio refers specificially to radio with Meän-Kieli and not generall radio! I doubt that Meänkieli language is used more frequently than Meän language. (If you Google, remove all referens that has to do with Wikipedia!)// Rogper 21:21, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Google hits for "Meän language" [3]: 1
Google hits for "Meänkieli language" [4]: 152
I rest my case. -- Jniemenmaa 09:14, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
According to my searchs (removing referens from Wikipedia offsprings):
Google hits for meän language, or meän kieli [5]: 756
Google hits for non-Wikipedia meänkieli language [6]: 18
//Rogper 10:37, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Searching for "meän language" still just gives 1 hit. If you include "Meän kieli" in your search (which I think is cheating) you of course get more hits. Just searching for "Meän kieli" gives 758 hits [7]. Most of those hits are in Finnish or Swedish.

If we search on just english pages for "Meän kieli" or "Meän language" we get 86 hits. [8] But that doesn't prove anything, since searching for "Meänkieli" on english pages gives 1,860 hits [9]

If you still want to continue this argument I suggest you post it on Requests for comment. -- Jniemenmaa 10:56, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Although it is true that Æ is a Danish letter, it is also an English letter. Or, more precise, it used to be an English letter, but has fallen out of favor. Indeed, the entire history of how the letter Æ became the letter Ä is quite interesting - it happened mostly in Germany, and other countries picked it up from them. The first morphing of the Æ created a letter A with a lower-case e above it. I can't show this on the comments here, because the Wiki editor does not have a character to show that. After a while the scribes stopped writing the A with the superscripted e, and morphed it further into an A with a couple of dots instead. Similar morphism also took place with the letters Œ becoming O and superscripted e and eventually Ö, as well as with a combined UE, which morphed into the Ü.
It is interesting to trace which countries chose to go with the German changes in the alphabet, and those that did not. The Danish and Norwegians kept the Æ, but changed the Œ to Ø, except for a while they did use Ö for distinct purposes that later went away. A lot of this was taking place during the time of Martin Luther and others who were translating the Bible into vernacular languages, as well as the typesetters of the early printing presses, who tried to standardize the alphabets of the various languages. --Saukkomies talk 03:55, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Relationship to Finnish[edit]

Is it really true that Meän language is a Finnish "offspring" since the 1800s? I think that during the last centuries, the language has rather been influenced very much by Finnish...

Some writers have earlier called it Old Finnish language...

Every Finnish speaker understands Meänkieli completely. It's about the same as the other Northern Finnish dialects. There are a lot of Swedish loan words in all the Finnish dialects.
The borders between Sweden and Finland have never been closed. The reasons for the differentiation between Meänkieli and standard Finnish are purely political. I have relatives in Southern Sweden and their Finnish is much more different from modern Finnish than Meänkieli. They have lived in Sweden since the early 60's.
Æ is a Danish letter. I can see no reason why it should be used here. -- 08:30, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Sweden Bias[edit]

Well, not bias as in valuing one thing over another, but this article seems to assume a Swedish context when it talks about legal and societal issues. When you look at the sentence "Meänkieli is spoken by some 40,000-70,000 people in the Torne River Valley, in Norrbotten, along the border between Sweden and Finland," it sounds as if it is spoken in both countries, to someone who doesn't know where Norrbotten or the Torne River Valley are. Yet, later, you have the sentence "The governmental and legal support for Meänkieli as a minority language has proved to be weaker than in comparable countries, such as Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands." What government? If support for Meänkieli is stronger in Norway, Finland and the Netherlands, why focus on Sweden so much?

I may just be confused, but I think there may be something confusing in this article.

I hope my recent additions have made it clearer - meänkieli is a phenomenon located in Sweden. I think it hardly exists in Finland; the dialects on the Finnish side of the Torne River are regarded Finnish dialects. Maybe my additions are a bit POV; I personally find it a shame that we have deliberately oppressed this language, and made people ashamed of themselves because of their language. I trust someone else to wash my additions a bit, and make them look a bit more encyclopedic. /Habj 23:18, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Meänkieli is spoken on the Finnish side of the Torne valley as much as on the Swedish side. The Finnish government, however, considers meänkieli a Finnish dialect, not a language. Linguistically I agree with that. Reasons for its status in Sweden are mostly political, as pointed out. --Oami 17:19, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Furthermore, the word meänkieli is not used in standard Finnish; it is called "tornionlaakson murre", "Torne valley dialect". --Oami 17:21, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I found the sample translation text talking about Swedish democracy very strange, for what seems to be a form of Finnish (despite the fact that populations speak it both sides of the border). If there's controversy, perhaps a more neutral passage should be used? (talk) 14:46, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Terminology: declension[edit]

Meänkieli lacks two of the declensions used in standard Finnish, the comitative and the instructive cases.

I would reword this: Meänkieli lacks two of the cases used in standard Finnish, the comitative and the instructive.

The word "declension" has two closely related meanings in grammatical terminology. It means the process of declining a word or group of words, i.e, of giving them their appropriate case forms. If a student is asked to decline the Latin word mensa, he will respond with the catalogue of all its case forms - mensa, mensa, mensam, mensae, mensae, mensā; mensae, mensae, mensās, mensārum, mensīs, mensīs. The verb "decline" can also be used intransitively: puella declines like mensa. "The declension of mensa" means the pattern of case-endings of mensa.

The other meaning of "declension" is a particular pattern of endings, in contrast with other patterns of endings. It is tempting to speak of Finnish having two declensions, with fronted and non-fronted vowels, but the correspondences are so precise and invariable, that it is a question of phonology rather than morphology. In Latin, many words are declined like mensa. This pattern is called the first declension, or a-declension. The noun servus declines, servus, serve, servum, servī, servō, servō; servī, servī, servōs, servōrum, servīs, servīs. This pattern is the second declension or o-declension.

The sentence quoted above from the article implies that different nouns have different sets of endings, that Finnish has three or more such patterns, of which Meänkieli lacks two.

Cheers - Neil Copeland

The politics of Finnish in Swedish[edit]

Meankieli is arguably a term that has been introduced for political purposes to refer to Finnish dialects spoken in northern Sweden.

There has been considerable pressure on the Swedish authorities to grant Finnish an official status in view not only of the indigenous and historic Finnish minority in the north of the country, but also because of the existence of a more recent Finnish immigrant community in southern and central Sweden.

By classifying the northern Finnish dialects as a separate language, the Swedish authorities have been able to meet their international treaty obligations towards established minority groups and circumvent the need to grant an official status to Finnish -- a move that they have been relectant to make in view of the size of the Finnish immigrant population and the repercussions it would have had on the status of other immigrant languages.

Meänkieli different from Finnish?[edit]

Meänkieli may have some differences to standard Finnish, but this must be a joke:

"...Meänkieli also contains many loanwords from Swedish, pertaining to daily life, such as "ampulansi" as "ambulance"..."

In Finnish "ambulance" is "ambulanssi", a loan word from Swedish.

"...Meänkieli lacks two of the declensions used in standard Finnish, the comitative and the instructive cases..."

The comitative and instructive case do not de facto exist in the Finnish language either. Certainly they are not "used", except in some grammar books. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:01, 17 April 2007 (UTC).

Of course it's a joke. I don't wish to offend anyone, but the whole idea of "Meänkieli" being a language is a joke. It's a Finnish dialect, and a pretty standard dialect too. There are many Finnish dialects that are more different from Standard Finnish than Meänkieli and are still seen as Finnish dialects. This isn't even like the differences between English in the US and the UK, it's more like inventing a bunch of new languages in Devonshire, Kent, Shropshire etc. JdeJ 20:25, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course the comitative and instructive exist in Finnish. I don't see a problem in using f.ex. the instructive containing phrase tuli varkain in speech either. -- 22:25, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Don't the instructive and comitative cases exist in Mäenkieli? This is the first thing I've read about the language that actually makes it different from any other dialect of Finnish. For example when using the comitative do you have to use the word kanssa, you absolutely cannot use -ine?. The comitative and instructive cases are very common in the Finnish language, like the above user said. Kankkis (talk) 08:47, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
In Finnish very comitative and instructive can be replaced by postposition. What can or cannot be used only depends on how are the rules made but it is Finnish even if you make grammatical or spelling mistakes. Instructive or comitative are not natural in dialects.--SM (talk) 12:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

The Meänkieli speaking population[edit]

Would anybody have any links to sources regarding the ethnic identity of the 40-70,000 speakers in Sweden? Do they declare Finn? Meänkieli? or simply Swedish? or anything else? Is there proof that some declare one thing whilst others something else? I'm just curious to know. Evlekis 09:48, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Do Finnish Americans speak Meänkieli?[edit]

There seems to be a fairly clear case to be made that the variety of Finnish spoken by the majority of Finnish Americans living in North America (U.S. and Canada) is most closely related to Meänkieli, not to proper standard Finnish. Some researchers have been working on this topic, and are attempting to establish a solid basis for this theory, effectively proving it to be true. One man in particular (I am reluctant to give his name here without his permission) who grew up speaking Finnish in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has traveled to the Torne Valley in Sweden and made copious notes about the similiarities between the Meänkieli dialect and that of the dialect spoken in the most heavily concentrated Finnish American region of North America among Finnish-speaking people (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the Iron Mountains region of northern Minnesota, to be precise).

There is an actual historic basis for this: there were large numbers of immigrants coming from the Torne Valley region to North America between 1840-1930, effectively about 10-15% of the population of that area emigrated. These people also brought with them their Laestadian religion, whose followers typically have very large families. Although other waves of Finnish-speaking immigrants arrived in North America over the decades, the Torne Valley Finns arrived early and basically overwhelmed the rest of the Finnish Americans by simply outbreeding them, until today the vast majority of Finnish speaking people in the U.S. and Canada are descended from people who spoke the Meänkieli dialect.

I think it would be useful to make a note of this in the article. I will try to find some solid sources to back this up. If anyone has any additional information or suggestions, I'd like to hear. Thanks. --Saukkomies talk 03:40, 23 June 2013 (UTC)