About the Finnish Language

  • Finnish belongs to the Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric family of languages. 
  • Its closest relative is Estonian; Hungarian is a distant cousin. 
  • It is spoken by approximately 5.2 million people, mostly in Finland, and by some in Sweden and Russia as well.
  • There are three varieties of standard Finnish which are spoken throughout the country:

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Finnish-Speaking Countries

  1. kirjakieli ("book language") - used in official documents, official speeches and the daily news,
  2. yleiskieli - the standard language used in schools and taught in this course; it is formal and correct, though more relaxed than the "book language," and

  3. puhekieli ("spoken language") - more casual variety used in everyday conversation, which changes frequently.