Finnish (suomi)

Finnish (suomi) is a Finnic language spoken by about 5 million people in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Canada and Russia.

Finnish starting to appear in writing during the 16th century. The first piece of Finnish literature was a translation of the New Testament by Michael Agricola which was published in 1548.

Until 1809 Finland was a part of Sweden and Swedish was the official language. From 1863 the Finnish language could be used along with Swedish when dealing with authorities. Civil servants were obliged to use the Finnish language and issue documents in Finnish from 1883. In 1892 Finnish became an official language and gained a status comparable to that of Swedish. Today Finland is officially bilingual in Finnish and Swedish.

Finnish alphabet (suomen aakkoset)

Finnish alphabet

Finnish pronunciation

Finnish pronunciation


  • The letters in blue are only used in names and foreign loanwords
  • The letter G appears in native Finnish words in combination with N as ng [ŋ]
  • Before unvoiced consonants, b = [p], d = [t], f = [f], g = [k] and h = [x]
  • c = [k] when it appears before a, o and u, and [s] when in front of e, i, y, ä and ö
  • Stress always falls on the first syllable of words.
  • Vowels and consonants can be short (written with one letter), or long (written with two letters).
  • Finnish has a system of vowel harmony. There are three types of vowels: front vowels (ä, ö, y), back vowels (a, o, u) and neutral vowels (e, i). Front and back vowels cannot co-exist in the same word. Neutral vowels can be used with either of the two other types. For more details, see:

Information about the pronunciation of Finnish compiled by Wolfram Siegel

Sample text

Kaikki ihmiset syntyvät vapaina ja tasavertaisina arvoltaan ja oikeuksiltaan. Heille on annettu järki ja omatunto, ja heidän on toimittava toisiaan kohtaan veljeyden hengessä.

Hear a recording of this text


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Finnish | Finnish phrases | Numbers in Finnish | Kinship terms Finnish | Tower of Babel Finnish | Finnish learning materials


Information about Finnish

Finnish as a world language? (Reasons for learning Finnish)

Recordings of the Finnish alphabet

Online Finnish lessons

Online Finnish dictionaries

Finnish Electronic talking dictionaries

Radio Suomi - online Finnish language radio

Online Finnish news

Finnic languages

Estonian, Finnish, Karelian, Kven, Livonian, Veps, Võro, Votic

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet