The Language of My Heart

A film by Sirkka Seljevold,
Country: Norway,
Duration: 35min,
Language: Finnish,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2007

They were not allowed to speak their mother tongue, Kven, at school and they could not understand their teacher’s language, Norwegian. People from the neighbouring country, Finland, were laughing at their ‘old Finnish’. This film is about how experiences with one’s stigmatised mother tongue have life-long consequences on one’s identity, self-esteem, and experience of belonging. We meet Solgunn and Terje from a Kven village, Børselv in Northern Norway. Each in her/his own way takes up a fight for the right to their own mother tongue, the right to a whole identity. The Kven minority population of Northern Norway has been a target of strong assimilation politics for over 100 years. As a result, their language is now dying out. But some brave and determined souls have not given up…

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