Lesson 14 - Introduction to Kven cases and Nominative case

After learning how to inflect Kven nominals, we now can start learning all usages of grammatical cases. Grammatical cases in Kven function just like prepositions in English, except that they appear in the form of different suffixes.

Kven has 13 grammatical cases, all of which have singular and plural forms (except comitative):

nominative, genitive, partitive, inessive, illative, elative, adessive, abessive, ablative, essive, translative, and *comitative.

 (*Comitative only have a plural form, and is very archaic and almost never used in modern spoken Kven.)

Six locative cases are:

Internal cases ("s" cases): inessive, elative, illative

External cases ("l" cases): adessive, ablative, allative


Nominative singular







kummainen (millainen)

what kind of, what kind


who (relative pronoun)

The nominative case is the basic form of a word, also known as the dictionary form.

There is no definite or indefinite article in Kven, hence nominative form for a noun can mean "a/an…" or "the…".

For example:

kieli – a language/the language.

• Kieli, jota Leena puhhuu, oon kainun kieli. (The language that Leena speaks is Kven.)

However, to emphasize the very number, "yksi" (one) is sometimes used.

• Yksi kieli ei koskhaan riitä. (One language is never enough.)


All nominals can be in the nominative form, meaning that there is the nominative form for adjectives, nouns, pronouns, relative pronouns, comparative form, and superlative form of adjectives and adverbs.

The nominative case can be found in these three common situations:

1. Subject

Nainen oon kađula. (The woman is on the street.)

• Tuola oon sikhuusi. (There is a hospital there.)

Hän halluu oppiit kainun kieltä. (She wants to learn Kven.)

Iso talo näkyy täältä. (The big house can be seen from here.)

2. Complement

• Pekka oon studentti. (Pekka is a student.)

• Hänen kainun kieli oon huilaava. (Her Kven is fluent.)

Kainun kieli oon vaikkeeta. (The Kven language is hard.)

3. Object

• Sano se kvääniksi! (Say it in Kven!)

• Tieđätkö kunka se sanothaan kvääniksi? (Do you know how to say it in Kven.)


Let’s not worry about the parts we haven’t learned yet, we will touch on them in future lessons.

Nominative plural







kummaiset (millaiset)

what kinds of, what kinds


who (relative pronoun)


The nominative case ending is -t, and is added to Grade 0 or Grade -1:

Sana – sanat

Laki – lait

Matto – matot

Pankki – pankit

The nominative plural can be found in these three common situations:

1. Subject

Naiset oon kađula. (The women are on the street.)

Isot talot näkyy täältä. (The big houses can be seen from here.)

2. Complement

• Pekka ja Mari oon studentit. (Pekka and Mari are students.)

3. Object

• Sano net kvääniksi! (Say them in Kven!)


Some words are always in the plural form:








a pair of scissors








a pair of glasses


• Mie olin häissä. (I was at the weeding.)

• Minula oon tummat hiukset. (I have dark hair.)

• Ostin uuđet prillat. (I bought a pair of new glasses.)


The number of nominative singular and plural

Knowing the number of nominative singular and plural is very important because learners usually have trouble differentiating the number between nominative and partitive, which we will learn in the following chapter.

1. Nominative singular refers to only one animate/inanimate object or thing.

For example:

• Ihminen oon ystävälinen. (A person is friendly.)

• Kirja oon kallis. (A/the book is expensive.)

2. Nominative plural refers to a definite number of animate/inanimate objects or things.

For example:

• Ihmiset oon ystäväliset. (People are friendly.) – It seems that the number of people is definite, and the speaker can give the proper number of people.

• Kirjat oon kalliit. (Books are expensive.) – Again, the speaker knows how many books are expensive.