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
Finnish alphabet (suomen aakkoset)
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
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)