Society

What Languages Are Spoken In Finland?

Finnish and Swedish are the two official languages of Finland.

There are more than 150 different languages spoken in Finland. Finnish and Swedish are the two official languages of Finland In addition to the two official languages, the country has other languages that have their 'users' rights written down in law. The indigenous populations of Finland speak the Sami languages. Other autochthonous languages that have a long history in the country include Karelian, Finnish sign language, Finnish Romani, and Finland-Swedish sign language.

The Three Most Spoken Languages Of Finland

Finnish

With approximately 4,868,751 speakers which translate to 88.88% of Finland's population, the Finnish language is widely spoken by the majority in the country. The Finnish language dates back about 500 hundred years and is closely related to Estonian and a little less closely related to the Sami languages. Additionally, Finnic languages belong to the Uralic language family. Therefore Finnish is distantly related to various languages as diverse as the Ugric language of Hungary and the Siberian Samoyedic language known as Nenets.

Swedish

About 9 million people in the world speak Swedish as their mother tongue. In Finland, about 290,747 people speak the language which is equivalent to 5.31% of the country's total population. About 92.4% of Swedish speakers in the country hail from the autonomous province of Åland. During the start of the 20th century, the number of Swedish speakers represented an equivalent of 14% of the total population. However, their numbers have since gone down. About 44% of the country's citizens who registered a different primary language could converse in Swedish in 2012. Being considered as a sub-branch of Indo-European and a North Germanic language, Swedish is closely related to German, Danish, English, and Norwegian languages. Until the late 19th century, the country's language of administration was the Swedish language. Together with Finnish, they are the compulsory languages in Finland schools with the only exception being children with a third language as their native language. Vaasa, Helsinki, Porvoo, and Espoo are four of the largest Swedish-speaking communities in the country. Finland-Swedish are the leading Swedish dialects spoken in Finland.

Russian

Russian is the country's third most spoken language with approximately 69,614 speakers which is 1.27% of the total population. As a result of the former Soviet influence in Europe, the country's older generations is most likely to speak Russian either as a third or fourth language. However, the language is not so much popular among the younger generations since it is quickly being replaced by the English language. As a matter of fact, Finland is ranked among the world's top four countries that are fluent in English. Despite the language not having an official status in Finland; historically, Russian served as the third co-official language in the country. Together with the Swedish and Finnish languages, Russian was a co-official language for a brief moment between 1900 and 1917.

Other Languages Spoken In Finland

Besides Åland, all municipalities whose residents speak both official languages account for at least 3,000 people equivalent to about 8% of the population. There are several other languages spoken in Finland either as a native language or as a side language. The other languages include Estonian accounting for 0.84% of the population, English with 0.31%, Somali with 0.31%, Arabic with 0.27%, Kurdish with 0.20%, Chinese with 0.18%, Albanian with 0.16%, Persian with 0.15%, Thai with 0.15%, Vietnamese with 0.14%, Turkish with 0.12%, Spanish with 0.12%, and German with 0.11%. Other languages and Sami account for 1.34% and 0.04% of the total population respectively.

What Languages Are Spoken In Finland?

RankLanguageNo. of speakers (>5,000)Percentage Of Population Speaking The Language
1Finnish4,868,75188.98%
2Swedish290,7475.31%
3Russian69,6141.27%
4Estonian38,3640.84%
5English16,7320.31%
6Somali16,7210.31%
7Arabic14,8250.27%
8Kurdish10,7310.20%
9Chinese10,1100.18%
10Albanian8,7540.16%
11Persian8,1030.15%
12Thai8,0380.15%
13Vietnamese7,5320.14%
14Turkish6,7660.12%
15Spanish6,5830.12%
16German6,0590.11%
17Sami1,9490.04%
18Other73,5431.34%

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