Finnish, the official language of Finland, comes from Central Russia and belongs to the Finno-Ugric languages family.
As a result of centuries of Swedish rule in Finland, Finnish remained an oral language while Swedish was the language of administration and Latin was used in the church. It is only in the 16th century that Mikael Agricola, a Finnish bishop, laid the foundations for written Finnish. In the 19th century, his work gave birth to a movement that aimed at promoting and modernizing the Finnish language. It is only with the publication of the epic tale Kalevala, one of the cornerstones of Finnish national identity, that Finnish, which had until then been despised by Swedish-speaking people, gained recognition. In 1892, Finnish became the official language of Finland along with Swedish.
Today, more than 90% people in Finland speak Finnish while only 6% speak Swedish. Finnish is spoken by more than 5 million people mostly in Finland, but also in Sweden, Norway, Russia, Estonia, Canada, and in the United States.
In Finland, there are two varieties of Finnish: one is the standard language, and the other one is the spoken language. The standard language is used in formal situations (in speeches, in politics, …) and in almost all printed works. It follows strict grammatical rules, while the spoken language, which is in constant evolution, is used in TV and radio programmes, at work and in informal conversations.
Classification by family
Uralic Languages> Finno-Ugric languages > Finno-Permic language > Finno-Volgaic languages> Finno-Sami languages > Finnic languages > Finnish