Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language. Its kindred languages include, for example, Estonian and Hungarian. Finnish pronunciation is very regular, everything is read as it is written. Words are always stressed on the first syllable.
In Finland, it is common to be on first-name terms with other people. Sometimes it may still be polite to address someone more formally.
Approximately 87% of Finns speak Finnish as their native language. Approximately 5% of Finns speak Swedish as their native language. Proficiency in Finnish or Swedish is required to obtain citizenship. Also, at most of the jobs available at the market it is required to know the local language. Therefore, it is beneficial to learn the language in the long term. Yet, for daily life English is usually enough since many Finns speak English fluently.
To prove their proficiency in the language, candidates often take the national exam organized by the government.
In addition to Finnish and Swedish, Finland also has some other domestic languages.
Sami languages are the indigenous languages of Finland. Three Sami languages are spoken here. They belong to the group of Finno-Ugric languages. The Romani language spoken in Finland is an Indo-European language.
The phrases you need to know before coming to Finland
- Kiitos! / Thank you
- Anteeksi! / I am sorry / Excuse me.
- Puhutteko Englantia? / Do you speak English?
- En ymmärrä / I don’t understand.
- En tiedä / I don’t know.
- Good morning! / Hyvää huomenta!
- En puhu Suomea. / I don’t speak Finnish.
- Voitteko puhua Englantia? / Can you speak in English?
- Hei! / Hi!
- Hei Hei! / Bye!
Some statistics about Finnish population and foreign languages
- Every year the population of foreigners speaking different languages increases rapidly.
- The most commonly spoken languages are Russian, Estonian and Arabic in Finland
- 35% of the foreign children aged 0 -14 speak Somali and Thai is the last with less than 10%.