Finnish

Language History

Ancient Finnish is believed to root back to as far as 1500 BCE where it stemmed from a language called Sami. It then supposedly developed into Proto-Finnic and later, Baltic-Finnic in about the first century CE. It wasn’t until the 15th century when Finnish was officially written down and around one hundred years later, a standard written form of the language was formed, with major influences from German, Latin, and Swedish.

Finnish adopted several Swedish words during the domination of Sweden in Finland. The language later developed even further and even took characteristics from English, German, and Russian. It was in the 19th century when Finland tried to evolve as a distinct region. This led to the publication of the first Finnish-written novel. It wasn’t long until Finnish was made the official language of Finland in 1892.

Finnish is believed to be spoken by around six million people around the world.

Where is Finnish Spoken?

Finnish is the official language of Finland and is said to be spoken by around 4.7 million of the population (MustGo). It is also a popular language in other countries such as Canada, Estonia, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.

Fact!

Finland’s alphabet consists of 29 letters. Other than Latin letters, ‘Å’, ‘Ä’ and ‘Ö’ derive from the Swedish alphabet.

Did you Know?

Finnish has one of the longest words in the world containing 61 letters – “lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaa
nikkoaliupseerioppilas”,meaning ‘airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student’.

``Finnish is the official language of metalheads – heavy metal songs are generally written in Finnish (or English).”

False Friends in Finnish and English

FinnishTranslationWrong Meaning
greippigrapefruitgrape
riski (adj)strong (person)risky
tiilibricktile
home'mold (fungus growth)house

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Finland Population:

5,561,389

Internet Users:

5,225,678

Penetration:

94.0%

As of 2019. Source:
www.internetworldstats.com

FACT!

Some Finnish words have a fun, literal English translation. For example, “jääkaappi” = refrigerator (ice cupboard); “tietokone” = computer (knowledge machine); “juoksumatto” = treadmill (running carpet).

Source: theculturetrip

Finnish Translation Tips

• Remember! Just like English, Finnish follows the same sentence structure – subject-verb-object.

• Don’t forget! Finnish verbs have four tenses – Present, Imperfect, Perfect and Past Perfect

• Bear in mind! When it comes to conjugating, the verb changes according to the subject.

• In Finnish, the singular word can change to a plural as well. E.g “kissa” (cat) becomes “kissat”.

• There are no gendered words or pronouns. For example, the gender-neutral hän can mean both ‘he’ and ‘she’.

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