Finnish is a Finnic language spoken by about 5 million people, mainly in Finland and Sweden, and also in Norway, Estonia, Canada and Russia. It is closely related to Estonian.
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. From 1883, civil servants were obliged to use the Finnish language, and to issue documents in Finnish. 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.
Information about the pronunciation of Finnish compiled by Wolfram Siegel
Kaikki ihmiset syntyvät vapaina ja tasavertaisina arvoltaan ja oikeuksiltaan. Heille on annettu järki ja omatunto, ja heidän on toimittava toisiaan kohtaan veljeyden hengessä.
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)
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