Finland Sweden

Swedish 2nd language status in Finland under threat……?


The national question of ”forced Swedish” on Finnish students has been as long running as the question of Finland joining NATO.


The fact of the matter is, Nordic countries traditionally do not consider Finland as a Scandinavian country, any more than they do Estonia, which is linguistically related to the Finns. the approximate number of 200 000 Swedish speakers in Finland have held the majority speaking Finns in a political headlock, culminating in their achieving Swedish as an official 2nd language of Finland. Most people do not speak it, other than in the academy, in politics and in public sector positions (mainly in the south and in Western coastal portions of the country.


Most Finnish youth find the language irrelevant, English is widely the first foreign language of choice. Ironically, the political Swedish leadership in Finland have thrown itself headfirst into multiculturalism, believing it to be a mechanism for self preservation, but only to see their position chipped away by other (now) more important immigrant groups, like that of the Muslim community. Being fluent in Swedish is no longer a prerequisite /requirement for obtaining a public sector job in Finland.


Swedish under threat?

A broad survey on attitudes towards the Swedish language makes the news today, with Helsingin Sanomat reporting that “The position of Swedish isn’t important to the young”. That refers to a finding that just 52 percent of those questioned aged under 30 regarded the position of Swedish in Finnish society as important.


That percentage rises to 80 percent among pensioners. The older the respondent, the the stronger the desire to protect the status of Swedish. Good Swedish skills were regarded as important in decision-makers by just 60 percent of respondents, down from 80 percent in the same survet in 2008.


Half of respondents said they had no use for Swedish skills, while nearly half of Finnish speakers questioned said that public services in Swedish cost the taxpayer too much money.


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