There is the tendency in Finland to tell that Finland is for the Finns and they should therefore all talk Finnish. And they moreover tell that Swedes were conquerors (when they arrived 1000 years ago the “Finnish” shores) and implanted Swedish, and the Russians tried that (200 years ago), too.
With that background, I couldn’t but laugh for myself as I encountered a map like this in a book about the root of the Europeans.
On the map areas 1 and 2 represent the Sami people around AD 0. Area 3 is area that the Sami inhabited during XIV and XV centuries.
And the area 2 is the area where the Finnish (first tribes, nowadays government) have pushed the Sami away. So with this background, the ongoing linguistic and cultural aggression towards the Sami, Swedish speaking Finns and other linguistic minorities can be seen as a continuum for what has gone on for more than 2 millenniums.
Last Sunday there was president elections in Finland.
The Finnish verb for vote is äänestää. This verb wasn’t in the Verbix database, so it was added yesterday along with a number of other verbs. Although the verb wasn’t included in the Verbix database, the on-line conjugator conjugated the verb correctly. Just the warning was a bit annoying for this common verb.
Another verb that wasn’t there in the database until yesterday was ystävystyä ‘to become a friend’. This verb will probably remind about itself on 14.2. that is called ystävänpäivä ‘Valentine’s Day’ in Finland.
The Finnish verb nauttia ‘to enjoy’ doesn’t have any equivalent among the closest language relatives.
The stem of this verb is an old Germanic loan, with a reconstructed word stem *nautijan- ‘to possess, to enjoy’. This stem is represented in today’s Swedish verb nöta ‘to spend’, with an older meaning ‘to enjoy’.
In written language the verb nauttia has been since the XVI century.
I read another day in the newspaper about a Sami person who told that, in order to learn Finnish and Finnish ethnohistory, they should study Sami.
Having read the text, I remembered a map in a book that I read recently. And the map showed how the only people that dwelled in Northern Europe were Sami.
The map to the right shows the linguistic situation in Europe in 600 BC. The Sami people are displayed in light yellow, and the other (Fenno-)Ugric languages in yellow. As seen the ancestors of today’s Finnish speaking population lived in today’s Estonia and in a very limited area of today’s Southern Finland coast area.
Since then both the Finnish and Germanic tribes have pushed the Sami northward.
In summer 2009 I convinced my family to visit Värmland during our summer vacations in Sweden — although Värmland was aside from our planned route.
So why did I want to visit Värmland?
Well, I had read that pretty recently there were Finnish speaking people living there: “The early 17th century marked the beginning of a substantial immigration from Finland. The areas where they centred were known as Finnskog. They kept their Finnish customs and language until the late 19th century. The last native resident to speak Finnish here died in the 1980’s.”.
After all we didn’t expect to talk there in Finnish, or more specifically “Forest Finnish”. But it was more than astonishing to see Finnish names on the traffic signs in the heart of Sweden!