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Finnish: The language with infinite grammar

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10 facts about the Finnish Language


Finnish is the second main official language in Finland other than Swedish.


Minorities speak Finnish and Meänkieli which are also both official languages in Sweden.


Finnish is an agglutinative language and relies nearly entirely on suffixal pronunciation.


The Finnish language is spoken by five million people; most reside in Finland. It is also spoken by a minority of the population living in Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Brazil, Canada and the United States.


Around 167,000 individuals in Estonia speak Finnish as a second or foreign language.


During the time of Swedish control, the Finnish language had no official status in Finland until 1809.


The Finnish language has 29 letters in its alphabet.


The Finnish language was the only unofficial means of communication during the Middle Ages when Sweden ruled Finland.


Finnish was considered inferior to Swedish, and the Finnish people were treated as a minority without permission to use their native tongue in any official capacity.


The first Finnish dictionary was compiled by Daniel Europaeus in 1853.

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Origin of the language

Finnish originated in the mountains of Novgorod, which are in Russia.

History of the language

It is believed to have originated around 1500–1000 BCE.

Learning the language

It takes about 1100 hours to learn Finnish as an English speaker.

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Finnish for beginners

Ten common words to start learning in Finnish:











lang orbit original

The opposite of creativity is cynicism.

Esa Saarinen

Author, educator and philosopher

A strong desire derives a person straight through the hardest rock.

Aleksis Kivi

Novelist and author

Youth is a time of joy and poetry. Poetry produces joy, joy poetry.

Minna Canth

Author and social critic

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Fun facts about the Finnish language

Not from the Finns

The evolution of the Finnish language did not officially come from the Finns. It is a Uralic language that originated in the rural area of Russia.

Word of magic

The first known sample of handwritten Finnish was discovered in Novgorod, Russia, during the middle of the 12th century; it was a spell.

Alphabet evolution

The Finnish alphabet acquired “a” and “o” from the Swedish alphabet which pronounces “a” as "ahh." Moreover, like English, it uses Latin letters.

Fewer speakers than Finns

The number of Finnish speakers is smaller than Finland's overall population.

Heavy metal music scene

The Finnish language is considered the official language of metalheads.

One internationally recognized word

Finland developed the sauna, which has become a national cultural icon. Throughout the world, the spelling remains the same but is pronounced differently than in Finland (sow-nah).

Minimal concept of formal and informal

There is not much emphasis on formal and informal speech in the Finnish language. However, there are very few formal expressions in Finnish.

Seven main dialects

In Finland, there are seven primary dialects, each with its own sub-dialects and colloquial words.

One word can say a lot

Finns do not let their sentences drag on, which is another interesting fact about the Finnish language. Unlike in English, a single Finnish word can represent an entire phrase.

No gender pronouns

There is only a single unisex word for gender identification "hän", which can signify both "he" and "she."

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