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Finnish Language and Culture

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Finnish Language and Culture

Want to learn about Finnish Language and Culture? You must read this article first.

Culture

Finland might be known for its free schools and the quality of education, but did you know that Finland was also the first country to grant every person the right to have one-megabit broadband connection? It’s no surprise that it has even been called the Silicon Valley of Europe and is the proud home of Angry Birds and Nokia! Though there’s a real possibility you didn’t even know these things came from Finland, as Finns have a tendency to downplay their achievements in the fear of seeming arrogant. Just like the ads on TV said, Finland is a country where you keep living your normal life after winning the lottery because you feel ashamed for being rich.

Finland often seems to be the promised land of introverts as Finns have a tendency to be very silent. Common expectation is that everything you say should serve a purpose of some sort. When you say something, you mean it. For example if you promise to “grab a cup of coffee” with a Finn (“grab a cup of coffee” meaning to spend time together”) they’re really expecting you to hold up to that promise. There’s also a saying that you only need to tell your spouse you love them once. That means that you will keep loving them till you tell them otherwise. This sums up the Finnish mentality very well.

Finns can come across as almost rude because of the culture of silence, though they are commonly very well-mannered, polite, and educated. If you want to fit in it’s important to not talk to strangers too much and with no good reason, especially when using public transport. If there’s a free seat, always take it instead of sitting next to someone.

There’s barely any small talk but instead you might find yourself discussing politics and the current immigration situation when you’re enjoying a cold one after work. It’s not very far off from the truth that the more alcohol is involved the more Finns socialise. It’s very normal for people to hit the bar every Friday night – and not make plans for the next day! Many visitors have said that Finland is the only place where you actually schedule being hungover and make plans according to that. The bar culture makes for example removal to Finland from UK a bit easier, though there’s not a lot of shared social features between these two countries apart from that.

One of the most important words to use when describing Finns is Sisu. Sisu is a Finnish word meaning bravery and perseverance, hardiness and determination. And you need all these characteristics to get through the Finnish winter! Finnish cities come alive when the winter ends and (a very short) summer begins. The fact that military is mandatory for all Finnish men also has a lot to do with this mindset. In the past Finland has fought hard for its freedom and still takes it very seriously.

Much like many other European countries, Finland is very liberal. Being liberal also means that religion plays a very small role in the Finnish culture, though some religious traditions are very normal in everyday life, they often seem weird to foreigners. These traditions are rarely seen as religious. Like for example, when the school ends for the year you sing “Suvivirsi”, which comes from the church, and a religious morning assembly in school is a regular thing, no matter if you’re part of the church or not. A lot of kids also take part in a confirmation camp the summer they turn 15. This has more to do with tradition and celebration than a religious ritual.

In Finland you should also always keep in mind that women and men are equal. There’s a very few housewives, as its highly encouraged for women to have a career and a family. The other important aspect of Finnish Language and Culture is the fact that no matter where you’re moving from you will be welcome! Whether your removal to Finland happens from UK, Sweden, Poland or America, you will surely have a lot of people to talk with on a Friday night.

 

National Holidays

 

Language

Finland has two official languages — Finnish and Swedish, plus the language of the Sami, spoken by around 2 000 people living in the north. For the majority of people (about 96%) Finnish is the main language, Swedish being commoner in the southwest of the country. If you are interested in hearing some Finnish the following website has information and sound: Finnish Language.

However, the Finns are great English speakers. All but the oldest and youngest speak some English, as they have to learn it in school. But efforts to learn at least a little Finnish will make your stay much more interesting. The great thing is that if you have children they seem able to absorb languages easily, and unless your Finnish is very good they will soon be translating for you.

Published By VanOne
Last updated on 12th August 2019

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