Finnish Swedish-speaking journalists and public figures receive death threats

by , under Enrique

Is it a surprise that prominent Finns belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority received anonymous hate mail and death threats this week? If you want to find the roots of such hatred, one place to look is the anti-immigration, anti-Swedish language and anti-EU Perussuomalaiset (PS) party. 

Members of the Swedish-speaking communities are not the only ones who have received death threats. Feminists, researchers and even Migrant Tales have received such threats as well. It is a sad reality of life in Finland these days. 

It’s no news that part of the PS’ survival plan as a political party includes a concerted campaign against immigrants, visible and language minorities in this country. Another target of the conservative populist party is the Finnish media, which it claims is biased against the populist party.

Amid all this intimidation and attacks, PS chairman Timo Soini claims with a poker face that his party doesn’t hate anyone.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-5-30 kello 7.16.05
Read whole story here.

YLE journalist Bettina Såghbom said that she and her family have received death threats on Monday and Tuesday by email, according to YLE in English. Helsingin Sanomat managing editor Paula Salovaara is another journalist who was sent death threats by email this week.

Apart from being strongly opposed to immigration and Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority, the PS has attacked the Finnish media as well.

The views of PS MPs like James Hirvisaari should worry us since Finland’s third-largest party in parliament believes it’s acceptable to pry in the newsroom and tell the media how to do its job.

MP Hirvisaari has branded  journalists in the past as “bloodthirty hyenas” as well as “arrogant lying scum.”

Tom Packalén is another PS MP who is eager to teach the national media what they should write about his party. He called Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, former Soviet daily Pravda (a favorit term used by many PS politicians), and accused the daily of limiting freedom of speech.

Migrant Tales has never hid its concern about the ever-worsening anti-immigration and anti-minority climate in Finland exacerbated by groups like the PS and assisted by the recession.

Death threats against prominent figures of the Swedish-speaking community in Finland as well as prying into the newsroom by politicians should send alarm bells off. An attack against any minority in the vile manner of the PS and steps to compromise the independence of our national media should be strongly condemned as well.

We have fresh examples in Hungary how anti-Romany and anti-Semitism sentiment promoted by nationalist parties has led to greater scrutiny by the government of Viktor Orbán of that country’s media.

In today’s Europe what goes around comes around much faster than before.

 

  1. Joonas

    Did I miss some details or how is PS related to this case? Supo (Finnish Security Intelligence Service) believes there is probably only one individual sending these threats and we do not know if the person is PS supporter or not: http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1288569513509.html

    And no, I’m not a PS supporter and I do condemn these crimes as anyone else. I just believe there are other groups in Finland with more far-right ideologies (such as SVL) than PS. I would think the person is relating to them more than some populist party in the government.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Joonas, I’m not saying that the person is a PS supporter(s) but all this bad blood, antagonism, hatred, xenophobia, racism and intolerance come from a clear source. That source is the PS. It’s like adding kerosene to a fire.

  2. ALWILBGOOD

    It is pretty obvious that most members of these extreme groups definitely vote PS . They always jump on little excuse or no excuse to spread a campaign of hate, bigotry and misinformation.

  3. Jssk

    Joonas, I’m not saying that the person is a PS supporter(s) but all this bad blood, antagonism, hatred, xenophobia, racism and intolerance come from a clear source. That source is the PS. It’s like adding kerosene to a fire.

    So is PS the source of hate mail that mandatory swedish opposers received aswell? Atleast one of them has been called genetically inferior, there has been outright threats sent some people who opposed mandatory swedish in Siuntio. Hate doesnt know a master.

    But i can say that many people experience mandatory swedish as humiliating. Humiliation creates hate.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –But i can say that many people experience mandatory swedish as humiliating. Humiliation creates hate.

      Read history: Finland is a bilingual country. If, and I doubt it will ever happen, that mandatory Swedish, like mandatory Finnish, will be taken off the curriculum, that will be a tragedy for Finland.

      Those who loathe diversity so much that they are willing to get rid of Swedish and thereby strike off an important part of our diversity have more serious issues than just being humiliated. Who’s openly promoting these campaigns? Oh, yes, the Perussuomalaiset. Isn’t that an anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-minority party?

      Who would they scapegoat after they got rid of the Swedish language?

  4. Jssk

    Read history: Finland is a bilingual country. If, and I doubt it will ever happen, that mandatory Swedish, like mandatory Finnish, will be taken off the curriculum, that will be a tragedy for Finland.

    But in real life only some areas of the coast are bilingual. Its not our job to keep swedish language alive by sacrificing money and resources to it. Literally nowhere else in world 95% majority has to learn 5% minority language. That kind of people are subservients, not citizens.

    Those who loathe diversity so much that they are willing to get rid of Swedish and thereby strike off an important part of our diversity have more serious issues than just being humiliated. Who’s openly promoting these campaigns? Oh, yes, the Perussuomalaiset. Isn’t that an anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-minority party?

    Whether swedish is mandatory or not has nothing to do with diversity. If we abandon the mandatory status, i doubt much will change in terms of “diversity”. There will still be a large number of people learning swedish. If swedish language dies out from the coast, its not our problem. They are the speakers, no one else can keep their language and culture alive on long run than themselves. No matter how much money we would pump to it.

    And perussuomalaiset is the only party promoting these because obviously all the goverment parties are on Kokoomus leash. And they like to do tradeoffs with RKP.

    Who would they scapegoat after they got rid of the Swedish language?

    Abandoning mandatory swedish doesnt mean the death of swedish language.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Whether swedish is mandatory or not has nothing to do with diversity.

      Here’s where I disagree totally with you. Look at those groups that want to make Swedish an elective. They are the most right wing, nationalistic and anti-cultural diversity groups in Finland.

      What group will you go after you relegate Swedish to an elective?

      We’ve seen this before in history over and over again.

  5. Jssk

    Here’s where I disagree totally with you. Look at those groups that want to make Swedish an elective. They are the most right wing, nationalistic and anti-cultural diversity groups in Finland.

    I dont think that PS opposes diversity. We already have diversity, always have had. We have saami, we have different groups of finns, fennoswedes, tatars, russians and various more recent immigrants. The reason they are campaining against mandatory swedish is because they are the only ones free to do so along with couple smaller parties (i.e not doing tradeoffs with RKP and Kokoomus in terms of language politics). Majority of finns oppose mandatory swedish so this isnt some “loud minority” that opposes it. Its a huge part of finns.

    What group will you go after you relegate Swedish to an elective?

    Why do you make this about going after any group because it clearly isnt that? People want justice.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I dont think that PS opposes diversity.

      If you look at the track record of the party, what’s been said and what many want to do, the PS wants to keep Finland white at all costs. At the most, it wants invisible immigrants like Germans to move to Finland but opposes anything and anyone that is visible in this society.

      Plans to make Swedish an elective is one of many examples of the PS’ intolerance.

      Apart from being an anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party, it is ultraconservative in many respects. A good example is the Tea Party in the US and in Europe the UKIP, which is fiercely anti-EU and anti-immigration.

    • Yossie

      Enrique

      Roots of hatred? Do you think you are helping at all? Labeling all who wants to diversify finns language skills as “intolerant”.

      We have gone through this earlier and your and your fellow extremists arguments for mandatory swedish is that its a token of “equality”.

      Then let me ask you: How would you adress the concerns of the rising lack of language skills?

      If you just want a token for swedish speakers, so be it. Lets keep mandatory swedish, but cut the studies to 1/4th of the current level. Use rest of the time plus time from maybe religion classes to teach a new elective language.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Yossie, in a globalized world where language and social skills like cultural diversity, languages are super important. The argument that Swedish takes away our will to learn other languages or that more people will study Russian is a bunch of baloney. See who is promoting the campaign to make Swedish into an elective. They are all conservative and pretty right wing. That sheds a lot of light on the issue.

      The issue is diversity and promoting it in our society. Nothing more nothing less.

    • Yossie

      Enrique

      “The argument that Swedish takes away our will to learn other languages…”

      It takes away time that could be used to study another language. Resources are not unlimited. You can only so a set amount of courses in school.

      Like you said yourself:

      “languages are super important”

      How would you adress the issue of finns only learning half decent english and non existant swedish?

  6. Jssk

    Yossie, in a globalized world where language and social skills like cultural diversity, languages are super important. The argument that Swedish takes away our will to learn other languages or that more people will study Russian is a bunch of baloney. See who is promoting the campaign to make Swedish into an elective. They are all conservative and pretty right wing. That sheds a lot of light on the issue.

    The issue is diversity and promoting it in our society. Nothing more nothing less.

    Indeed, we now live in a globalized world. Mandatory swedish is just a remanant of colonial times, and people with colonial mindset want to keep it. And the talk about people learning russian is no nonsense. Its a very useful language in the east.

    I think you just support mandatory swedish because the PS campaign against it.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Indeed, we now live in a globalized world. Mandatory swedish is just a remanant of colonial times, and people with colonial mindset want to keep it.

      You should be happy that you live next door to a neighbor like Sweden. Since too many Finns see Russia as the eternal enemy, they have to overcome this phase in order for there to be real cultural and linguistic ties.

    • Yossie

      “Mandatory swedish is just a remanant of colonial times”

      To be exact, it wasnt mandatory even in colonial era. its a remnant late 70s when RKP held the school reform as hostage unless mandatory swedish was established. It was never intended in the reform untill swedish speakers played political games to get in included.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      people with colonial mindset want to keep it.

      Oh, yeah, those evil colonialists! Of course, your argument is complete rubbish. It’s got nothing to do with colonialism and everything to do with preserving the equal status of all of Finland’s citizens. You know, that other ‘evil’ phrase called ‘minority rights’, the absence of which generally marks a less advanced society! Or do you think all societies are equal, regardless of the rights they employ?

    • Yossie

      Mark

      As you best buddy Enrique said: “languages are super important”

      How would you adress the issue of finns only learning half decent english and non existant swedish?

      Having everyone to learn every minority language is hardly a viable option.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      How would you adress the issue of finns only learning half decent english and non existant swedish?

      Well, I’d start by trying to educate you about how to make a consistent and strong argument. Claiming that Swedish is ‘non-existent’ in Finland is not a very good start, and also claiming that English is ‘half-decent’ doesn’t really communicate fuck all, Yossie.

      My own experience of teaching English when I first came to Finland was that comprehension was excellent and that productive skills were usually the weakest factor, i.e. speaking mostly, and writing to a lesser extent. The basic struggle for Finns is with prepositions, for which there is no magic ingredient. For speaking skills, I blame the way that languages are taught or were taught in Finland in the past. A lot of focus on grammatical correctness (which seemed to fail too) and not much work done on communicative practice and virtually nothing on phonetics, which is essential to understanding how to speak English easily (English has 44 phonemes, even though it has 26 letters, with little correspondence between the two). The key thing though is confidence – Finland tends to be a ‘competence’ oriented society, but that can be an achilles heel at times, especially with language learning.

      Having everyone to learn every minority language is hardly a viable option.

      Which of course no-one suggested, but I guess you thought you’d try to make yourself look smarter than you are by pretending other people are more stupid than they are!

  7. Yossie

    “Which of course no-one suggested, but I guess you thought you’d try to make yourself look smarter than what you are by pretending other people are more stupid than they are!”

    But you did suggest it when you tied “minority rights” to mandatory language studies! Or is this part of “minority rights” only exclusive to swedish speakers in Finland and not applicable to anywhere else?

    “Well, I’d start by trying to educate you about how to make a consistent and strong argument. Claiming that Swedish is ‘non-existent’ in Finland is not a very good start, and also claiming that English is ‘half-decent’ doesn’t really communicate fuck all, Yossie.”

    How about you answer the question and not dodge it. For example EK has been concerned how english only isnt enough nowdays.

    • Mark

      It’s clear to any idiot that Swedish has a different standing in Finland compared to other minority languages. Ideally, there would be at least some education about ALL the language groups living in Finland, and perhaps some basic phrases to at least show basic respect and greetings. Still, I expect you will be choking on your bong at that suggestion! 😀

    • Mark

      And Yossie, when you quote me, don’t bastardize my English. Or is that another attempt to make your critics look more stupid than they are?

    • Yossie

      “It’s clear to any idiot that Swedish has a different standing in Finland compared to other minority languages”

      I assumed the minority rights you were talking about were equal. You cleared it now, mandatory swedish is the exclusive right of the swedish speakers.

      “Ideally, there would be at least some education about ALL the language groups living in Finland, and perhaps some basic phrases to at least show basic respect and greetings.”

      Why not, one course should be enough. Then rest of the time we get free from mandatory swedish could be used for mandatory elective language.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      I assumed the minority rights you were talking about were equal. You cleared it now, mandatory swedish is the exclusive right of the swedish speakers.

      Another straw man, Yossie. Well, that is if your sentence actually made any sense in English, which it doesn’t. Do you mean that all minorities would have the same language rights? I believe that in some instances, this is true and is why the state offers translation services.

      Likewise, the right is not exclusive, because it is the same right that applies to Finn-speakers. It’s just that you assume because Swedish-speakers are a minority, that you can get away with watering down their rights. This is very typical of a hegemonic attitude, where you completely take for granted the rights and ‘normality’ of the dominant majority, even to the point where you are actually blind to the find that this is a right that applies to them – assuming it must be an exclusive right of Swedish speakers only. It isn’t.

      Then rest of the time we get free from mandatory swedish could be used for mandatory elective language.

      Free? Interesting choice of words. Free from the burden of protecting the rights of people you don’t care about!? It will not happen, unless Finland gives up its claim to be a fully functioning modern democracy, and not some mob-ruled populist hinterland!

    • Yossie

      “It will not happen, unless Finland gives up its claim to be a fully functioning modern democracy, and not some mob-ruled populist hinterland!”

      Oh, so all the countries where 5% minority language isnt studied mandatory at all education levels country wide are not modern democracies but populist hinterlands?

      Also you havent still told us how you would solve the issue of lacking diversity in finns language skills.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Do you live in a barn? What is your affinity to straw men?

      Oh, so all the countries where 5% minority language isnt studied mandatory at all education levels country wide are not modern democracies but populist hinterlands?

      Yes. That’s it. 😀

      Of course, the reference to a populist hinterland refers to the effects of a Finland shaped by the PS party, and not merely to the mandatory Swedish arguments. All the same, Finland is looked upon as something of a ‘model’ for other countries in regard to protecting the language rights of minorities, though Finland can and should do more for Saami.

      Also you havent still told us how you would solve the issue of lacking diversity in finns language skills.

      Actually, I did, but you ignored it. Probably because you have no background in education and so failed to see the significance of the points being made. I’m not going to repeat myself.

    • Yossie

      “All the same, Finland is looked upon as something of a ‘model’ for other countries in regard to protecting the language rights of minorities”

      If its looked upon, what are the rest of the world waiting for!? Why are they adopting to study foreign languages rather than minor minority languages!?

      “Actually, I did, but you ignored it. Probably because you have no background in education and so failed to see the significance of the points being made. I’m not going to repeat myself.”

      What you said concerned only english. I think your points there were correct there. However the point was how we are going get people study languages other than english and swedish? Making swedish elective would diversify finns language skills.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Making swedish elective would diversify finns language skills.

      Providing more breadth and resources to language learning in general would help diversify language skills.

    • Yossie

      “Providing more breadth and resources to language learning in general would help diversify language skills”

      So add one more language in top of everything else students already have? Dont you think studying 3 foreign languages at the same time is too much?

  8. Jssk

    You should be happy that you live next door to a neighbor like Sweden. Since too many Finns see Russia as the eternal enemy, they have to overcome this phase in order for there to be real cultural and linguistic ties.

    I dont see Russia as an enemy, do you? And we do have many kinds of ties to Russia, i think its important that there is people able to speak russian, especially in the east.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –I dont see Russia as an enemy, do you? And we do have many kinds of ties to Russia, i think its important that there is people able to speak russian, especially in the east.

      That’s an interesting argument: I don’t like Swedish because I like Russian. If you don’t like a certain language it’s highly probable that you don’t like other ones. It’s a bit like what we call “selective hatred” on MT. Anti-immigration groups like the PS argue that we don’t like certain types of immigrants but others we have no problems. The whole issue is a very simple one: intolerance.

  9. Jssk

    It’s got nothing to do with colonialism

    The most often heard arguments for mandatory swedish are “we have a long history with sweden”, “we need swedish for nordic unity” and such. We are independent now, we are no subordinate of Sweden anymore. Apparently its hard for some svecomans to get over this.

    and everything to do with preserving the equal status of all of Finland’s citizens. You know, that other ‘evil’ phrase called ‘minority rights’, the absence of which generally marks a less advanced society! Or do you think all societies are equal, regardless of the rights they employ?

    Well, tell me why there is no mandatory Saami in the north? Their language and culture is dying out. How do you justify placing fennoswedes above Saami?

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –The most often heard arguments for mandatory swedish are “we have a long history with sweden”, “we need swedish for nordic unity” and such.

      Right. Sweden is the second official language of Finland. Thus Finland is a bilingual country officially. There aren’t too many of those types of countries in the world.

      What some Finns want to do is to make Finland a monolingual country officially. How do you think that promotes tolerance and understanding for other minorities. If that ever happened, and I doubt it will, it would be a sad day for Finland.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      The most often heard arguments for mandatory swedish are “we have a long history with sweden”, “we need swedish for nordic unity” and such. We are independent now, we are no subordinate of Sweden anymore. Apparently its hard for some svecomans to get over this.

      You try to make this a power issue, or of Finnish sovereignty. It isn’t. It’s about the Swedish-speaking people who have lived in Finland for centuries and protecting their equal status and rights. It’s not about a relationship with Sweden or the Nordic countries. Those are merely benefits of having a shared language. The key thing is the rights of the people that are generational citizens in Finland.

      Well, tell me why there is no mandatory Saami in the north?

      Well you tell me, because I think there should be!

    • Farang

      Mark

      The key thing is the rights of the people that are generational citizens in Finland.

      That is very interesting interpretation of someone’s rights. You are actually saying:

      — “It is person A’s right do make person B to learn a language X.”

      — “If person B doesn’t learn a language X, he violates person A’s rights”

      How does that make sense?

    • Mark

      Welcome back Farang. I trust that you will make an effort to keep the discourse civil.

      You are actually saying:

      If you start an argument like this, you are almost certainly creating a straw man. You create an illogical argument just so that you can knock it down. If I knock it down, you ignore it and the same argument pops up again and again throughout the next six months of discourse, as if you have already established it as fact. So, here we go again…

      It is person A’s right do make person B to learn a language X

      This is not the formulation of the right. The right is that both language speakers shall have equal status in regard to the state and in regard to official culture. If Swedish speakers are expected to learn Finnish, then Finnish speakers would be expected to learn Swedish. Likewise, if Swedish speakers working in public services are expected to provide services in Finnish, then Finnish speakers working in public services should likewise be able to provide services in Swedish. This establishes equivalence for the two languages, and clearly the mandatory languages studies are a means to realise that right. For example, taking your example, we could just as easily write it:

      It is a Finnish speakers right to make a Swedish speaker learn Finnish.

      I’m sure you will then move the goal posts and so nobody should ‘force’ somebody else to learn the ‘other’ language. This is unacceptable for several reasons. For a start, Finnish speakers will not be able to get public services in Swedish speaking areas of Finland and vice versa. Second, it is a recipe for social segregation, not social cohesion. Finland can live with people like you moaning that you had to study a ‘subject’ you didn’t care about at school, especially if taking you seriously would undermine rights and cohesion in Finnish society. Who cares if you didn’t like Swedish or see its value. Many people don’t like history and don’t see its value – likewise with mathematics (its boring!) etc.

      “If person B doesn’t learn a language X, he violates person A’s rights”

      The violation of rights does not come at the moment in school when the student fails or chooses not to study Swedish. The violation of rights comes when a Swedish or Finnish speaker can no longer access public services or state institutions in their native language. Given the significant number of Swedish speakers and Swedish speaking areas in Finland, the only effective way to ensure equal access to services is through an educational system.

      Switching to English as a third language that also gives further utility in the wider world would seem, for Finnish speakers, a solution. But then, it is not Finnish speakers who are losing anything here. The cultural heritage and relationship of Swedish speakers to Finnish history and culture is unquestionable, and so removing mandatory Swedish, thus allowing for a decline in status and pressure for Swedish speakers to abandon their cultural equality for the sake of utility will seriously undermine the historical value of Finnish history. It is effectively revisionist, seeking to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Finland of a previous ‘colonial power’ by means of cultural repression.

      It really is a serious matter and anyone except the PS completely understands the ramifications. But the PS is made up of such a bunch of ideological phobics and ignoramuses, that one really couldn’t put any kind of limits on what kind of destructive demolition of Finland’s democratic institutions would take place were they to gain power.

    • Farang

      Mark

      For a start, Finnish speakers will not be able to get public services in Swedish speaking areas of Finland and vice versa.

      Ok, here we need to understand that you and I have different views of what should be right and who has the responsibility.

      Let’s look at this example in a hypotetical situation where Swedish (and Finnish) would not be mandatory in school:

      If a Finnish-speaking Finn goes to Swedish-speaking area and needs public service, it would be his own responsibility if he wouldn’t know how to speak Swedish. He has been given the possibility to learn Swedish but he hasn’t learnt it so it is his own responsibility to try to manage.

      What I want is that with the language skills we transfer the responsibility to individuals instead of putting the responsibility to society.

      If someone wants to be able to come along with both languages, it is his responsibility to learn both languages. But if he chooses to learn only one, then he must acknowledge that he might end up in situations where he has problems with communication.

      That’s how I would like to see things done.

    • Mark

      Farang

      If a Finnish-speaking Finn goes to Swedish-speaking area and needs public service, it would be his own responsibility if he wouldn’t know how to speak Swedish. He has been given the possibility to learn Swedish but he hasn’t learnt it so it is his own responsibility to try to manage.

      You know Farang, one of the biggest complaints about politicians is that when it comes time to accept responsibility for a bad policy that has created a poor institutional process or system, they attempt to evade responsibility by claiming it must be the fault of the individuals involved. And here you are, willingly preparing exactly this kind of argument to divert criticism away from politicans – individualise the problem.

      You, of all people, should understand ‘systems thinking’. Were you asleep in that class too? Systems thinking seeks to find the most efficient way of running the system and when individual behaviour meets an obstacle, the question is not to blame the individual or focus on the individual’s lack of skills, but rather to look at the system to see how this hinders the process or fails to provide the adequate skills. This approach to ‘systems’ has been so successful that it is now becoming mandatory teaching and practice through many many fields and domains, including yours, I’m sure. And yet you want to live in the dark ages? No, you want to GO BACK to the dark ages. 😀

    • Yossie

      “The violation of rights does not come at the moment in school when the student fails or chooses not to study Swedish. The violation of rights comes when a Swedish or Finnish speaker can no longer access public services or state institutions in their native language. Given the significant number of Swedish speakers and Swedish speaking areas in Finland, the only effective way to ensure equal access to services is through an educational system. ”

      Significant number? 5%! They need 95% of people to provide services?! Swedish speakers dont provide services for themselves either? How on earth they managed before end of 1970s when the mandatory swedish started?

      Seriously, you dont need all finns to learn swedish to provide services.

  10. Jssk

    Right. Sweden is the second official language of Finland. Thus Finland is a bilingual country officially. There aren’t too many of those types of countries in the world.

    What some Finns want to do is to make Finland a monolingual country officially. How do you think that promotes tolerance and understanding for other minorities. If that ever happened, and I doubt it will, it would be a sad day for Finland.

    Finland wont be monolingual even if mandatory swedish is abandoned. The fact that we have 2 official languages doesnt mean that they both should be mandatory. And i dont really see how it would be “untolerant” to abandon mandatory swedish. Do you value the concept of diversity more than justice?

    • Mark

      Jssk

      The fact that we have 2 official languages doesnt mean that they both should be mandatory.

      And you say this because it’s not your job to preserve the equal status of both language groups. You simply don’t care about the status of Swedish. But just because you don’t care, a Finnish-speaking Finn I presume, doesn’t mean your views are a valid basis for undermining the equal rights of the other official language in Finland. Such tyrrany by a majority is the scourge of democracies, and is one of the few major potential drawbacks of a democracy.

      Do you value the concept of diversity more than justice?

      This is not the issue. The ‘justice’ you speak of has nothing to do with a crime, but with weighing up the benefit of the effort of students. Hardly a question of ‘justice’, is it?! And the concept of diversity is likewise being used incorrectly – how about diversity starts at home. What is the value of encouraging foreign languages if one’s own home languages are not even taken care of? Can you imagine not teaching Finnish in Finnish schools? So why would Swedish be any different? Unless of course you simply don’t care about the status of Swedish-speaking Finns.

      In which case, it is not about justice or diversity, but rather a lack of understanding about equality, laziness and a lack of caring about your fellow Finnish citizens. And this, you suggest, should be the foundation of language policy in Finland.

  11. Farang

    Mark doesn’t understand that even today, they can only force us to go through the Swedish lessons, but they can’t force us to use the Swedish language.

    Therefore the mandatory Swedish lessons make no difference regarding to Swedish-speaking Finns. How does it benefit Swedish-speaking Finns, if any random person X learns mandatory Swedish, but never speaks a Swedish word after school?

    You don’t seem to understand that even if Swedish wouldn’t be mandatory, it would still be taught in schools and lot of Finnish-speaking Finns would learn it anyway. Some people would then choose another language.

    Point is that a person who is forced to learn swedish against his will, is not going to use that language anyway, therefore it doesn’t benefit Swedish-speaking Finns at all.

    Mark, do you admit that your point about right is not about the language skills at all? You just want Swedish-speaking finns to have a “status”. And status in this case means only the fact that Finnish-speakers are forced to learn Swedish, it has nothing to do with actual Swedish skills.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Mark doesn’t understand that even today, they can only force us to go through the Swedish lessons, but they can’t force us to use the Swedish language.

      Mark understands well. But this isn’t the issue, is it Farang. No-one is forcing you to use Swedish unless you work in certain public service positions, in which case it is part of your job description to be skilled in Swedish.

      Therefore the mandatory Swedish lessons make no difference regarding to Swedish-speaking Finns.

      How can you lose variables so easily, Farang? You conflate one argument with another and in the process arrive in your own blind alley! Swedish lessons clearly make a difference if it provides the skills necessary for working in certain public service positions. Back to the job description.

      Here’s an example to help you understand. While everyone will learn some IT at school/college, some people will learn it better, and this will equip them to study further/gain work in the IT sector. The state does not force someone who has learnt some IT at school to work in the IT sector or practice their IT skills. But arguing that because of this, IT studies ‘makes no difference’ to those working in the IT sector is of course, plain false.

      You don’t seem to understand that even if Swedish wouldn’t be mandatory, it would still be taught in schools and lot of Finnish-speaking Finns would learn it anyway. Some people would then choose another language.

      Short memory Farang? We’ve been around this carousel before. When I presented some estimates for how this would actually play out in different scenarios, you replied:

      Mark, I appreciate your effort. Very good points, you win, I admit that.

      Maybe we can now end this debate, I don’t have any more arguments against yours.

      I guess you found new arguments 😀

    • Farang

      Short memory Farang? We’ve been around this carousel before. When I presented some estimates for how this would actually play out in different scenarios, you replied:

      Mark, I appreciate your effort. Very good points, you win, I admit that.
      Maybe we can now end this debate, I don’t have any more arguments against yours.

      I guess you found new arguments

      I do remember the debate. Point is that you and I have different views on what should be a right and what should be a responsibility. Even if I have my own view, I am not saying that your view is wrong. And you have good rationalisation and arguments for that. Therefore I don’t have any arguments to fight your view. I can only present my view but that’s pretty much it.

      But you should understand that even If I don’t change my view to agree with yours, it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate your arguments and points made.

      Like in every matter, people have different opinions and viewpoints and we should accept that. You can’t say that I am wrong simply because I don’t agree with you and vice versa.

  12. Farang

    Mark

    You, of all people, should understand ‘systems thinking’. Were you asleep in that class too? Systems thinking seeks to find the most efficient way of running the system

    You can’t use that argument if you are willing to nullify the argument yourself.

    The most efficient way would be to just force the 5% to learn the majority language, then both parties would be able to communicate in Finnish.

    But in this case you don’t accept the most efficient way because it wouldn’t be equal. Therefore you want do less efficient way of forcing 95% of people to learn the language of minority.

    In any case the most efficient way to ensure communication skills between people would be if they share ONE common language. TWO common languages is just a waste of resources and your only rationalization for that is equality.

    • Mark

      Farang

      The most efficient way would be to just force the 5% to learn the majority language, then both parties would be able to communicate in Finnish.

      Agreed. It would be the most efficient system if we are willing to ignore the harm that would come from the effect of ‘cultural cleansing’. Systems thinking takes into account the harms that come from different operations of policy. It seeks to anticipate and minimise harms. This is perfectly consistent with adopting a policy of language studies to ensure equal status for both native language groups.

      TWO common languages is just a waste of resources and your only rationalization for that is equality.

      Maybe, maybe not. One of the advantages of human society is its diversity. In fact, diversification and specialisation are the processes that have specifically allowed modern societies to emerge. So, ‘TWO’ is not necessarily more of a waste than ‘one’. Anyhow, it is also the greatest failure of politicians to put ideology in the way of sociology. The social reality is that cohesion works well when all citizens feel valued and respected. Your solution is a recipe for seperatism. I wouldn’t mind, but seperatism has been a far greater threat to European security than religious extremism. Irony, or what!

      The rationalisation is equality. But it’s also plainly more realistic. Expecting that you could or would be able to extinguish Swedish speaking in Finland is totally unrealistic. The harm you would do even attempting it would be pretty pointless, considering the only ‘pain’ that exists with the current system is that you have an extra subject to study while at school and university. Learning a language isn’t difficult if there are plenty of resources. But for sleepy teenagers, I guess it can be a pain in the arse. But we don’t make policy on the basis of how teenagers feel about life. Teenagers are hardly known for being aware of the constraints and functions of society.

    • Farang

      Anyway, could we atleast agree on one thing:

      Globally it would be the ideal (and the best) situation if there was only one language and every person in the world would speak that language?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Globally it would be the ideal (and the best) situation if there was only one language and every person in the world would speak that language?

      Ugh. Sorry mate, no can do. I do think the world would function well if there was one ‘lingua franca’, but there are some serious issues with this in terms of hegemony. Having English as the lingua franca can be seen to benefit the US and other English speaking countries, both in terms of globalised brands and in terms of productivety.

      Second, a world with only ‘one’ language is extremely unlikely and should almost certainly not be followed as a policy. That would be suicide. Language changes and diversifies with geography. While modern media transcend that to some extent, the fact is that people of different localities will differentiate themselves somehow.

      Would that ONE language be Finnish, by any chance Farang? And while we are at it, we might as well get rid of national borders and sovereignties. Clearly a single market is more efficient, isn’t it?

      Anyhow, I guess you realise that diversity is the reason our species has survived so well – our genetic diversity allows our species to survive quite devastating threats, but bacterial and material. As a philosophy, I cannot for a second think how ‘mono-ism’ somehow benefits us. Indeed, mono-theism has many drawbacks, including the problems of authority and dogma that tend to attach to monotheistic faiths. Polytheism is well-suited to accepting that there are many approaches and paths in life, and that insisting on a single path is totalitarian and destructive.

    • Farang

      Mark, you totally misunderstood me.

      I was talking about hypotethical situation, where there would be one common language among all people in the world, and there never were any other languages.

      Would you consider that as an ideal situation?

    • Mark

      I have no preference one way or the other, Farang. I’m not a person that seeks the ideal merely for the sake of having an ideal. The point is that nature favours the advantages that come from diversity. Often, these advantages are not always felt directly at the individual level but are most certainly felt at the species level. Different languages allow different perspectives on the world to develop, nuanced understandings of time, for instance. The Greeks had [actually] three formulations for time (Kronos, Kairos and the other I forget), Newton suggested two (absolute and relational).

    • Farang

      1) I am trying to establish an understanding that regarding languag, diversity is not bringing any benefits, only harm. Different language skills are only a solution to the problem caused by diversity.

      2) If there was only one single common language in the world then every people would be able to communicate with each other with that language.

      3) The more languages there are in the world, the more problems there are regarding peoples’ ability to communicate with each other.

      Could you please answer, do you think that what I wrote above is true of false? You can answer separetely for each chapter (1-3) just so I can figure out what you actually think.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I am trying to establish an understanding that regarding languag, diversity is not bringing any benefits, only harm. Different language skills are only a solution to the problem caused by diversity.

      Without getting into details, I would say that any theory of suggests a very highly developed aspect of human culture only brings harm and NOT ANY benefits is almost certainly false. Why would humans adopt such a practice in the complete absence of any benefits? Seems unlikely, unless you are willing to bet that humans are extremely stupid, which I’m not.

      2) If there was only one single common language in the world then every people would be able to communicate with each other with that language.

      You don’t seem to be considering the function of lingua francas. Why not? This is a far more efficient way of processing language differences. For example, it has often been suggested that the EU adopt an ‘M’ language, where all languages are first translated into the M language and then into other languages. The benefits of this is that you do not need to translate from one language into all the other languages, hence German to Finnish, German to Greek, German to Serbian etc. First German to M, and then M to Serbian, which can be taken care of by nationals of Serbia specialised in translating to and from the M language. The difficulties are of course in having to rely on the quality of the initial translation into the M language.

      Such an M language should be the accepted lingua franca language, which following the expansions of the EU is now recognised to be English.

      3) The more languages there are in the world, the more problems there are regarding peoples’ ability to communicate with each other.

      Breakdowns in communication typically result not from a lack of language skills, though this can create problems, but through issues of self-determination and the use of ‘national’ resources.

      But why spend a great deal of time going down this ‘radical’ path, because in the end, you will only arrive at an ‘ideological’ solution, which isn’t really a solution, but just ‘a good idea if only everyone would accept it’. It’s not unlike the Christians who would say, ‘the world would only be a better place if everyone was a Christian’. Well the world isn’t, and trying to make it so is actually creating more problems without an obvious end in sight.

      The cognitive advantage of being bilingual is well-established, and relates to various kinds of ‘flexible’ thinking. Though given your obvious use of Finnish and English, it’s clearly not always true. 😀 Sorry, couldn’t resist. I admire that you can and do try to debate here in English and your language skill is generally very good, Farang. The flexibility in your thinking is another matter…

    • Farang

      I asked you 3 simple questions, where you would only need to answer true or false, but yet you didn’t answer any of them.

      Why is that? How can you expect honest discussion from everyone else when you don’t follow that yourself?

      The only assumption I can make is that you actually agree with all the 3 points but you don’t want to give straight answer because then you think that it would take away the base from your other arguments. Is that right?

      Am I really asking too much, if you would just answer true or false to those 3 questions?

      I have one much more simple question here:

      Consider 3 persons. In which case it is easier to communicate with each other:
      a) they all speak same language
      b) they all speak different language

    • Mark

      Farang

      I asked you 3 simple questions, where you would only need to answer true or false, but yet you didn’t answer any of them.

      Well, I’m awfully sorry! Sometime a ‘true or false’ answer is not going to express a person’s actual views.

      How can you expect honest discussion from everyone else when you don’t follow that yourself?

      hahahaha – didn’t take you long to start questioning the honesty of other posters, Farang. That’s a short fuse you have there, mate!

      It would be dishonest to answer ‘true or false’. Sorry, but it would be.

      The only assumption I can make is that you actually agree with all the 3 points but you don’t want to give straight answer because then you think that it would take away the base from your other arguments. Is that right?

      Ugh, no. Can you really see no reason why a ‘yes/no’ response would be inadequate?

      1) Different language skills are only a solution to the problem caused by diversity. Diversity being what? Different languages? Circular proposition. Do different language skills give rise to positives? Yes. So, no, they are not ONLY a problem. Can it be a problem? Yes it can. Answer is therefore both yes and no.
      2) One single common language in the world would enable everyone to communicate with each other. Yes, in theory. Can theory be put into practice? No. Answer, therefore is both yes and no.
      3) The more languages there are in the world, the more problems there are regarding peoples’ ability to communicate with each other. Depends on what languages you know and who you are trying to communicate with. There is no ‘yes/no’ answer to this question.

      Am I really asking too much, if you would just answer true or false to those 3 questions?

      Yes.

      There you go. An easy answer to that question.

      Your attempts to put me into a straightjacket on this issue are hardly worthy of comment if you are not going to take those comments seriously. Do you want to debate, or do you want to play games, Farang?

      Consider 3 persons. In which case it is easier to communicate with each other:
      a) they all speak same language
      b) they all speak different language

      Fuck the communication lesson, Farang. What about the language they were brought up speaking? What about respecting people’s right regardless of language differences? Do these thing actually register with you?

    • Farang

      You are only dodging my question here. And that’s why I call it dishonest discussion.

      By diversity here I mean the variety of different languages. Meaning more different languages equals more diversity.

      What I want is that you admit that in case of different languages, diversity creates problems. More diversity, more problems. Problems being that people are unable to communicate with each other. And as a solution to this problem, people need to learn more languages.

      I am not suggesting that we should start to get rid of languages and start teaching all people globally the one and same language. I am simply saying that we should acknowledge the situation that exists today.

      And in this situation (still talking about languages) you just can’t say that diversity brings any benefits. Diversity is a problem and to minimise the harms caused by this problem the solution is to learn more languages.

      Do you agree?

    • Mark

      Farang

      You are only dodging my question here. And that’s why I call it dishonest discussion.

      Yawn – so, giving detailed answers to your questions is ‘dodging the question’. Yeah, whatever. You are losing my interest fast, Farang!

      Meaning more different languages equals more diversity.

      Yet your premise is circular, if by ‘diversity’ you merely mean ‘more languages’. For anthropologists and socioligists, ‘diversity’ is a far more developed concept that covers perceptual, cultural, and language based differences. Ever heard of ‘variety is the spice of life’? 😀

      What I want is that you admit that in case of different languages, diversity creates problems.

      Well, you should have said this in the first place then, because the way you worded, you said that language differences ONLY brings harms and NO benefits. You see, you presented an absolute statement and then moaned like a ninny when I couldn’t agree with it.

      Problems being that people are unable to communicate with each other. And as a solution to this problem, people need to learn more languages.

      And once again you seem to be completely ignoring lingua francas, even though I’ve mentioned them several times now. I.e. peole don’t necessarily need to learn more languages 🙂

      you just can’t say that diversity brings any benefits.

      Now I just cannot fathom what kind of bubble you must be living in to come out with a statement like that. Maybe I just misunderstand you. So, all the literature, songs, poetry, science, stories, lives lived and relationships lived in any of the world’s many languages have no value in respect of the language in which they are couched? I fear that a great many of the human race will simply disagree with you on this point, and will feel that the nuances and beauty of their own native languages brings a great deal of benefits. Clearly, when dealing with one’s own locals, then typically, a native languages is a passport into communities, into adulthood, into work etc.

      Of course, you can argue that all of this can take place in ‘one’ language, but you might as well be arguing that the world could function just as well if it was flat – the simple fact is, it isn’t. So why play with hypotheticals?

      Diversity is a problem and to minimise the harms caused by this problem the solution is to learn more languages.

      Yawn. See previous comments. Your idea of diversity is … err…one-dimensional!

    • Farang

      Fuck the communication lesson, Farang. What about the language they were brought up speaking? What about respecting people’s right regardless of language differences? Do these thing actually register with you?

      Why are you letting the issue of rights to blind you from the facts? Even if you acknowledge the fact, it doesn’t mean that you undermine anyone’s rights. It has nothing to do with each other.

      Why can’t you just admit that the fact that we have different languages is causing the problems of communicating with each other globally? Do you really think that answering to that question would violate someone’s rights?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why are you letting the issue of rights to blind you from the facts?

      Ah, now there I was thinking you were trying to present some kind of argument, not facts per se. So what ‘facts’ did you actually share? A definition for diversity? That was certainly conspicuous by its absence. Figures on how many languages there are in the world. Nope. Figures on how many people find themselves struggling with a second language in their everyday life? Nope. I guess i missed the facts that you were giving so generously!

      Talking about ignoring things, though, you simply chose not to deal with the question of rights or to acknowledge their importance. Your lost on some stupid Tower of Babel thought experiment that gave you the Nirvanic insight that the world would be a lot simpler if everyone spoke the same language. Except that its just like one of those half-baked pot-head insights that you get when you’ve been puffing on the bong and you think you’ve discovered ‘the answer to the universe’, when in fact, you brain has just been a bit zealous in attaching ‘significance’ to the brains ability to find ANY kind of connection between two concepts.

      Your thinking lacks depth and perspective, either historical or philosophical. If you were actually making an argument, instead of constructing absolutist and circular propositions, I might humour your arrogance and naivety in the field of language, a field I am very very familiar with.

      Problems of ‘communicating’ are almost always problems of something else, in their essence. Language is rarely if ever the culprit. Different values, a sense of injustice, greed, competition for resources, a lack of fundamental respect for the value of humanity – these are the issues that underly the worlds problems, not having different languages, Farang.

  13. Farang

    Mark

    So, all the literature, songs, poetry, science, stories, lives lived and relationships lived in any of the world’s many languages have no value in respect of the language in which they are couched? I fear that a great many of the human race will simply disagree with you on this point, and will feel that the nuances and beauty of their own native languages brings a great deal of benefits.

    Do I have to interpret this so that you still don’t understand what I’m talking about?

    If every people in the world would have the SAME native language as everyone else, everyone would have been brought up using that same language, then how can you say it wouldn’t be better situation as the situation now the people have different native languages?

    If you had the initial situation where every people in the world would speak the same language and then you compare it to the situation that people would be divided in several groups which all have different native language, HOW COME you think that division would bring any benefits compared to the initial situation where everyone shared SAME native language?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Do I have to interpret this so that you still don’t understand what I’m talking about?

      You just have to be clear and not be creating straight jackets demanding yes and no answers to questions that very clearly have a ‘it depends’ attached to them.

      then how can you say it wouldn’t be better situation as the situation now the people have different native languages?

      Well, the answer is obvious. Countries that are largely monolingual still have social problems and problems of ‘communication’ and inequality regardless of the fact that the people we are talking about are speaking the same language. Assuming that all problems arising between people of different languages is actually down to the language alone is simplistic. Be simple if you want, but don’t ask me to run joyfully down the same path to inanity!

      If you had the initial situation where every people in the world would speak the same language and then you compare it to the situation that people would be divided in several groups which all have different native language, HOW COME you think that division would bring any benefits compared to the initial situation where everyone shared SAME native language?

      This is a bit like say, imagine you had no ears, not mouth and no nose, how would it be to live your life?

      Farang – I live in a home with two languages. My children are cared for, they play, they learn, they explore, they have fun and they care for each other using both languages. We also have instances when a word in one language is not known in the other language. Guess what – we ask, or we tell about the other word. It’s not the end of the day, it’s not a ‘harm’ as you want to paint it, and it’s not a limitation. The reality is that cultural and social value comes from having access to TWO language groups in the world.

      That’s the reality – that’s the real world, no some made-up fucking figment of extreme monoculturalism that you are trying to dream up in some vain attempt to justify an attack on the language rights of Swedish speakers in Finland.

      And with that, I really think this conversation is at an end, Farang. Feel free to fart into the breeze! Now tell me that would sound better in Finnish 😉

  14. Jssk

    You try to make this a power issue, or of Finnish sovereignty. It isn’t. It’s about the Swedish-speaking people who have lived in Finland for centuries and protecting their equal status and rights. It’s not about a relationship with Sweden or the Nordic countries. Those are merely benefits of having a shared language. The key thing is the rights of the people that are generational citizens in Finland.

    As mentioned before, its largely a result of RKP’s political tradeoffs in the school reform. Why do you think there wouldnt be enough people able to speak swedish if the mandatory status was abandoned? finns are lazy? they hate swedish and want to take the rights of fennoswedes away?

    • Mark

      Jssk

      finns are lazy? they hate swedish and want to take the rights of fennoswedes away?

      Why do you say Finns? Swedish speakers are Finns too and they learn Finnish. And why do you try to make this a matter of nationality or national identity? Surely its about students and what they are inclined to do when they are at school. I mean conscription is a greater burden on your freedom, but I imagine you are in favour of that, for the sake of secure nation state? So why complain about a few hours of study a week. Kids (and some adults) do not understand the structural requirements of society; they prefer to fall off the margins, seek a counter-culture, rebel, play the maverick. But at the end of the day, they have the freedom to do this because others choose to support the state and the state’s structures and institutions – and preserving language autonomy and instruction is a function of the state that I really don’t expect ‘children’ to fully understand or appreciate! 😀

    • Farang

      If we would care about justice, we would everyone understand why kids don’t want to speak or learn swedish.

      In a world of justice the keeping language alive should be nobody else’s responsibilitys than the persons speaking that language.

      Current system in Finland forces finnish-speaking Finns to keep the swedish language alive in Finland. And that is not justice and there is every reason for people to fight against it.

      Majority of Finns are already against mandatory swedish, so it’s only a matter of time when it’s made non-mandatory, like it or not. First phase was when mandatory swedish was removed from the list of mandatory subjects in matriculation examination. And that road continues, like it or not.

    • Mark

      Farang

      In a world of justice the keeping language alive should be nobody else’s responsibilitys than the persons speaking that language.

      How is that justice? How is that justice for those that speak the minority language, that the state puts the ‘other’ language in a privileged position of being the ‘state’ language, complete with educational support and training and sticks two fingers up to the ‘other’ language. How is that justice? I fail to see it.

      Current system in Finland forces finnish-speaking Finns to keep the swedish language alive in Finland.

      So. Finns are ‘forced’ to keep the welfare system alive by paying taxes! Finns are forced to pay a TV tax. Finns are forced to pay a sugar tax. So what! Obligating citizens is a normal part of government and just because there is an obligation doesn’t make it unjust. Swedish speakers learn Finnish and Finnish speakers learn Swedish – what could be more fair!?

      You simply do not care for the rights of Swedish speakers. It’s not about keeping their language alive, it’s about avoiding giving Finnish a privileged position in relation to Swedish, which would put pressure on Swedish speakers to abandon their heritage, in exactly the same way that Russian speakers in Latvia and Estonia have started to abandon Russian.

      Majority of Finns are already against mandatory swedish

      Minority rights should not be subject to the childish or populist whims of the majority. And I don’t give a fuck how unpopular that makes me! It’s a fact and its an important pillar of modern democracies. Only ignoramuses who cannot be bothered to educate themselves about the nature of democracy and political representation would think otherwise. Why do you think politicians have refused to change the law in spite of its unpopularity? Because they well understand the importance of going against the majority when it comes to minority rights!

    • Farang

      How is that justice? How is that justice for those that speak the minority language, that the state puts the ‘other’ language in a privileged position of being the ‘state’ language, complete with educational support and training and sticks two fingers up to the ‘other’ language. How is that justice? I fail to see it.

      So, how did we manage 40 years ago, when swedish was not mandatory?

      Swedish speakers learn Finnish and Finnish speakers learn Swedish – what could be more fair!?

      Actually, that is far from fair. In that system everyone needs to use equal amount of effort but other group is gaining more out of it.

      When swedish-speakers learn Finnish, they gain the ability to understand 95% of the nations population.

      When finnish-speakers learn Swedish, they gain tha ability to understand 5% of the nations population.

      Therefore with the same effort, swedish-speakers gain 19 times the benefit that finnish-speakers gain.

      Equal?

      It’s not about keeping their language alive, it’s about avoiding giving Finnish a privileged position in relation to Swedish, which would put pressure on Swedish speakers to abandon their heritage

      You still don’t get it. It is not our responsibility to help others keep their heritage. They need to take care of it by themselves.

      It’s a fact and its an important pillar of modern democracies.

      So, Finland is one of the few modern democracy in the world and majority of the countries in the world are not modern democracies? You do know that this situation Finland is pretty much rare in the world.

      Why do you think politicians have refused to change the law in spite of its unpopularity?

      Well, we can draw some conclusions for example from Kokoomus. The party actually agreed that they would drive the mandatory swedish status to be removed, but Jyrki Katainen made a PERSONAL decision not to drive it. It’s all about corruption. But that won’t last long, mandatory swedish is coming to it’s end, and it won’t take much longer anymore.

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, how did we manage 40 years ago, when swedish was not mandatory?

      I think you’ll find things were a little different 40 years ago! And that was just the time when the legislation was passed. The need for Swedish to be taught had already been recognised for decades before that, going back to the original developments of the educational system in the 50s.

      Actually, that is far from fair. In that system everyone needs to use equal amount of effort but other group is gaining more out of it.

      Absolute rubbish. If it requires the same effort, then it is fair.

      The simple truth is that how much an individual can benefit from or use their language skills is down to them. As for your figures, hardly bares comment, they are so ridiculously irrelevant! A Swedish speaker or Finnish speaker will not access the entire rest of the population, for a start. They access their own local networks. But in terms of media, then both language groups will have equal access to quality media in the other language.

      You still don’t get it. It is not our responsibility to help others keep their heritage. They need to take care of it by themselves.

      I agree. It’s not your responsibility. If you choose to ignore everything ‘Swedish’ about Finland and its heritage, that is and should be your choice. In fact, you are perfectly free to do that. But when you go to school Farang, there is this thing called a curriculum, and there are many subjects on it that you may or may not like but which society deems are useful for you to know something about. Whether you make use of that knowledge is down to you.

      But it is not and should not be your choice to reduce the status of Swedish in Finland.

      So, Finland is one of the few modern democracy in the world and majority of the countries in the world are not modern democracies? You do know that this situation Finland is pretty much rare in the world.

      Well, you obviously choose to take my quote out of context and thereby create yet another straw man. The issue that is the pillar of modern democracy is adequate protection of minorities. The issue of language policy is an extension of that, and yes, many modern democracies have quite poor policies in this area. But things have improved – the direction is clear, from official minority status to support for teaching and official use of minority languages.

  15. Farang

    What is wrong with you Mark? Why can’t you discuss normally and answer to other’s questions?

    I simply want to know if you agree or not on my view that if somehow it would have happened so that from the beginning of human evolution all people in the world would have learnt the same language, it would be better than the current (real life) situation where people around the world speak different languages.

    • Mark

      Farang

      What is wrong with you Mark? Why can’t you discuss normally and answer to other’s questions?

      Farang, you big girl’s blouse, what’s up? You didn’t get the answers you were looking for? It’s called a conversation, not a monologue. Respond to my points to your questions and perhaps this conversation can move forward.

      I simply want to know if you agree or not on my view that if somehow it would have happened so that from the beginning of human evolution all people in the world would have learnt the same language, it would be better than the current (real life) situation where people around the world speak different languages.

      What a fucking utterly pointless question! But no, I don’t think that it would have been a ‘good’ thing, because I actually like that the world has different languages. I grew up with two languages and learnt a third at school. Then I learnt something of a fourth, and then a fifth… and then I moved to Finland, so it was language no.6. And I have to say, there is something amazing about entering a different language, like entering a dark forest, or an evergreen meadow – it is fully beauty, full of suprises and full of challenge. Personally, I like that.

      However, on another note, I think you fundamentally misunderstand what language is and what different languages represent. There was a time when you could travel from one end of Europe to the other and gradually the language would change as you went, so that by the time you crossed from the Black Sea to the Atlantic, you will have traversed as many as 7 or 8 distinct languages, but where the borders of each overlapped imperceptibly.

      The key point you need to take home is that human language is in fact a SINGLE language, with endless possibility for variation. Imagine it like a scale in music, where there is structure, but there is also the possibility for enormous variation in melody. All languages have verbs, nouns, modifiers, adverbs, open class words, closed class words etc, but the arbitrary nature of sound means that you get an endless variation. You cannot stop that variation. Kids will invent new words to differntiate themselves from their parents, and variations that take off north of one point will have no effect south of that point. That is the nature of the variation.

      Yes, it presents a challenge if you want to build ‘nation states’, where the state attempts to take full control of language, to impose territorialisation on it, and to appoint some languages or rather language variants to a privileged position. But the state was always an artificial construction, whereas language follows a much older and more fundamental imperative. Language serves you and your neighbour. If your language helps you with someone living 500km away, all good and well, but it’s never really been that essential – until the nation state came along. Suddenly there is a need for a ‘single’ identity – but it runs counter to all that has informed human society for 10s of thousands of years. And yet you demand it of people as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

      Can you make the birds all sing the same song? Would you even want to? Can you make human beings all speak the same language? Why would you want to? I wouldn’t. That’s your answer. I’m sorry if you don’t like it.

  16. Jssk

    Why do you say Finns? Swedish speakers are Finns too and they learn Finnish.

    Dont play stupid, you know i meant finnish speaking finns.

    And why do you try to make this a matter of nationality or national identity? Surely its about students and what they are inclined to do when they are at school. I mean conscription is a greater burden on your freedom, but I imagine you are in favour of that, for the sake of secure nation state? So why complain about a few hours of study a week.

    Because i, and many others dont see how mandatory swedish is necessary. Its not our job to keep the culture or language of fennoswedes alive. If some politicians want to keep the fennoswede minority vigorous, maybe they should encourage the use of swedish language in some other way than forcing it on others.

    Kids (and some adults) do not understand the structural requirements of society; they prefer to fall off the margins, seek a counter-culture, rebel, play the maverick. But at the end of the day, they have the freedom to do this because others choose to support the state and the state’s structures and institutions – and preserving language autonomy and instruction is a function of the state that I really don’t expect ‘children’ to fully understand or appreciate!

    Funny how you pull this “edgy rebel” card since majority of finns oppose mandatory swedish.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Dont play stupid, you know i meant finnish speaking finns.

      It’s not stupid to point our your hegemonic assumptions!

      Because i, and many others dont see how mandatory swedish is necessary.

      Well, children in general don’t really appreciate the nature of society and how it’s organised, so no surprises there!

      Its not our job to keep the culture or language of fennoswedes alive.

      But it is the responsibility of the state to ensure equality for Finland’s citizens, regardless of their language group. In that sense, it’s your ‘job’ to study Swedish at school. Of course, you can put your fingers in your ears, play dumb, moan about how pointless it all is – but when you start to turn that tantrum into a political policy, you need to be called out for the pathetic numskulls that you are! If you are not interested in Swedish, fine. Like someone who isn’t interested in maths, geography, history or any of the the host of subjets taught at school, you can go ahead and forget all about it once you leave.

      Funny how you pull this “edgy rebel” card since majority of finns oppose mandatory swedish.

      I think when it comes to understanding and appreciating minority rights, the majority of Finns behave like children! Perhaps that’s the issue – they regress back to their school years remembering how they felt then, and simply fail to understand the need to take a more mature and considered approach. This is not the first time that human beings ever made this kind of mistake – claiming it is okay just because it’s a view held by the majority is about as fallacious an argument as you could make – might is right! Bullshit. Grow the fuck up, Jssk and understand that these decisions affect the quality of life of people in Finland, while it hardly registered on your radar when you were at school.

  17. Farang

    Mark

    Absolute rubbish. If it requires the same effort, then it is fair.

    You make it quite easy to show fallacies of your arguments.

    Let’s say 2 persons go to work, they do the same tasks and at the end of the day other one gets salary of 100 euros and other one gets salary of 2000 euros. You call this fair only because both were required the same effort?

    But when you go to school Farang, there is this thing called a curriculum, and there are many subjects on it that you may or may not like but which society deems are useful for you to know something about. Whether you make use of that knowledge is down to you.

    Exactly. And today the society is not anymore seeing swedish as useful, therefore changes are about to happen. The curriculum is revised every now and then and soon it will be time to do changes regarding to swedish aswell.

    But it is not and should not be your choice to reduce the status of Swedish in Finland.

    No, it’s not my choice. It’s a choice of all Finns. And as soon as we get elected a parliament which takes the actions, it’s bye bye mandatory swedish.

    the direction is clear, from official minority status to support for teaching and official use of minority languages.

    You doesn’t seem to follow what happens in Finland? The direction is exactly the opposite. Or how would you comment on the fact that swedish is no longer mandatory in matriculation examination? You didn’t comment on that when I brought it up earlier. How does that fit to your interepretation of direction where we are going.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Let’s say 2 persons go to work, they do the same tasks and at the end of the day other one gets salary of 100 euros and other one gets salary of 2000 euros. You call this fair only because both were required the same effort?

      So where did you dream up the idea that one gets 100 euros and the other 2000 euros? lololol. Joker!

      Try this one for size. Two ladies pick up a newspaper in the ‘other’ language, spend an hour reading it, then go online, search some websites looking for more information about different stories, all done in the other language. Both ladies found their endeavour was informative and enjoyable. Now tell me one got paid 100 euors and the other 2000 euros….hahahahaha. Idiotti!

      Exactly. And today the society is not anymore seeing swedish as useful, therefore changes are about to happen.

      Rephrase this as the majority no longer sees why it should humour the minority by giving it equal status. The only change you can hope for is that a bunch of phobic ignoramuses convince the general public that politics is really a game for buffoons.

      No, it’s not my choice. It’s a choice of all Finns.

      Again, you fail to understand the necessary safeguards of a democracy to avoid the tyrrany of the majority. One thing is clear, you might not be part of this particular ‘minority’, but you will be part of one or other minority, and if politicians start taking this approach across the board, then the whole of society suffers in the end.

      Or how would you comment on the fact that swedish is no longer mandatory in matriculation examination? You didn’t comment on that when I brought it up earlier.

      I am in favour of it not being mandatory during matriculation. Nothing to comment on.

  18. Farang

    Mark, you also seem to ignore the fact about what are the downsides in this kind of forcing. By forcing people to learn swedish, it causes hatred and negative attitudes against swedish-speaking people, who are innocent.

    Same way as in immigration politics. When people feel that immigrants are treated better on expense of Finns, it causes negative attitudes against immigrants, even if immigrants are totally innocent to that situation.

    • Mark

      Farang

      By forcing people to learn swedish, it causes hatred and negative attitudes against swedish-speaking people, who are innocent.

      The hatred is derived entirely from the promotion of unhealthy, antagonistic nationalisms.

      Can you imagine the same nonsense with History teaching. So, history must be taken off the curriculum because the general populus has got so fed up with the pointlessness of learning history during school and having to do exams. People are actually starting to hate historians now and have negative attitudes to anything to do with history. And these are innocent people, so we have to change the curriculum and take history off as an obligatory subject.

      Can you not see that without the nationalistic cloak to drive this argument, it is much easier to see just how ridiculous the whole thing is!

  19. Farang

    Mark, you don’t seem to have any arguments to give in this discussion anymore, so no point to continue. You even fail to see that while you try to rationalize this with “tyranny against minority must not be allowed” argument, you at the same time approve tyranny against majority. All finnish-speaking individuals must suffer so that you would be happy. That is not very healthy approach.

    I look this matter from practical point of view.
    You look this matter from status point of view.

    Therefore we can never find a conclusion that we could agree on.

    • Mark

      Farang

      All finnish-speaking individuals must suffer so that you would be happy. That is not very healthy approach.

      If you think studying the language of your fellow citizens is ‘suffering’, then I hope you suffer like hell, because such narrow-minded jaundiced views about what actually constitutes ‘suffering’ in a society deserves some recompense!

    • Mark

      Farang

      I look this matter from practical point of view.
      You look this matter from status point of view.

      Dream on, Farang. Your practicality entails dreaming up scenarios where the world has only one language and people get paid massively disproportionate amounts of money for speaking or using a language. Practical, my arse. You are so far away from the practical realities that I’m constantly left wondering what the heck you are smoking!

    • Farang

      If you think studying the language of your fellow citizens is ‘suffering’, then I hope you suffer like hell

      It is suffering, if you already know the language of your fellow citizens and therefore you have no need for other one and would rather spend that time learning some useful language.

  20. Farang

    Mark

    Dream on, Farang. Your practicality entails dreaming up scenarios where the world has only one language and people get paid massively disproportionate amounts of money for speaking or using a language. Practical, my arse. You are so far away from the practical realities that I’m constantly left wondering what the heck you are smoking!

    You have serious problems in understanding the difference between illustrative examples and real life.

    My illustrative example was that if there was only one language and everyone in the world spoke it, it would be ideal regarding to people being able to communicate with each other. And as the amount of different languages increases, it causes more problems regarding that ability to communicate and in order to manage with that problem, people need to learn more different languages.

    And the ultimate point in that was: Regarding different languages, diversity is NOT a good thing. Therefore trying to justify that greater amount of different languages is a good thing because of diversity, is an epic fail.

    But you then said that YOU like to learn lots of languages and therefore it is a good thing that ALL people learn different languages. Don’t you see how arrogarnt and self-centered argument that is? You take yourself as an example and then make a conclusion that everyone should be like you.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You have serious problems in understanding the difference between illustrative examples and real life.

      Except that the examples don’t illustrate anything of value except that you think like a schitzophrenic person, in a purely associative way!

      And why do you insist on presenting these ridiculous irrelevant and massively oversimplified ‘illustrative’ examples anyway? Why not deal with the ‘real life’?`

      My illustrative example was that if there was only one language and everyone in the world spoke it, it would be ideal regarding to people being able to communicate with each other.

      Save it for the science fiction, Farang. We are talking real policy affecting real people!

      Regarding different languages, diversity is NOT a good thing.

      Absolute, total bollocks. Saying diversity is a bad thing is like saying language is a bad thing! Language IS diversity in action, in abundance, in totality. No two individuals will describe the same scene or events in exactly the same way. That diversity brings richness of thought, richness of action and is single-handedly responsible for the entire development of the human species into what it is today. To fail to grasp this absolutely core and totally self-evident truth is to demonstrate stupidity of incredible magnitude. lololol. You are great for the entertainment, Farang, you really are!

      But you then said that YOU like to learn lots of languages and therefore it is a good thing that ALL people learn different languages.

      Back to you bad old ways, misrepresenting people, trying to lay traps and generally practicing a passive-aggressive strategy of absolutely refusing to understand the points being made in response to YOUR QUESTIONS.

      I simply want to know if you agree or not…all people in the world would have learnt the same language, it would be better than the current (real life) situation.

      I answered this question, even though I think it is the most ridiculous fucking question ever. I answered it based on my personal opinion, like you asked. And then you have the fucking cheek to tell me that I am saying that it is a good thing that ALL (in capital letters) people learn different languages. Okay, that’s it.

      Here’s the rules Farang, if you want to discuss with me.

      1) do not take my answer to one question and pretend that it was in fact my answer to a different question that you have not actually asked.
      2) do not paraphrase my thoughts. You are so fucking abysmally bad at it that it’s painful to read what tiny modicum of sense you have been able to extract from my sentences.
      3) stick to telling me what you think rather than attempting to tell me what I think. I know what I think, and you clearly don’t. So don’t bother.

      If you stick to these simple rules, I will engage you in debate. If you don’t, it ends here. My time is more valuable than this!

  21. Farang

    Mark

    And why do you insist on presenting these ridiculous irrelevant and massively oversimplified ‘illustrative’ examples anyway? Why not deal with the ‘real life’?`

    Because you don’t understand the real life situations and the results of the actions. Therefore an illustrative example is a good way to show why certain kind of logic is a failure.

    • Mark

      I don’t understand? Let me see…

      Have I ever lived in a bilingual culture where I had to learn the ‘minority’ language as a child at school? Yes. Tick!
      Have I ever lived in a situation where my mother tongue did not equip me to function adequately in society or where it was not recognised as an official language? Yes, to both. Tick!

      So, I think I do understand and there is nothing you haven’t said yet that convinces me that learning Swedish at school is a massive inconvenience or imposition on Finnish speaking Finns. The only reason that people are not happy with it is down to aggressive nationalisms. Take away the politics and its just ‘work’ like any other school work, much of it you won’t use every day, but which nevertheless lay the foundations for specialised skills for the few.

      What don’t I understand? That you hated Swedish at school? Check. That you don’t think its useful to you? Check. That you think you shouldn’t be forced to learn subjects at school? Check.

      So what don’t I understand?

      Therefore an illustrative example is a good way to show why certain kind of logic is a failure.

      Your example was not logical. You assumed that because there were 19 times more Finnish speakers in Finland than Swedish speakers that Swedish speakers MUST therefore benefit 95 times more from knowing Finnish. The logic in that argument is non-existent. The simple reality is that most Swedish speakers live and work with other Swedish speakers.

      You claimed the benefit of a Finn learning Swedish equates to a salary of 100 euros and that of a Swede learning Finnish is 1000 euros. But that very notion, of course that means that all Swedish speakers must be earning 10 times more than Finns. I mean, Farang, is this a believable or truthful statement?

      You make statements that are frankly completely unsubstaniatable and yet you DEMAND that these be taken as FACTS. Your intellectual arrogance is staggering.

      Look, I really think that this is getting nowhere. You started well with your return to MT, but then you slipped very quickly to your bad old ways the minute you started to get any kind of critical response.

      This does not move the debates forward in my view. If people are serious about learning about immigration, or minority rights, then they probably aren’t coming to the comments section of this site to do their homework. So, I think that perhaps my time is better spent on other things.

      Adious! Farang.

  22. Farang

    Mark

    Your example was not logical. You assumed that because there were 19 times more Finnish speakers in Finland than Swedish speakers that Swedish speakers MUST therefore benefit 95 times more from knowing Finnish. The logic in that argument is non-existent. The simple reality is that most Swedish speakers live and work with other Swedish speakers.

    So, now even you admit that for most of the population the learning of the another national language is futile and they don’t need it. And as you yourself said “most”, if means that you admit that learning of that other language is useful only for minority of the population.

    Now, it doesn’t make any sense that we would force EVERYONE to learn something that is useful only for a minority. And even to that minority, it is useful only here in Finland and nordic countries. No use in any other parts of the world.

    You want to force people to waste resources on unuseful things only because you want to uphold a status.

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, now even you admit that for most of the population the learning of the another national language is futile and they don’t need it. And as you yourself said “most”, if means that you admit that learning of that other language is useful only for minority of the population.

      It’s not a futile exercise to maintain cohesion in Finnish society between the two language groups. It is not a futile exercise to ensure equal rights and status for both major language groups in Finland. These are not ‘futile’ things.

      Do you not think that in this ridiculous insistence that learning Swedish is pointless that you are perhaps leaving something out? Just a wee bit?

      Anyhow, enough.

  23. Farang

    Mark

    Look, I really think that this is getting nowhere. You started well with your return to MT, but then you slipped very quickly to your bad old ways the minute you started to get any kind of critical response.

    So, if I defend my views, it’s a bad way? How arrogant is that? You think that only your views are worth defending? And all other views are bad and wrong?

    Tell me, which one of us have used F-words and language like that in this discussion?

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, if I defend my views, it’s a bad way?

      I’m not talking about you defending your views – I’m talking about you misrepresenting other people’s views. Your lack of swearing doesn’t make your arguments any less illogical and neither does it weaken my arguments. It simply expresses my frustration with you. I think you would test the patience of a saint, and I’m no saint!

  24. Yossie

    Mark

    “Providing more breadth and resources to language learning in general would help diversify language skills”

    So add one more language in top of everything else students already have? Dont you think studying 3 foreign languages at the same time is too much?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      So add one more language in top of everything else students already have? Dont you think studying 3 foreign languages at the same time is too much?

      Providing resources doesn’t necessarily mean adding to the work load. On the contrary, it should entail seeking out more efficient forms of language learning. Seeing how horrified people seem to be learning Swedish, it seriously suggests that something isn’t right about the learning environment. In today’s world and with today’s tech, there really are endless possibilities. However, language teaching and language learning appears to have remained largely stagnant over the last 20 years, with the same old ‘methods’ used over and over. When I was teaching, my focus was on developing a method called ‘activated learning’ (a development on the ‘active learning’ methodologies). Today, with kids and their phones allowing them to take the learning modules with them everywhere, this kind of activated learning could be very effective. But it requries a lot of linguistic fundamentals, learning and perceptual creativity and technical know-how to bring a project like that to fruition. In other words, these kinds of projects need more resoures, both personnel and financial. Imagine if Apple’s next job was to come up with language learning software that ‘just works’. That’s the kind of thing I’m aiming at.

      Dont you think studying 3 foreign languages at the same time is too much?

      Depends on the period when it is studied. Swedish should be studied fairly early, in my opinion, from the ages of 7-14. After that, pupils should be allowed to study another elective language for the last two years. This period could build on language learning skills already taught during the learning of Swedish. After all, language learning is about developing and adopting language learning strategies as much as it is about staring at a text book for 4 hours a week in class.

      Languages are not difficult to learn. The key is in making it efficient and making it interesting and fun. Already Google has added a cross-platform ‘phrasebook’ to its Google Translate service. It’s this kind of innovation that works well. When Add-ons can make use of this API functionality to allow words to be translated and added to the phrasebook from any webpage, we will have moved forward another step. When that phrasebook is integrated into another cross-platform Add-on like Anki flashcards, we will have moved forward another step. When language learning starts to build on ‘schemas’ of social and societal interaction rather than on categories (like animals, colours etc.), then we move forward another step. Children don’t learn colours through systematic testing, as much as parents like to test their kids colour vocab – they learn through interacting with objects and learning that ‘colour’ is one of the aspects of an object. It’s the same for most efficient language learning – it takes place in context and it involves an investigative impulse and positive feedback. Learning modules should not be flat and linear, but allow for depth and penetration, so that people can follow different learning paths that suit their curiosity and investigative impulses. Better this than trying to force all students down the same old boring learning curves. And everything should be available in both languages. Imagine that you can explore a 3D house. You can pick up any object, find out who it belongs to, what it is made of, what is used for, how you would ask for it, where it is stored etc. These are all ‘aspects’ attached to all these objects, and they appear by manipulating clean menus on popups via the screen. Imagine taking a walk down a virtual high street, walking into bank or a grocers; picking up an orange, finding out what it’s ‘made of’, where it came from, what the word sounds like, spoken slowly and spoken fast, what colour it is, how much it weighs, that kind of thing. Imagine being able to pull up the ‘schema’ for an orange and having it linked via images to other fruits, to Spain (Sevilla oranges), or to ’round things’. Imagine being able to explore. That’s how kids learn – effortlessly. By investigating and all the while, having your own language as your trusted companion, helping you make the bridge to the other language.

      Where is the imagination? Where is the use of tech to help with memorising, storing and exploring words, phrases and grammar? Nope – you have to go home, get your text books out, your dictionary, read a load of stuff that you find boring and which barely prepares you for actually speaking or functioning in the real world. It’s almost as if we learn languages IN SPITE OF the teaching, not because of it. I just cannot for the life of me understand why this situation has not been addressed yet, given that it’s a massive issue, affecting every country in the world, and which we all want to improve and make easier.

      I mean, in the old days, they used to tease us with ideas that you could fall asleep to french and wake up in the morning fluent – or listen to a monotone repetition of words and phrases – say and speak etc., and magically we would pick up the language. Gosh, it’s almost infantile. It completely misses the point about language learning and how, as children, we acquire our first language – through familiarity with a ‘surrounding’, through interacting, asking for things, asking about things, telling what happened to you, being creative with the language. Context is what makes the gobbledigook that is your parents language into something that is ‘comprehensible input’, that absolute nugget of language learning. Context over and over is what makes language comprehensible, and being emotionally invested in the learning is what helps us remember. As teenagers or adults, learning language takes a different path, because our emotional investments have changed….!!! And language learning has to take that into account.

    • Farang

      You should know that that kind of learning method works ONLY if the person himself is interested in learning and makes the initiative.

      That doesn’t work at all if person is just forced to learn something.

    • Mark

      Farang

      When you go to school, everything is forced. You don’t have a choice about any of it, until much later, and yet we still manage to learn perfectly well. Once again, your examples depart from the reality that everyone can easily test for themselves.

    • Farang

      Difference can be seen so easily by just comparing English and Swedish. Pupils learn English quite fast and easily because they have genuine interest to learn that because it’s useful language. But same doesn’t happen in Swedish classes, because it’s known to be waste of time.

      I am very worried that as a teacher you don’t understand that the methods themselves doesn’t mean anything if the person doesn’t have motivation for learning.

    • Mark

      Farang

      because it’s known to be waste of time.

      You mean like the German kids knew the Jews were just no good? This is a problem of antagonistic nationalism. Finland is closer to Sweden than it is to the UK or USA, except through popular media. And there is plenty of popular media in Swedish. Finns are generally proud of their Nordic continuity, yet strangely ambivalent towards their old adversary Sweden and anything ‘Swedish’.

      Ironically, a similar situation exists in England, where we were ‘forced’ to learn French or German, both of which are capable of creating antagonisms. Yet people recognised that as our closest and most significant neighbours, it just made sense to know something of one or other or both of these languages. Maybe the situation is different today – I don’t know.

      It seems to me though that the antagonism towards Swedish affects a certain portion of Finns. Many Finns HATE the idea of being ‘forced to do something’ by anthing that resembles Sweden! The look of disgust on people’s faces when they express this hatred is almost religious in its passion. They take it as a personal affront to their sovereignty and nationality. All sense and perspective goes out the window. Is this just how Finns bond with other Finns, by knocking anything Swedish? As long as we have ‘an enemy’, then we will be lifelong friends?

      It would be very interesting to test school children’s opinions before they actually start their very first Swedish lesson, just to see how much is as a result of the ‘lessons’, and how much of it is just attitudes that kids have assimilated from parents or the wider society. I mean, give kids a semi-legitimised excuse to moan about their school studies and I imagine there would be no holding them back 😀

      I am very worried that as a teacher you don’t understand that the methods themselves doesn’t mean anything if the person doesn’t have motivation for learning.

      Wow, gosh – my reputation in tatters. Yes, the methods are very important in terms of motivation. But likewise, if you are trying to swim against a tide of popular feelng that kids themselves also take on, then yes, it is always going to be difficult. Yet, that would not be a reason to not look at the methods. We should always try to find fun and interesting methods for teaching, methods that engage people.

    • Yossie

      Mark

      I think you are right that there is much space to improve in language studies when it comes to methods. Natural interaction with the language would be best but finding opportunities to do so is rather limited if you are not living in a country where studied language is the major language.

      “Swedish should be studied fairly early, in my opinion, from the ages of 7-14. After that, pupils should be allowed to study another elective language for the last two years.”

      Would the first elective language still start at 3rd grade? 2nd elective language starting at 8th grade? Would this not increase the amount of time used for languages? Where would you take that time off?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Would the first elective language still start at 3rd grade? 2nd elective language starting at 8th grade? Would this not increase the amount of time used for languages? Where would you take that time off?

      The word ‘elective’ might be misleading. It can mean a compulsory language or a compulsory choice between languages. Personally, I would start language instruction in the first year of school for Swedish/Finnish, but use fun approaches, NOT TEXTBOOKS. Kids respond to visual and audio stimuli much better at that age. Kids cannot necessarily read so textbooks are probably quite useless, but they can hear and they can see at that age, and tactile learning should be used as much as possible. In fact, the PPP (presentation/production/practice) method, as it is known, is ideality suited to this kind of early learning, with adjustments.

      By third grade, kids can usually read, and so textbooks are more easily integrated into learning the 2nd elective (assuming this is the 3rd language – for some immigrants, this may even be their fourth language). I assume this elective can be a choice of English, Russian, German, Arabic, Mandarin, French or Spanish.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Natural interaction with the language would be best but finding opportunities to do so is rather limited if you are not living in a country where studied language is the major language.

      My view is that the ‘textbook’ is the last place to try to learn a language. Language learning takes place in the world, in an environment that is flexible, visual, auditary and easily investigated. Speaking for kids starts with moving things, telling what they want at that moment, how they feel. Kids love to bend words, tease, have fun with the language. Teach kids how to tease each other in a foreign language and they would be using it all the time, for good and ill. But that is the motivation of learning one’s home language. It is a kind of power, a way to manipulate the world and people. How can you learn a language if it has effectively been divorced from that real-world power?

      We need new approaches. I cannot believe the field has stayed so stagnant for so long! The key developments in language-teaching methods have been laughably simplistic and one-dimensional in the last 40 years. Incredible given the important of language learning world-wide. Like I said, language learning takes place in spite of the teaching and not necessarily because of it.

    • Yossie

      If we would go with your approach Mark, it should go along

      1st grade compulsory choice between languages
      3rd grade 2nd compulsory choice between languages
      8th grade 3rd language (have to be swedish/finnish if not taken earlier)

    • Mark

      Sounds realistic. But perhaps I would switch the order, so that the ‘other’ language is either the first or second elective.

  25. Farang

    Mark

    It’s not a futile exercise to maintain cohesion in Finnish society between the two language groups. It is not a futile exercise to ensure equal rights and status for both major language groups in Finland. These are not ‘futile’ things.

    Then why isn’t the same required for all other minority language groups in Finland? It’s not logical to have these requirements only for swedish.

    Do you not think that in this ridiculous insistence that learning Swedish is pointless that you are perhaps leaving something out? Just a wee bit?

    Leaving what out?

    The only reason I am against mandatory swedish is because that language is mostly useless for majority of Finns.

    And how it would have affected in my life if Swedish was not mandatory:
    I would have still chosen it and learn it in school. But after that I wouldn’t have taken any more swedish lessons in university.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Then why isn’t the same required for all other minority language groups in Finland? It’s not logical to have these requirements only for swedish.

      A sensible question deserves an answer. Yes, language rights should extend to Saami and to Russian, where some instruction is given. It can be geographically determined, and it doesn’t have to be to full fluency – the point is that a seed bed is put in place, where language skills can begin to form and take seed.

      The answer to the problem of Swedish is not less rights, but more rights, and a recognition of the unique role and identity that language plays. Learning about other people’s languages is about learning about the wider world and about our relationship to it. If its built on hatred and antagonistic nationalisms, as put forward by PS, then the topic will be hijacked; they will elevate people’s sense of grievance and they will ultimately undermine the rights of minorities.

      What is needed is more rights, not less.

      The only reason I am against mandatory swedish is because that language is mostly useless for majority of Finns.

      If you went the effort of buying a car and then leave it sitting idle in the yard day in day out, would you then conmplain to all and everyone that it is useless? The only reason Swedish is useless is because you CHOOSE not to use it. Ironically, the answer to your dilemna is for the state to FORCE you to use it. 🙂 Then you wouldn’t at least have the problem of it being a waste of state resources.

      Anyhow, the key thing is that having Swedish as a mandatory language helps to create a language pool out of which Finnish speakers can specialise in Swedish, as the requirements for Swedish are too great to be taken care of only by native Swedish speakers. Without that pool from which specialists can be seeded, the availability would go down. That is totally clear.

      Why don’t you focus your imagination on making Swedish learning more fun, more interesting and less of a chore!

      But after that I wouldn’t have taken any more swedish lessons in university.

      My thinking is that you shouldn’t have to learn more Swedish at university. I think you should have Swedish courses and testing available for those that want to enter into public service, as simply part of public service training, not part of some ‘generic’ training at university. University studies are already specialised, and general education should be seen to have already been completed. Provided there has already been mandatory Swedish for 6 or 7 years, there is something substantial already to build on for that level of specialist language skills.

  26. Farang

    Mark

    If you went the effort of buying a car and then leave it sitting idle in the yard day in day out, would you then conmplain to all and everyone that it is useless? The only reason Swedish is useless is because you CHOOSE not to use it.

    Did you think you had clever analogy?

    If I wouldn’t plan to use the car, I wouldn’t buy it in the first place. Then I wouldn’t need to complain.

    Your analogy to swedish is therefore similar as if someone forces you against your will to buy a car, which you don’t need, and then puts the responsibility to you if you don’t use it.

    You failed again 🙂

    Anyhow, the key thing is that having Swedish as a mandatory language helps to create a language pool out of which Finnish speakers can specialise in Swedish, as the requirements for Swedish are too great to be taken care of only by native Swedish speakers. Without that pool from which specialists can be seeded, the availability would go down. That is totally clear.

    I am very worried about that kind of talk. You think that HUMAN BEINGS are just a somekind of resource pool for state to use when they need them. Reminds me of North-Korea.

    My thinking is that you shouldn’t have to learn more Swedish at university. I think you should have Swedish courses and testing available for those that want to enter into public service, as simply part of public service training, not part of some ‘generic’ training at university.

    My god, we finally agree on something 🙂

  27. Jssk

    Well, children in general don’t really appreciate the nature of society and how it’s organised, so no surprises there!

    Do you have a superiority complex? Do you think your opinions are somehow more deep and above those of who oppose mandatory swedish? Because it sure sounds like it

    But it is the responsibility of the state to ensure equality for Finland’s citizens, regardless of their language group.

    Yes.

    In that sense, it’s your ‘job’ to study Swedish at school. Of course, you can put your fingers in your ears, play dumb, moan about how pointless it all is – but when you start to turn that tantrum into a political policy, you need to be called out for the pathetic numskulls that you are! If you are not interested in Swedish, fine. Like someone who isn’t interested in maths, geography, history or any of the the host of subjets taught at school, you can go ahead and forget all about it once you leave.

    Maths, geography, history etc. are basic education. Its stupid to compare a mandatory language of 5% minority to those. I believe that there would be enough people to provide services to fennoswedes in their language even if the mandatory status was removed. It worked fine before it even was mandatory.

    I think when it comes to understanding and appreciating minority rights, the majority of Finns behave like children!

    Lets shit on the opinion of majority because they dont have the same opinion as you, or someone other with the “right opinion” does. That will work out very well.

    Perhaps that’s the issue – they regress back to their school years remembering how they felt then, and simply fail to understand the need to take a more mature and considered approach. This is not the first time that human beings ever made this kind of mistake – claiming it is okay just because it’s a view held by the majority is about as fallacious an argument as you could make – might is right! Bullshit. Grow the fuck up, Jssk and understand that these decisions affect the quality of life of people in Finland, while it hardly registered on your radar when you were at school.

    This is a decades long strife. You are seriously downplaying it to that level? Well democracy is basically about might is right, i cant deny that. We have the constitution to make the boundaries in which democracy is exercised.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Do you have a superiority complex? Do you think your opinions are somehow more deep and above those of who oppose mandatory swedish? Because it sure sounds like it

      I don’t care what idiots like you think. You are not going to change your mind. You come here only to try to pour cold water on views of immigrants talking about racist Finns. Why should I have any respect for you whatsoever? And yes, we are talking about children – kids at school. And yes, we are talking about ‘children’ if we are talking about people who do not truly understand and value the democracy in which they live. How many times has it been said that the ‘mob’ does not understand democracy and that democracy is truly fragile in the hands of the ignorant masses. This isn’t ‘superiority’. Look around, read a book or two on history, and you will see this is the reality we live with. Democratic rights are hard to build up and yet so easy to demolish, and always on a wave of negative sentiment and bullishness. Excactly the kind of vindictiviness that many Finns feel towards Swedish speaking Finns. I’ve heard it, Jssk, with my own ears – the blind brainwashed hatred towards Swedes in Finland. And you expect me to respect that?

      If Finland ever votes in a populist bunch of phobic ignoramuses who then proceed to unravel all the human rights frameworks that have put Finland at least on paper at the forefront of modern democracies, then truly Finland is a backward nation who DESERVE to have these idiots in power and to take the consequences of becoming a European backwater as a result!

      Maths, geography, history etc. are basic education. Its stupid to compare a mandatory language of 5% minority to those.

      It’s only stupid when you put your fingers in your ears and go ‘blah, blah, blah’ when the Finnish history lessons begin. Of course Swedish has played on integral role in the history and development of Finland. It is relevant, because like it or not, it IS part of your identity.

      Lets shit on the opinion of majority because they dont have the same opinion as you

      It’s not about them having a different opinion. It’s about them shitting on the rights of the minority living among them. I will never respect that kind of mob rule or mentality! “There’s more of us, so we must be right! It’s a democracy in it,” as if all you needed in the way of moral authority is a majority in numbers. That kind of thinking needs to be shit on from a great height!

  28. Mark

    Farang

    You are hereby banned for good. I’ve had enough of your attacks, lies, distortions and aggression. Your comments do not take this subject forward in any way.

    I am sure there are genuine people who are sincere in wanting the best for Finland and who are concerned about the effects of immigration and who are yet open minded to exploring and discussing how Finland tackles the immigration issue. We are happy to discuss with those people.

    However, individuals like yourself who come here, continuously distort what we are actually saying, refuse to follow simple rules when asked and continuously bring hostility to the discussion – there is no answer and no possibility to discuss with you. The best that Finland can hope for is that people like you remain marginalised. Now, at least, you have forfeited your platform on Migrant Tales, and it has certainly been a long time coming.

    Migrant Tales will publish in the near future clear guidelines for the comments section, to avoid any misunderstanding about what the comments section is intended to provide in the way of a constructive platform to discuss immigration issues.

    Banned for good

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