Language Profile: Finnish

Travel around the world with us each Tuesday as we take a closer look at a different language every week!

language profile finnishRural_Finland_panorama_repost_by_Jc428

Classification: Uralic, Finno-Ugricimage001

Closest Relative: Estonian

Official In: Finland, the EU, parts of Sweden and Russia

Linguistic Quirks:

  • Finnish has the same word for “he” and “she,” and does not have grammatical gender at all
  • One of the few languages of Europe that doesn’t come from the Indo-European language family
  • Possesses “vowel harmony.” A suffix’s vowel is determined by the word it follows.
  • Fifteen (not a typo!) noun cases

Famous Speakers:

  • Tarja Halonen, first female president of Finland, member of 2009 Forbes Most Powerful Women in the World
  • Linus Torvalds, software engineer creator of Linux
  • Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins hockey goaltender

Want to learn?
You can find Finnish being taught at SLE Brown this spring! In case you are not a Brown student though, there are plenty of resources available to learn Finnish online, such as LiveMocha, SpeakFinnish!, or utilize the Finnish Embassy resource page!

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