Finland Swedish

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Location of monolingual Swedish and bilingual municipalities in Finland -
dark blue: monolingual Swedish (on the mainland until the mid-2010s),
medium blue: bilingual with a Swedish majority,
light blue: bilingual with a Finnish majority

Finland Swedish (Swedish finlandssvenska ; Finnish suomenruotsi ) is a name for the Swedish spoken in Finland . Swedish is the second official language in Finland , alongside Finnish . Swedish is spoken as a mother tongue by 265,000 people on the Finnish mainland, the so-called Finland Swedes , and 25,000 inhabitants in the autonomous province of Åland (5.5% of the population in total). The standard Finnish Swedish language differs mainly in pronunciation and parts of its vocabulary from Imperial Swedish spoken in Sweden , but only slightly in the written language. The everyday spoken Finnish-Swedish is divided into several dialects , some of which differ greatly from one another . The Åland dialect is closer to the dialects spoken in Sweden than to those of mainland Finland in many ways.


Finland was the easternmost part of the Swedish Empire until 1809. Until the middle of the 19th century, Swedish was therefore the only language of jurisdiction, administration, and grammar schools and universities in Finland (for example, the Finnish national anthem was originally written in Swedish).

In 1892 Finnish became the second official language and gained a status comparable to that of Swedish.

Until Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917, the importance of Finnish over Swedish continued to grow. Since then, Finnish has been dominant in society, but the Finnish Constitution of 1919 defines both Finnish and Swedish as the official languages ​​of Finland. Government employees must be able to communicate in both languages; everyone has the right to communicate with government authorities in Finnish or Swedish or to give testimony.

After the number of Swedish speakers fell for years, it has been increasing again in recent years. Most children from bilingual families are now raised in Swedish again. Finnish has become the main language; Officially, Finland is still a bilingual country where Finnish and Swedish enjoy the same rights (the autonomous Åland is an exception , which is monolingual Swedish).

Some Finnish-speaking students often disparagingly refer to the Swedish, which is compulsory in school, as Pakkoruotsi (Finnish: “compulsory Swedish”).


The Finnish municipalities are either purely Finnish-speaking, purely Swedish-speaking or bilingual . At least the latter have both a Finnish and a Swedish name.

According to the Finnish Language Act ( Kielilaki / Språklag , chap. 1, § 5) of June 6, 2003, the responsible minister should stipulate “that a municipality is bilingual if the municipality has both Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking residents and the minority is at least eight percent of the population Population or 3000 inhabitants. The minister should stipulate that a municipality is monolingual if the minority consists of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants and their share has fallen below six percent. If the municipal council so requests, the minister can stipulate by ordinance that a municipality will be bilingual for the next ten-year period, even though it would actually be monolingual. "

The Finnish Swedes in the municipalities dominated by Finnish-speaking populations such as Helsinki (Sw. Helsingfors ) and Turku (Åbo) are bilingual out of practical necessity. In the 43 bilingual municipalities (such as Vasa (Finnish Vaasa ), Borgå (Porvoo) , Ekenäs (Tammisaari) , Korsholm (Mustasaari) or Jakobstad (Pietarsaari) ), 22 of which have a Swedish-speaking majority, the Swedish Language to be used in all matters. The three municipalities of Korsnäs , Larsmo (Finnish: Luoto ) and Närpes (Närpiö) on the Finnish mainland were monolingual Swedish until 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The language law does not apply to the 16 municipalities of the autonomous Swedish-speaking province of Åland.

See also: Finnish Language Policy , List of Swedish and Bilingual Municipalities in Finland


Differences to Imperial Swedish (rikssvenskan) , the Swedish of Sweden, exist in pronunciation , prosody (especially in the speech melody ), vocabulary and, to a negligible extent, in grammar ( syntax and morphology ).

While the urban population often speaks well- educated Finland Swedish, so-called High Swedish, whose vocabulary is very similar to Imperial Swedish, the inhabitants of old Swedish settlements in the countryside usually speak dialects that are difficult to understand.

Examples of words that differ from their counterparts in the Imperial Swedish vocabulary, so-called Finlandisms , are e.g. B. ( Finland Swedish - Imperial Swedish):

  • lunta - fuska ("botch")
  • få muntur - få en syl i vädret ("to have a say")
  • semla - ljus vetebulle, småfranska ("bread roll")

There are some pitfalls in communication between speakers of Imperial Swedish and Finnish Swedes, such as: B. false friends . Some examples of this are ( Finnish Swedish - Imperial Swedish):

  • almost sat down with a blow dryer! - blow dry! ("Close the window!", Literally "Close the window!")
  • ni slipper att göra det - ni får tillfälle att göra det (“you have the opportunity to do it”, in Imperial Swedish ears “you can avoid doing it”)

Due to differences in official terminology and colloquial language between the Finnish Swedish and Reich Swedish dialects, the novel Okänd soldat ( The Unknown Soldier ) by Väinö Linna had to be specially translated into Reich Swedish in addition to the Finnish Swedish translation.


The rural dialects of Finland are most closely related to the Norwegian dialects of the Swedish , but they also show systematic differences from the dialects of Sweden. On the other hand, there are also big differences between themselves.

The dialects are most pronounced in the coastal areas of Ostrobothnia , where there are around 100,000 Finland Swedes. If you compare them with the strong dialects or regional languages ​​of Sweden (e.g. Pitemål (Bondska), Gutamål and Jämtlandisch ), you will find many similarities in terms of their differences to Imperial Swedish. The most famous dialect in Österbotten is that of Närpes.

Common to all the Ostrobothnian dialects are the so-called "primary diphthongs " (-ai, -öy, -au) , as can also be found in Nynorsk and the Icelandic language . You can also find three genders here - as in most of the rural dialects on the Swedish side, but not in Imperial or Finnish Swedish standard or a regional language - and words that have been lost in Imperial Swedish vocabulary, as well as newly created words.

Finnish language influence

In the primarily Finnish-speaking areas, the Finnish language has a great influence on the everyday language of the Finnish-Swedes (and especially on the youth language ). B. makes noticeable through so-called fennicisms .

The educated standard Swedish of the townspeople was and is influenced by Finnish, which is particularly noticeable in the prosody. However, other influences on this type of Finland-Swedish came from Latin , German , French, and Russian .

In the old, purely Swedish settlement areas of Finland, the influence has remained extremely small due to the centuries of isolation .

Åland is a special case

From a linguistic point of view, the Åland dialects play a special role among the Swedish dialects in Finland; for in essential respects they do not belong to Finland-Swedish, but to Imperial Swedish . Åland's only official language is Swedish.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. As of 2006, Finnish Statistics Center  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /