Finnish Kalo language

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Finnish Kalo
kaalengo tšimb
Native toFinland, Sweden
Native speakers
10,000 in Finland (2001 census)[1]
1,700 in Sweden (2009)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3rmf

Finnish Kalo (Kalo Finnish Romani: kaalengo tšimb[2]) is a language of the Romani language family (a subgroup of Indo-European) spoken by Finnish Kale. The language is related to but not mutually intelligible with Scandoromani or Angloromani.

Finnish Kalo has 6,000–10,000 speakers and many young people do not know the language. The majority of speakers are from older generations and about two-thirds of the Romanis in Finland still speak the language. There have been some revival efforts. Dictionaries and grammar books have been produced and some universities offer Finnish Kalo as a course. It has some similarities to the Romani languages in Hungary, where stress is placed on the first syllable of the word. This may be related to the fact that both Finnish and Hungarian words have fixed word-initial stress, a feature that would have diffused to the Romani languages. Finnish Kalo has been taught in schools since the late 1980s, with some courses available as early as the 1970s.[3]

Current situation[edit]

In 2012 only 30% of the 13,000 Romanis in Finland spoke Kalo fluently, but about 50% could understand it. It is now uncommon for Kalo speakers to pass the language to children although there have been efforts made to revive it in recent years. There are language nests in Rovaniemi, and in Helsinki, Romani courses were established. In Finland, the municipalities can establish Romani courses if there is enough demand, though there have been problems due to a lack of resources.[4]

Finnish Romani in Sweden have a right to Kalo and Finnish education.[5]

Kalo in Finland


Front Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long
Close i y u
Mid e ø øː o
Open æ æː ɑ ɑː

Finnish Kalo has 8 pairs of long and short vowels.[6][7] Vowel length can be phonemic[6] as in bur 'through' versus buur 'boor'[8] or allophonic as in baaro/baro 'big'.[6]

Finnish Kalo has 9 closing diphthongs and 3 opening diphthongs.[6][9]

Diphthongs Ending point
Front Back
Starting point
Close Front unrounded ie iu
rounded yi
Back ui uo
Mid Front unrounded ei eu
rounded øi
Back oi ou
Open Front æi
Back ɑi ɑu

Finnish Kalo has the following consonant phonemes:[10][11]

Labial Dental/
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
voiceless p t t̠ʃ k
voiceless aspirated
voiced b d d̠ʒ ɡ
Fricative f s x h
Approximant ʋ l j
Trill r


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Finnish Kalo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ ”Vela pinsiba, at doola horttas dikkena tšiȟkeske, so me som” — Kaalengo kentengo tšiȟko aaȟȟiba ta horttibongo tšatšjiba
  3. ^ Granqvist (2001)
  4. ^ Tuukkanen (2012)
  5. ^ "Romanien oikeudet Göteborgissa". Archived from the original on 2023-02-05. Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  6. ^ a b c d Granqvist (2002:64–65)
  7. ^ Granqvist (2011:2–4)
  8. ^ Granqvist (2011:6)
  9. ^ Granqvist (2011:5)
  10. ^ Granqvist (2002:67–72)
  11. ^ Granqvist (2011:2–5)


External links[edit]