Did you know that there are more than 150 different languages spoken in Finland?
That’s a lot of lingos to get used to, but luckily, not all of them are official languages!
Finland’s two official languages are Finnish and Swedish, but there’s also an impressive amount of people that speak Russian in Finland. In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at Finland’s three most widely spoken languages and exploring some weird and wonderful facts about the Finnish language.
Most Spoken Languages in Finland
There are about 4,868,751 Finnish speakers in Finland, which makes up roughly 88% of the country’s population. Finnish is about 500 years old and is closely related to the Estonian language and the Sami languages.
Swedish is the mother tongue of about 9 million people in the world, and in Finland, it’s estimated that more than 290,000 people speak it. Almost 93% of Swedish speakers in Finland come from the province of Åland.
As Finland’s third most spoken language, there are about 70,000 Russian speakers in the country. The older generation of Finland is most likely to speak Russian as a third or fourth language due to the Soviet influence in Europe. Even though Russian isn’t an official language in Finland, the language has historically served as the third co-official language in the country between 1900 and 1917.
Finland’s Other Languages
The majority of Finland’s citizens speak one of the official languages and at least one other language. Although more than 150 languages are spoken throughout the country, here’s a look at the most popular third and fourth languages among Finnish natives:
Fascinating Finnish Language Facts
The Finnish language is one that’s tricky for native English speakers to pick up, but it is also known as one of the most harmonious European languages. Here’s a look at some of the most fascinating facts about this Nordic language!
Finnish Didn’t Start with the Finns
Finnish people are believed to have originated from what we know today as Turkey. But Finnish is a Uralic language that actually hails from the Ural Mountains of Russia.
The Oldest Written Finnish Content is a Spell
It’s not clear when and where the written version of Finnish was established, but the oldest known piece of written Finnish content dates back to the 1200s. The text was found in Novgorod (Russia) and was written on birch bark and is believed to be some sort of spell.
The Finnish Alphabet Isn’t Even Finnish
The Finnish alphabet uses the standard Roman alphabet (the one we use in English) with the addition of the ‘Å’ and ‘Ö’ (Swedish alphabet) and ‘Ä.’ Even though it contains all the Roman alphabetical characters, some letters, like ‘W,’ are rarely used in the Finnish language.
We All Use a Finnish Word
Unlike most other European languages with loan words to English, Finnish doesn’t really share its words with the rest of the world. But there’s an exception, and it’s one we’re all familiar with. Invented in Finland and forming a cultural staple in the country, the sauna is originally a Finnish word adopted on a global scale. But just to keep it unique to Finland, the Finnish folks pronounce sauna as ‘sow-nah’ instead of ‘saw-nuh.’
Gender Pronouns Aren’t a Big Deal in the Finnish language
Finland has a strong stance on gender equality, and it might have a lot to do with the Finnish language rules. There are many gender-neutral terms and phrases in the Finnish language, with the most notable being hän, which can mean ‘she’ or ‘he.’
Feeling Lost in Translation?
Day Translations specializes in intricate languages like Finnish, Swedish, and Russian. We thrive on bridging gaps created by language barriers, and we’d love to help you with whatever your language needs might be. Be sure to check out our blog or get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you with your translation and interpretation needs!