5,030,000 (1995). Republic of Finland, Suomen Tasavalta. Literacy rate 100%. Also includes English 4,500, Rumanian 1,000, Russian 10,000, Somali 1,300, Tatar 1,000, Turkish 1,000, Arabic, Chinese, German, Polish, Spanish, Vietnamese. Literacy rate 99% (1991 WA). Data accuracy estimate: A2, B. Christian, secular. Blind population 3,345. Deaf population 8,000 (1986 Gallaudet University). Deaf institutions: 44. The number of languages listed for Finland is 11. Of those, 10 are living languages and 1 is a second language with no mother tongue speakers.
ESTONIAN [EST] 6,000 in Finland (1993); 1,020,000 in Estonia and former USSR (1979 census); 60,000 expatriates in various parts of the world, including 20,507 in USA (1970 census); 14,520 in Canada (1971 census); 1,100,000 in all countries. Traditionally on the southern coast. Also in United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden. Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Balto-Finnic. Dialects: TALLINN (REVAL, NORTHERN ESTONIAN), TARTU (DORPAT, TATU, SOUTHERN ESTONIAN), SETU, MULY (MULGI), VYRUS (VORU). North and South Estonian may be separate languages. The Roman alphabet is used. Present speakers are refugees from World War II or recent immigrants. The traditional community was assimilated to the Swedish-speaking community. Typology: SVO. Christian. Braille code available. Bible 1739-1995. NT 1686-1989. Bible portions 1632-1991.
FINNISH [FIN] 4,700,000 in Finland, 93.5% of population (1993); 300,000 in Sweden (1987); 12,000 in Norway (1993); 5,153 in Estonia (1993); 214,168 in USA (1970 census); 36,725 in Canada (1971 census); 6,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Balto-Finnic. Dialects: SOUTHWESTERN FINNISH, HÄME (TAVAST), SOUTH POHJANMAA, CENTRAL AND NORTH POHJANMAA, PERÄPOHJA, SAVO (SAVOLAX), SOUTHEASTERN FINNISH (FINNISH KARJALA, FINNISH KARELIAN). Southeastern dialects called 'Karelian' in colloquial Finnish are distinct from true Karelian (T. Salminen). Finnish is closely related to Karelian and Olonetsian. About 300,000 are bilingual in Swedish. National language. Typology: SVO. Christian. Braille Bible. Bible 1642-1991. NT 1548-1976. Bible portions 1891-1986.
FINNISH SIGN LANGUAGE (VIITTOMAKIELI) [FSE] 5,000 users out of 8,000 deaf persons (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Deaf sign language. 2 major dialects from the Finnish (17 schools) and Swedish (1 school) communities. The first deaf school was founded in the 1850's. Apparent influence from Swedish Sign Language merged with local indigenous varieties. Not intelligible with Danish Sign Language. Signed Finnish is distinct, but used by some teachers of the deaf. There are TV programs. The government pays interpreters to accompany the deaf to hospitals, college, church, etc. Signed interpretation required in court. Sign language instruction for parents of deaf children. Many classes for hearing people. There is a committee on national sign language. Dictionary. Grammar. Films and video. Bible portions 1989.
KARELIAN (KARELY, KARELIAN PROPER) [KRL] 10,000 in Finland (1994); 118,000 in Russia (1979); 128,000 in all countries. There are two villages in Oulu Province, close to the Russian border (Northern Karelian), and others scattered around Finland (Southern Karelian). Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Balto-Finnic. Dialects: NORTHERN KARELIAN, SOUTHERN KARELIAN, NORGOROD, TVER (KALININ). Northern Karelian is traditionally spoken in Oulu, though decreasingly. Southern Karelian speakers were resettled from areas ceded to the former USSR from 1940 to 1944. All are now apparently completely competent in Finnish (T. Salminen). Karelian is a literary language in Russia. Ludic is a separate language (Juha Janhunen 1990). 75% to 100% literate. Bible portions 1820-1993. Work in progress.
LIVVI (OLONETSIAN, OLONETS, LIVVIKOVIAN, AUNUS) [OLO] 80,000 in all countries: speakers out of 140,000 ethnic population (1992 SIL). Scattered around Finland. Also in Russia. Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Balto-Finnic. Speakers were resettled from areas ceded to the former USSR from 1940 to 1944. They now appear to be completely competent in Finnish (T. Salminen). Close to Karelian and Finnish. Ludic is transitional between Livvi and Veps. A distinct language from Karelian and Ludic. 75% to 100% literate. Work in progress.
ROMANI, KALO FINNISH (FÍNTIKA RÓMMA, GYPSY) [RMF] 4,000 to 6,000 speak the language out of 8,000 Gypsies in Finland (1980); 1,000 to 2,000 in Sweden; 5,000 to 8,000 in all countries. Western and southern. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Romani, Northern, Nordic. Speakers originally came from Scotland. Not inherently intelligible with Traveller Swedish, Traveller Norwegian, Traveller Danish, or Angloromani. A Gypsy language. 50% to 100% literate. Christian. Bible portions 1971. Work in progress.
SAAMI, INARI (INARI "LAPPISH", ANAR, "FINNISH LAPP", "LAPP", SAMIC, SAAM, SAAME) [LPI] 400 (1983 UBS); 4,000 all Saami in Finland (1987 Swedish Saami Association). Lapland, above 68.00N Lat., in an area about 15,400 square miles between Lake Inari and the Norway border. They are in the majority around the border town of Utsjoki. Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Lappic, Eastern. The name "Lapp" is derogatory. Finnish Saami all know Finnish and speak it for all purposes outside their work as reindeer herdsmen. Instruction in schools is in Finnish. Some literature. 75% to 100% literate. Pastoralists: reindeer. Bible portions 1903-1980. Work in progress.
SAAMI, NORTHERN (NORTHERN LAPP, DAVVIN, "LAPP", SAAME, SAME) [LPR] 1,600 in Finland (1987 T. Salminen); 10,000 in Norway; 5,000 in Sweden (1994 SIL); 16,600 in all countries. Utsjoki, Enontekio, and Sodankyla. Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Lappic, Northern. Dialects: RUIJA, TORNE, SEA LAPPISH. The most widely spoken Saami language in Finland. 75% to 100% literate. Bible 1895. NT 1840-1874. Bible portions 1838-1993. Work in progress.
SAAMI, SKOLT (SKOLT LAPPISH, RUSSIAN LAPP, "LAPP", SAAM, SAME, LOPAR, KOLTA, KOLTTA) [LPK] 500 in Finland; 500 in Russia (1987 T. Salminen); 1,000 in all countries. Northwest of Inari Saami. Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, Finno-Cheremisic, Finno-Mordvinic, Finno-Lappic, Lappic, Central. They use the Roman alphabet with diacritics. Many in Finland are bilingual in Finnish. 75% to 100% literate. Pastoralists: reindeer; fishermen, hunters. Christian. Bible portions 1878-1988. Work in progress.
SCANDINAVIAN PIDGIN SIGN LANGUAGE [SPF] Also in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Deaf sign language. Used for intercommunication among users of Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish sign languages. Second language only. No mother tongue speakers.
SWEDISH [SWD] 296,000 in Finland, 6.5% of the population (1993); 9,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Coasts of the provinces of Vaasa, Ostrobathnia, Turku-Pori in the southwest, Helsinki, Uusimaa, and Aland Islands. Also in USA and Canada. Indo-European, Germanic, North, East Scandinavian. Swedish Finns have a distinctive pronunciation compared to the dialect in Sweden, but no apparent difficulty in intelligibility. Most are bilingual in Finnish. National language. Braille Bible. Bible 1541-1977. NT 1526-1981. Bible portions 1536-1991.
Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.
If you have questions, comments, or updates on the Ethnologue, go to the Feedback page.
[Europe | Areas | Ethnologue Home | SIL Home]