An article on the decline in the use of Finnish among emigrant communities abroad. (Via Taccuino di traduzione.)


  1. What do the American reggae band Conga Se Menne and the Latvian rock band Liv ir dziv have in common? Both names refer to disappearing languages and disappearing worlds. The name of the rock band is in Latvian […]

    Journalistes, isn’t it? I was in Latvia not three (3) weeks ago, and the language didn’t even look unwell, whatever Erkki Lyytikäinen says.

  2. The language supposed to gasping for survival was not Latvian, but Livonian.

  3. Oops. Readers, also, isn’t it?

  4. TheloniousZen says

    Conga Se Menne does just about everything in english though. They’re from my region. About 85% of the people here are of Finnish descent, and a lot of the older people still know the languages because their parents were the ones who emigrated here. Looking in the obituaries one sees the names Toivo, Eino, and Olly an awful lot.

  5. Marginally relevant: In Astoria Oregon a Chinese immigrant family encouraged their kids to talk to the neighbor kids to learn the language, and the kids did quite well. But they had a terrible shock when their kids started first great. They had been learning Finnish.
    One of the kids continued with his Finnish and became regionally well-known (and even legendary). He joined the postal service as a mailman and was able to chat with his Finnish customers.
    Supposedly many Namibians speak some Finnish because of missionary activities and scholarships to Finnish universities.

  6. First grade.

  7. Shades of the “East Timorese schoolchildren learning Finnish” legend.
    Which reminds me of another factoid I read once in a folk music magazine. The orthography of Malagassy, the national language of Madagascar, is rather daunting; supposedly it is because the people who devised its first writing system in the Roman alphabet were Welsh missionaries! God must really have been angry at poor Madagascar.

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