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Major Languages

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868909.  Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:05 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Munin, that is useful information. There must have been some politics at play in declaring both Finnish and Meänkieli to be official minority languages, since they are essentially the same language. (Meänkieli has a lot of loanwords from Swedish which are not used in standard Finnish, but so do dialects spoken in western Finland which are not considered as distinct languages.)

Again, it must have been politics which meant that the attempt to declare Swedish the "official" language failed, but a later attempt to declared it the "main" language succeeded.

Not that the lack of an official language is actually a problem for a country. The USA doesn't have one at a federal level (some of the states do), and neither does England (Scotland and Wales do).

868986.  Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:05 pm Reply with quote

Well, there is that saying about a language being a dialect with a government and an army. Now, the Meänkieli-speakers may not have an army, but they have been pretty vocal in defining themselves as an ethnic group of their own. More so, i suspect, than the speakers of Jamska or Älvdalska. Those two are still considered Swedish dialects, but from what I understand, could just as easily be considered languages in their own right.

As for Swedish not being official language until recently: a lot of people just didn't think it needed to be. I'm not entirely sure of it myself to be honest. Swedish has kept its position as the nations "main language" and I don't see that position being threatened.

A reason for the change in the politics however might be the 2006 election when the coalition of socialdemocrats, socialists and greens lost out to the liberal/conservative alliance. But I wouldn't draw too many conclusions about that before seeing how the respective fractions of parliament actually voted in the matter, and right now I haven't got the energy to look it up.


Prof Wind Up Merchant
948436.  Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:46 pm Reply with quote

In Kenya there are many tribes with ethnic languages.

1218426.  Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:16 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
suze wrote:
The language in which one dreams is sometimes claimed as the arbiter for bi- or multilingual people, while for women it's often said to be the language in which one curses when giving birth.

No it's not, it's the language you count in. I dream bilingually, quite unrelated to which country I'm actually in. I can't judge the one about giving birth. I, however, count in German, just like every other ex-pat I've ever met in this country count in their respective first languages. Have a listen the next time you're in a supermarket and a foreigner counts out your change for you. ;-)

And as for native languages - isn't that a political thing, too? A lot of Irish people will tell you that while their first language is English, their native language is Irish. Same goes for me and Low German...

(nothing quite like quoting a three year old post, teehee...)



I've invented my own language, and am looking forward to dreaming in it!


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