Document Actions

"Finland-Swedish as the language of a Nordic Union"

The Swedish spoken in Finland, i.e. Finland-Swedish, should be the main language in a Nordic Union, according to the Finnish Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Jan Vapaavuori, who took part in Tuesday's language seminar organised by the Nordic Institute in Helsinki, Finland.

Dec 02, 2009

Jan Vapaavuori

Photographer
Johannes Jansson/norden.org

Vapaavuori says that Finland-Swedish is the variant of Scandinavian best understood across all of the Nordic countries, so should serve as the main language in a political union of the Nordic countries, a controversial proposal one on which he has adopted a positive stance.

The Swedish historian Gunnar Wetterberg recently launched the idea of political Union in an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter. When it was published at the end of October to coincide with the annual Session of the Nordic Council, the article sparked a lively debate throughout the Region. Wetterbberg claimed that such a union would strengthen the Region's voice in international arenas.

Vapaavuori also stressed that Nordic co-operation would have much to lose if it were no longer conducted in a language native to any of the countries. He called for better understanding of the Scandinavian languages in all Nordic countries. The Minister named three factors that complicate the language of comprehension: the lack of knowledge of Swedish in Finland; Icelanders and Finns' difficulty speaking Scandinavian languages; and the fact that spoken Danish can often be difficult to understand.

In order to safeguard Finland's bilingualism, the minister would like to see children and young people learn Swedish and understand the benefits of being able to use it.

Language consultants Pirkko Nuolijärvi and Mikael Reuter also took part in the seminar, which attracted a large audience.

Language consultants Pirkko Nuolijärvi and Mikael Reuter also took part in the seminar, which attracted a large audience.

Read Gunnar Wetterberg's article

NIFIN's website

Registration

If you wish to attend the seminar, please register to Henrik Killander at email: heki@norden.org

Contacts

Gun Oker-Blom
Phone +358 09-68 40 56 20
Email gun.oker-blom@nifin.helsinki.fi