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The Languages of ScandinaviaSeven Sisters of the North$
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Ruth H. Sanders

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226493893

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226493923.001.0001

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The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind

Finnish is Visited by Swedish

(p.93) 4 The Ties That Bind
The Languages of Scandinavia

Ruth H. Sanders

University of Chicago Press

After the twelfth-century annexation of the Finnish territories by the Kingdom of Sweden, the Swedish language made itself at home in Finland. Many native speakers of Swedish settled in Finland, while many Finns became bilingual in Finnish and Swedish. Not Finnish, but Swedish would become Finland’s public written language during the six-hundred-year union of Finland with Sweden. In 1809, Sweden lost Finland to Russia in the Finnish War; and Finland, still not a nation, became a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. However, Swedish remained the dominant language of public life and high culture. Finnish was the language of the farms, the villages, and the rural churches. Not until 1917, when Finland gained its independence from Russia and became a nation, did the Finnish language gain official status in its own land, while Swedish became Finland’s second language.

Keywords:   Finnish, Swedish, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire, Suomi, Finnish Independence

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