The wrong Finnish identity for all the wrong reasons

by , under Enrique

In many respects, Finland is a fortunate country when it comes to a social construct like national identity. We are still a young nation actively searching for our roots. We have learned many things about ourselves as a society thanks to the rise of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS).

One of the matters that the PS has done is encourage some Finns to test the waters of their worst prejudices. Is there anything good about this?

Like this Saami woman in the picture, we Finns are from many places and come from diverse backgrounds.  Source: New York Public Library

Paradoxically, the PS has brought out more inclusive and positive values about ourselves than ever before thanks to its anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-outside-world views.  While this may be true, social-media platforms like Hommaforum and associations like Suomalaisuuden liitto (Association of Finnish Culture and Identity) continue promoting the opposite.

As the municipal elections near in October, it’s clear that embattled PS chairman Timo Soini still pins his hopes on the anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity message.  Matias Turkkila, Hommaforum editor, was named in May editor-in-chief of the PS’ newspaper and web page.

Turkkila was PS MP Jussi Halla-aho’s campaign manager. If there is any person that has spread the PS’ anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam message, it is Turkkila.

The Finnish Alliance,  chaired by PS EuroMP Sampo Terho, is another example of how the PS and anti-immigration groups have hijacked our national symbols and dressed up history to suit their exclusive views of Finnish culture.

One of the aims of the Finnish Alliance is to undermine the role of the Swedish-speaking minority by lobbying against mandatory Swedish-language lessons at schools.

The aim of the PS, Hommaforum and Finnish Alliance  is to hinder and place obstacles on the growth of our culturally diverse society and retard acceptance. They have no solutions except promoting deep divisions in our society. There is no strategy except to make life as hard as possible for immigrants and visible minorities.

Considering that over 1.2 million Finns emigrated from this country between 1860 and 1999, it is  incredible how some in this country continue to promote a race-and-blood view of our Finnish identity.

Our national identity is rich and diverse. Accepting this fact could be one of our most exciting goals in the new century.

 

 

  1. Iam

    Good morning MT, all
    What a nice pic,First i thought it is a Finn woman, i mean Finn and Saami looks same same, huuum, also i know Sami people r Finn too, they came to Finland almost 10,000 years ago after an ice age and i never seen one sami in Helsinki,hugs for sami people, they r in north i know.

    There is no strategy except to make life as hard as possible for immigrants and visible minorities…. and

    This is not a strategy but a negative wave in our society,so thats not CONTRIVANCE but STUPEFACTION.
    Yes.
    They cant build a good and happy society in Finland if they do their jobs without morality, if they build this country with soft stones, with paper, with hate and negative waves
    A sunny day,Helsinki is fresh now,rain was washing everything very very clean, yesterday was a rainy day.
    In many respect,Please drunkers and dogs dont make bad smell here and there,okay??
    How to get ride of Alcohol??? really???
    No/one care about drunkers?? Why parliament is relax about this matter? Why drunkers are so alone in this society, homeless and sad??
    They need help, they r belong to this country,safe and comfort is for all, they have problems, they need support.

    Best to the world

  2. Yossie

    “One of the aims of the Finnish Alliance is to undermine the role of the Swedish-speaking minority by lobbying against mandatory Swedish-language lessons at schools.”

    This is the one issue that really shows me what migrant tales is all about: Trying to get benefits for minorites on finnish speaking finns expense no matter how much sense it makes.

    This is why “positive discrimination” would be awfully bad. It would never end, no matter if the goals are reached, it would stay as an earned benefit and all tries to get it stop would be met with hostile charges of “undermining immigrant/minorities role”

    About mandatory swedish, everyone should be able to how it makes no sense what so ever. Finland needs wider language and swedish is the biggest obstacle for it. Not everyone has time and capability to learn 3rd language after english and swedish.

  3. Mark

    Yossie

    Why do you try to conflate all the issues related to immigration into one ‘win or lose’ argument? The role of Swedish language learning is only one issue, and whether it’s right or wrong has no relevance to the rightness or wrongness of other issues in the immigration debate. I.e. you cannot say, “they argue for Swedish language to be taught to all Finns, so positive discrimination must be bad!”

    They are totally different debates. You cannot try to win one argument on the back of the strength of another.

    The point about positive discrimination is not to avoid ‘undermining the immigrant role’, it’s about giving them a role in the first place. It’s about trying to guarantee the bare minimum, the possibility to get work, in a labour environment that has been shown to be negatively discriminating.

    You are being really thick if you expect people to believe that positive discrimination and swedish lessons in schools are directly linked.

    And what is that hysterical nonsense about ‘it will never end, even if the goals are reached’? That’s about as vacous an argument as you can make. Imagine if someone suggested extra rights for blind people to receive shop receipts in braill – would you likewise argue that ‘it will never end’?

    Not everyone has time and capability to learn 3rd language after english and swedish.

    Can migrants use that as an excuse not to learn Finnish?

    • Yossie

      Different debates, same people arguing in favor of them. Its the mind set you and your buddies have Mark. You moan for positive discrimination, but no way in hell you are able to give us some space back when it comes to your “rights”. Mandatory swedish is a good example. It makes no sense that everyone should study it, but since it is “minority right” issue to you, you wont let anything to change.

      That is why I dont want to have positive discrimination. For example if we give special entry lines for immigrants for universities. If the situation changes that minorities get proportionally more spots in universities than finns, You would not let any changes to happen since it would be “minority right”. Earned benefit that you wont let go away no matter how unfair it would be.

      “Can migrants use that as an excuse not to learn Finnish?”

      Not really, by coming here they have chosen to situation they have to study finnish. If yu dont want to study finnish, then it makes more sense to go somewhere else.

  4. Jssk

    Anti-cultural diversity?

    When cultures are mixed forcibly etc, the result isnt exactly “diversity”

    “One of the aims of the Finnish Alliance is to undermine the role of the Swedish-speaking minority by lobbying against mandatory Swedish-language lessons at schools.”

    Thats not undermining their role. They make barely 4% of finns, and i dont see any reason why someone in eastern finland for example should learn mandatory swedish. The only thing mandatory swedish creates is hate against finnoswedes.

  5. JusticeDemon

    Yossie

    Not really, by coming here they have chosen to situation they have to study Finnish.

    What if they get sent to Jakobstad?

  6. tp1

    Jakobstad is in Finland. If immigrant is not planning to live there for the rest of his life, Finnish would be a useful language to learn 🙂

    The reason for swedish being mandatory in school is just political. There is no rational reason behind it. Every argument that is made in favor of mandatory swedish have already been countered by rational argument.

    As Finnish is already a marginal language and not useful in any other country, it makes no sense to learn another marginal language which can’t be used outside scandinavia.

    Actually getting rid of Finnish language totally would be more sensible. If we all spoke swedish as our native language, there would be no need for this discussion at all.

  7. JusticeDemon

    Jakobstad is in Finland. If immigrant is not planning to live there for the rest of his life, Finnish would be a useful language to learn

    The point – as you are well aware – is that Jakobstad is a largely Swedish-speaking town in which Swedish language skills have greater practical utility than Finnish language skills. At various times it has had its own refugee reception centre, to which asylum-seekers were sent (they didn’t have a choice).

    The Siphonaptera argument applies to the use of foreign languages in Finland. The average epähiket hommaforumite will complain that “immigrants expect us to speak English” while sparing no thought whatsoever to the point that they equally expect Swedish-speaking Finns to speak Finnish.

    However, there is one very big problem for the epähiket lobby. People who advance in government and politics tend to be better educated, good communicators who have excelled in foreign languages and welcome the opportunity to use them. It is hard to get such people to assign a high priority to the “Swedish language problem”, which means that any reform proposals tend to get horse-traded out of the government programme rather easily.

    The only solution to this problem is to find epähikke candidates who can advance in politics on a genuinely anti-intellectual platform. That’s much more than simply playing dumb to convince the voters that you are not part of some vaguely defined intellectual élite. It requires the candidate to be genuinely dumb and proud of it, but also somehow smart enough to progress in a political world that imposes substantial intellectual demands on activists.

    The PS may well be the last great hope for anything remotely resembling an epähikke political movement of this kind, but naturally this remains difficult to build on given the natural tendency of the epähiket to make political blunders.

    The problem is to square the circle by finding electable candidates who are genuinely dumb but also fit for government.

  8. Mark

    Different debates, same people arguing in favor of them. Its the mind set you and your buddies have Mark.

    Oh, that mind set that says everyone should have equal rights and a chance to make their way in life free of discrimination. Yeah, what an arse, eh!

    You moan for positive discrimination, but no way in hell you are able to give us some space back when it comes to your “rights”.

    Moan? Interesting choice of words. By the way, white privilege as it’s exercised today in Finland is effectively ‘positive discrimination for whites’, i.e. negative discrimination towards blacks or Muslims effectively constitutes positive discrimination against whites/non-Muslims.

    As for ‘giving space back’, this is hardly a situation where you are giving anything, Yossie. It’s not yours to give. The fact is that Finland on the whole is a fair and non-discriminating society on paper, but this is not fully borne out by the populace, whether in the public or private spheres. The ‘moan’ therefore is simply to recognise and live up to the values that Finland has set itself.

    Mandatory swedish is a good example. It makes no sense that everyone should study it, but since it is “minority right” issue to you, you wont let anything to change.

    I really don’t care too much for the argument about Swedish. It is up to the Swedish-speaking minority, who have very good representation within Finland, to make the case and to protect their own rights. I’m more interested in how immigrants are treated. The Swedish issue interests me only in regard to the fact that PS make it their stand to oppose it, and in that sense, it just fits into a fascist and revisionist approach to the cultural diversity that has existed in ‘Finland’ for millenia.

    This ‘homogenous’ Finnish culture is a myth. It’s not even about respecting ‘minorities’ as you like to call them, it’s about respecting Finnish citizens who happen to speak Swedish, one of Finland’s two official languages. That is the country that you live in, but which you don’t seem to have come to terms with, Yossie.

    For example if we give special entry lines for immigrants for universities. If the situation changes that minorities get proportionally more spots in universities than finns, You would not let any changes to happen since it would be “minority right”.

    What rubbish, you spout!

    Earned benefit that you wont let go away no matter how unfair it would be.

    Look, you ignorant nonse, you spout about unfairness and given not a bloody hoot for the vast unfairness that arises from discrimination and racism in Finland.

    You bleat about an unfairness that doesn’t exist and yet close your eyes and blind your ears to the very real discrimination and unfairness that does exist. You are a pixie-troll on mushrooms, living in a non-reality! Wake up and smell the coffee, Yossie!

  9. tp1

    The Siphonaptera argument applies to the use of foreign languages in Finland. The average epähiket hommaforumite will complain that “immigrants expect us to speak English” while sparing no thought whatsoever to the point that they equally expect Swedish-speaking Finns to speak Finnish.

    Not entirely true. Mostly Finns communicate in English with Swedish-speakers.

    Otherwise your post pretty much proved 2 things:
    1) You are arrogant and ignorant to claim that people who wants Finns to be able to choose freely which language to learn, are dumb
    2) Democracy in Finland doesn’t work

    • JusticeDemon

      Mostly Finns communicate in English with Swedish-speakers.

      My experience is that Finnish speakers expect Swedish-speaking Finns to speak Finnish, even in circumstances where the law supposedly guarantees the right to use Swedish. This is a perennial theme. You may recall this case from a couple of years ago. Check your own attitude as you read, and then we’ll see how convincingly you can lie about it here.

      As for the rest of your response, you didn’t read what I wrote. Find me a senior politician who aced Swedish language at school but is strongly opposed to current bilingualism policy. You can only find epähiket politicians in this camp, and their problem is that they couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. It’s an insoluble problem and calling me arrogant for pointing it out gets you no closer to solving it.

  10. Mark

    Mostly Finns communicate in English with Swedish-speakers.

    Seems like an anecdotal observation, at best, and hardly addresses the issue of Swedish being an OFFICIAL language in Finland.

    2) Democracy in Finland doesn’t work

    First, Finland is not known for the failures of its democracy, that I know of. You are perfectly free to lobby. Second, preserving and protecting the rights of minorities IS a function of modern democracy. If you have a somewhat naive and self-serving notion of democracy as always being rule by the majority over all others, and protecting the interests of the majority at the expense of minorities, then that is your ignorance.

  11. tp1

    Seems like an anecdotal observation, at best, and hardly addresses the issue of Swedish being an OFFICIAL language in Finland.

    Swedish being an official language has nothing to do with swedish being a mandatory language in school. Learn your history! Swedish has been official language earlier and swedish was not mandatory in school. It only became mandatory in schools much later.

    First, Finland is not known for the failures of its democracy, that I know of.

    How ignorant can you be? If government makes decisions that are against majority of citizens, then that IS NOT democracy. Mandatory swedish in schools is one of these issues.

    Second, mandatory swedish in school has nothing to do with minority rights. How could it be a minority right to make majority to learn their language? Making majority to learn swedish doesn’t in any way help protecting minority’s rights.

    • JusticeDemon

      This is the view that if a majority of the people unwittingly want to do something disastrous, then their elected government must do this knowingly.

      Applied to your car, this means that if you have three passengers who are not licensed to drive, but insist that you drive on the left side of the road, then you must do what they tell you to do, even though you know that this will get everyone killed. You have every reason to believe that if your passengers learned how to drive, then they would agree with your judgement concerning the best way to do so.

      The extent to which the ignorant may force policy decisions on the well informed is a key issue in democracy. Let’s not forget that this was what your hero Haha-hölynpöly was going on about when he suggested a return to military rule in Greece.

      Most politicians are not epähiket. They applied themselves to learning Swedish at school, and now regard this as at least a salutary experience. It’s not easy to convince such people that language curriculum changes are politically important, simply because the epähiket prefer to sit at the back of the classroom giggling and making farting noises. These are the only people who are passionate about ending mandatory school Swedish, and inevitably very few of them have the basic nous to go anywhere in politics. You can bleat about elitism until you are blue in the face, but backseat drivers don’t get to steer the vehicle.

  12. Mark

    Swedish being an official language has nothing to do with swedish being a mandatory language in school. Learn your history! Swedish has been official language earlier and swedish was not mandatory in school. It only became mandatory in schools much later

    I am well aware of this. As usual, you twist the responses made to you tp1. My reference to the official language status was in response to your glib comment that Finns talk to Swedish-speaking Finns in English, and not to the fact it is one of the several mandatory subjects taught in Finnish schools.

    How ignorant can you be? If government makes decisions that are against majority of citizens, then that IS NOT democracy. Mandatory swedish in schools is one of these issues.

    Ignorant yourself, you knob! “Against the majority” is a pathetic self-serving nonsense that you have invented in order to support an extremely weak argument that minority rights should have little status within a majority-led democracy. The fact of the matter is that taxation is something that takes money from the majority to provide services, many of which are used only by a minority within the population. This is absolutely the foundation principle of modern democracy. But you, you intellectual child, imagining that you know what the hell you are talking about, proceed to abuse and distort the notion of democracy, without giving even the barest of thought to what it actually is or how it works, and that simply to support your pathetic prejudice against one mandatory language subject in schools that you will study for a very limited period of your life.

    A few hours of learning per week when you are a teenager. Get over it.

    Second, mandatory swedish in school has nothing to do with minority rights. How could it be a minority right to make majority to learn their language? Making majority to learn swedish doesn’t in any way help protecting minority’s rights.

      

    Naive, naive, naive!!! If it was such an easy concession, why is it fought tooth and nail by Swedish-speakers? You are being totally disingenuous in presenting the topic like this. You are making NO effort whatsoever to understand the position of Swedish-speakers, and your only supporting argument is that it’s the will of the ‘ruling majority’.

    PATHETIC!

  13. Mark

    For your education, tp1:

    Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities Adopted by the General Assembly, 1992:

    Article 4.4
    States should, where appropriate, take measures in the field of education, in order to encourage knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of the minorities existing within their territory. Persons belonging to minorities should have adequate opportunities to gain knowledge of the society as a whole.

    So, good enough for the UN, which recognises the importance of protecting the rights, history and traditions of minorities, but not good enough for tp1, who imagines that he knows all about democracy and rights, except that he gives absolutely no account for the fact that avoiding tyranny by the majority over minorities is one of the most important provisos on any democracy that seeks to give expression to the popular will of the people. Get an education, tp1, before you start spouting about the ignorance of people who actually know something about human rights!

  14. tp1

    Mark, are you really that naive and ignorant? I am not talking about tyranny. It IS NOT anyone’s human right to force people to learn certain language.

    How is is making swedish-speakers position worse if every Finn wouldn’t have to learn swedish? How, tell me please?

    Swedish-speakers would still have the same rights to use swedish as they have now.

  15. Mark

    Mark, are you really that naive and ignorant? I am not talking about tyranny. It IS NOT anyone’s human right to force people to learn certain language.

    These are not CERTAIN languages. This is one of two official languages of your country Finland.

    And this idea of being ‘forced to learn a language’ is pure hot air exaggeration. In the same way you are FORCED to learn history, or maths, or geography, or biology…. give me break, tp1. You are politicising education that simply follows a very simple principle of preserving the rights of an historical minority in Finland. This provides for stability and security within the country, a small price to pay for the teenage angst that comes with being ‘forced’ to study the language.

    That is, until along come a hate-addicted fascist political party hell bent on feeding off every small-minded, spite-driven grievance that they can tap into.

    Your ignorance is not in what you see, tp1, but in what you refuse to see.

  16. tp1

    My experience is that Finnish speakers expect Swedish-speaking Finns to speak Finnish, even in circumstances where the law supposedly guarantees the right to use Swedish. This is a perennial theme. You may recall this case from a couple of years ago. Check your own attitude as you read, and then we’ll see how convincingly you can lie about it here.

    Still, swedish people right to have service in swedish has nothing to do with making EVERY finn to speak swedish. Why can’t you understand that?

    Services must be organized so that there are people available with both language skills, but in order to do that it is not necessary to teach swedish to EVERY finn.

    • Mark

      Is it not also necessary to teach Finnish to EVERY Swedish speaker then? See my example below about the basic argument for equality of citizenship between Swedish and Finnish speakers in Finland.

  17. tp1

    And this idea of being ‘forced to learn a language’ is pure hot air exaggeration. In the same way you are FORCED to learn history, or maths, or geography, or biology…. give me break, tp1

    Those are universal subjects that apply everywhere. But Swedish language is spoken only by under 10 million people in the world. There is a difference.

    And abusing the rights of minorities is ‘tyranny of the majority’! Don’t you kid yourself!

    What rights are abused here? You still haven’t been able to tell me. What rights are abused if a Finn is not forced to learn swedish?

    • Mark

      Those are universal subjects that apply everywhere.

      Really? Methinks not! History and geography both contain a great deal of localised learning. Likewise, the great majority of people will find absolutely no reason to apply their learning in these subjects in the practicalities of their everyday adult life, which is exactly the argument put forward for NOT learning Swedish.

      But Swedish language is spoken only by under 10 million people in the world.

      Which is five million more than speak Finnish, so let’s ditch Finnish language studies from schools. That’s not an argument, tp1. That’s hot air!

      What rights are abused here? You still haven’t been able to tell me. What rights are abused if a Finn is not forced to learn swedish?

      A language and the status of that language is about as close to the heart of a people’s right to their own cultural identity as you can get. Removing Swedish from the curriculum is tantamount to saying that Swedish is not an important language in Finland. That clearly diminishes the status of Swedish, and consequently, Swedish speakers. This is also tantamount to a denial of the historical and cultural importance of Swedish speakers in Finland. IT IS LIKE SAYING ‘Finland is for the Finns and Finnish is their language’. And you think this will have no consequence at all on Swedish speaking families in Finland? Unbelievable!

  18. Mark

    tp1

    How is is making swedish-speakers position worse if every Finn wouldn’t have to learn swedish? How, tell me please?

    NO, you tell me how! Because if you are taking something away from people, you should damn well make some effort to understand and map the probable consequences. Clearly you have done nothing except think about the horribly painful effort of having to learn a language that you yourself are not particularly interested in or willing to appreciate. And on that whim, you are ready to undermine the political and social status of Finland’s key minority. For what? Intellectual and cultural laziness.

    Not only that, but you have NO CLUE about how this will impact on Swedish-speakers! In fact, you stand there arrogant as hell, demanding to be told, while very clearly showing absolutely no willingness to understand, and merely waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate how ‘might is right’!

    The political and democratic argument has been put to you, and you have ignored it. Why would going into more detail make any difference?

    It is YOU who should be making the effort to understand Swedish-speakers. And if you don’t, you do NOT even begin to have the moral or political right to undermine their status within Finland.

    Might is right! = Fascist crap!

    • Jssk

      Those few hours per week could be used to study something actually useful, like maths.

      “It is YOU who should be making the effort to understand Swedish-speakers. And if you don’t, you do NOT even begin to have the moral or political right to undermine their status within Finland.”

      Do its you who decides who understands swedish speakers huh? Making swedish non-mandatory isnt undermining finnoswedes status in any way, if it does please tell me.

      “Might is right! = Fascist crap!”

      Right, we should do like in South-Africa, a minority will set the rules for the majority. Also stop using “facism” as a buzzword, its just another ideology.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      The fact you don’t see Swedish as useful only demonstrated why you are unqualified to decide on its merits.

      I presented several reasons for why Swedish should be respected as a language taught to all Finns, and as usual, no coherent response from you PS mob. Instead you refer in a completely associative way with minority rule in S Africa, as if that had anything to do with the subject.

  19. Mark

    Take two people who are supposed to be equal citizens within Finland:

    One whose parents both speak Swedish, who lives in a town made up of mostly Swedish speakers, who studies in a Swedish-speaking school.

    Another whose parents both speak Finnish, who lives in a town made up of mostly Finnish speakers, who studies in a Finnish-speaking school.

    The Swedish speaker may see no reason to learn Finnish, except that it is the second national language of Finland. The Swedish-speaker could happily function within his own language group, separate from all things ‘Finnish’, and never have to go beyond his own community.

    The Finnish speaker may see no reason to learn Swedish, except that it is the second national language of Finland. The Finnish-speaker could happily function within his own language group, separate from all things ‘Swedish’, and never have to go beyond his own community.

    Or, the Swedish speaker can learn Finnish, and have access to the whole of Finland’s culture, both Swedish speaking and Finnish speaking.

    And, the Finnish speaker can learn Swedish, and have access to the whole of Finland’s culture, both Finnish speaking and Swedish speaking.

    That seems fair – both having to learn the other’s language. Seems like some kind of equality of rights, and both benefit from appreciating the whole of Finland’s cultural heritage, which really is bilingual in nature.

    Or, the Finnish speaker can say, “well, there are more of us speaking Finnish, so you Swedish speakers can go take a hike. Either you learn our language or you can feck off back to ‘Sweden’. Whatever, but we are not learning Swedish!”

    Take your pick, tp1. I know which I think is the civilised, equal and fair solution.

  20. Jssk

    Finland is for the Finns and Finnish is their language

    More like “Finland is the land of the Finns and Finnish is their language”

    We are not underswedish or russian rule anymore, we are finns.

    • Mark

      Exactly! Revisionist history and the rule of tyrannical majority with absolutely no thought to respecting or promoting the rights of minorities. Exactly what we expect from those PS supporting fascists.

  21. tp1

    Or, the Swedish speaker can learn Finnish, and have access to the whole of Finland’s culture, both Swedish speaking and Finnish speaking.

    And, the Finnish speaker can learn Swedish, and have access to the whole of Finland’s culture, both Finnish speaking and Swedish speaking.

    That seems fair – both having to learn the other’s language. Seems like some kind of equality of rights, and both benefit from appreciating the whole of Finland’s cultural heritage, which really is bilingual in nature.

    Mark, your arguments are as stupid as someone’s who is mentally retarded. Let me explain why:

    You somehow twist the idea that upwards so that “if A doesn’t learn language of B that is taking rights away from B” How can anyone be so illogical and stupid? B still has every right to speak his language, no rights have been taken away from him. Only one who “loses” something is A, because he doesn’t learn language B.

    You still haven’t been able to give any kind of explanation how it is taking rights away from B if A doesn’t learn something.

    And it goes vice versa. Is B doesn’t learn language A he might have hard time to communicate with someone who understands only A, not B.

    EXCEPT, in Finland both A and B most propably can speak language C and they can communicate with each other.

    You don’t need to understand the language to have access to some culture. Language is only a tool for communication. You even explained yourself that the reasons for teaching swedish mandatory to every finn are only political and there are no rational reasons for it.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Mark, your arguments are as stupid as someone’s who is mentally retarded. Let me explain why:

      How nice of you to provide an explanation. Let’s have a look at that explanation, shall we! You say I am twisting the argument into this:

      if A doesn’t learn language of B that is taking rights away from B

      By this, you mean that Finns not bothering to learn Swedish diminishes the rights of SWedish-speakers. This is absolutely true, for the reasons I pointed out.

      You then go on to say:

      B still has every right to speak his language, no rights have been taken away from him.

      This is absolutely not true. IN fact, this is one hell of a lie. If Swedish was dropped as a language that ALL Finns know something of, then when B chooses speak his language, a shrug of the shoulders from 80% of the rest of his fellow Finns tells him that what he said meant nothing to them, because they didn’t understand. B is no longer simply a minority speaker in his country, but a marginalised speaker, forced to speak the language of the majority to express himself. At least now, the vast majority of Finns understand the basics of Swedish, even if they themselves cannot express themselves so well. It can also be said that if a Finnish speaker wishes to speak Finnish to a Swedish speaker, then they will probably be understood.

      The rights of Swedish and Finnish speakers in Finland should be equal. That is what the Constitution promises, and the only way to achieve that is if everyone knows at least the basics of the other language.

      The only who “loses” something is A, because he doesn’t learn language B

      B loses equality. B has to make the effort to learn the language of A, because A is in the majority, but B does not have to learn the language of A, for the same reason. And you somehow equate this with equality? You think B has not lost something? Are you really that obtuse?

      Is B doesn’t learn language A he might have hard time to communicate with someone who understands only A, not B.

      This is exactly my point. A, by force of being in the majority, forces B to give up his own language in favour of the language of A.

      EXCEPT, in Finland both A and B most propably can speak language C and they can communicate with each other.

      This does not go anywhere near filling in the gap in equality that you would seek to create.

      You STILL have not addressed the key issue, which is to find out what Swedish speakers think about this. I cannot speak for them. I speak from the point of view of weighing up the democratic balance of majority expressed political will against the rights of minorities. But you, you have an obligation to find out seeing as you are the one advocating for this complete undermining of the Swedish language in Finland.

      You don’t need to understand the language to have access to some culture. Language is only a tool for communication. You even explained yourself that the reasons for teaching swedish mandatory to every finn are only political and there are no rational reasons for it.

      I said no such thing. I said that A and B learning each other’s language allows them to communicate and it allows them both to fully appreciate their bilingual heritage, which is a mix of Swedish and Finnish. You seem to think that that heritage can easily be transmitted through a third language C. And yet you still demand that foreigners who have a perfectly good grasp of this language C must yet learn language A.

      Your telling porkies, tp1!

    • Sasu

      Mark

      tp1

      You then go on to say:

      This is absolutely not true. IN fact, this is one hell of a lie. If Swedish was dropped as a language that ALL Finns know something of, then when B chooses speak his language, a shrug of the shoulders from 80% of the rest of his fellow Finns tells him that what he said meant nothing to them, because they didn’t understand. B is no longer simply a minority speaker in his country, but a marginalised speaker, forced to speak the language of the majority to express himself. At least now, the vast majority of Finns understand the basics of Swedish, even if they themselves cannot express themselves so well. It can also be said that if a Finnish speaker wishes to speak Finnish to a Swedish speaker, then they will probably be understood.

      Mark Teknisesti sinä voit harjoittaa kieltäsi vaikka se ei olisi virallinen. On tietenkin totta, että ruotsin kielen hyödyllisyys putoaisi suuresti jos virallisuus poistetaan. Teknisesti silti sinulla on oikeuas puhua sitä.

      Pitäisikö Suomeen lisätä virallisia kieliä sitä mukaan kuin uusia kielikuntia muuttaa suomeen. Näyttää siltä, että argumentoihit siihen suuntaan. Pitäisikö enemmistön opetella vähemistön kieli. Juuri sitähän sinä ajat jos väität, että se on epätasa-arvoista jos vähemmistön pitäisi alkaa puhua enememmistön kieltä.

      Mitä tulee suomalaisten ja ruotsinkiellisten eroihin sanoisin niiden olevan häilyviä. Varallisuus kuilua ei ole eikä ruotsinkiellisillä ole erilaista kulttuuria. On paikallisia eroja mutta ei kulttuurillisia. Suomessa on käytännössä vain yksi isokulttuuri joka on Suomi. Sitten on paljon vähemmistökulttuureja.

  22. tp1

    Mark:

    The fact you don’t see Swedish as useful only demonstrated why you are unqualified to decide on its merits.

    Do you understand what you say here? You are saying exactly like: “If your opinion about matter A is wrong, you are unqualified of making any evaluations of A” 😀 That is just insane and stupid.

    So that is the democracy of migrant tales 🙂 Way to go! Only people who agree with you are qualified to discuss…

    • Mark

      tp1

      You are saying exactly like: “If your opinion about matter A is wrong, you are unqualified of making any evaluations of A”

      That is just insane and stupid.

      Insane and stupid?

      Let’s see now, Jssk does not think Swedish is useful. So, if your parents speak Swedish and you live in a town or city that is majority Swedish speaking, do you think speaking Swedish is useful? To answer ‘no’ to this question, which he did, is to show utter stupidity. Clearly Swedish is useful in Swedish-speaking communities and in the Nordic context for Swedish speakers. If he chooses to not speak Swedish, then clearly it’s not useful to him, but this is hardly the final word on the usefulness of Swedish. So, to offer his own opinion, generated from his own point of view, as some kind of generalised conclusion on the ‘usefulness of Swedish’ is about as stupid as it gets. To suggest it isn’t useful is to deny the existence of Swedish speakers. Now who would choose to do that? And likewise, someone that does this is absolutely NOT qualified to talk about the ‘merits’ of speaking Swedish.

      So that is the democracy of migrant tales Way to go! Only people who agree with you are qualified to discuss…

      And now you want to stretch this failure to understand the obvious to the point of saying that this is the [lack of] democracy of Migrant Tales – a blog that you are free to come and free to comment in any way you please, provided you obey the law and are not spamming or trolling.

      But not content to have that freedom and to exercise it, you want to imply that somehow, your democratic rights have been violated. And exactly how do you think that Migrant Tales has denied you democracy? Because I disagree with you?

      Also, nowhere have I argued, unlike yourself, that because you are in a minority here in your opinion, so you must be wrong. Rather, your opinions are dealt with as equal to mine, and I respond to you as an individual, not as a minority percentage.

      However, if we were discussing biology, and you said to me (who happens to have studied and worked as a biologist), that you think biology is useless, then I would be justified in saying that perhaps you are not qualified to make such stupid comments, given the fact you don’t know anything about it and actually REFUSE to know anything about.

      tp1. Try to make coherent and honest arguments.

    • JusticeDemon

      Do you understand what you say here? You are saying exactly like: “If your opinion about matter A is wrong, you are unqualified of making any evaluations of A” That is just insane and stupid.

      This is an interesting view that is incorrect both in logic and in common experience.

      As a matter of common logic, all possible conclusions follow from a contradiction. This means that the evaluations of someone who asserts a contradiction are logically equivalent to their opposites. It’s a fair characterisation to describe the source of such evaluations as “unqualified”.

      In common experience we have the debate between palaeontologists and young earth creationists. Are they both equally “qualified” to evaluate the fossil record? If not, then why not? Could it perhaps be “because their opinion about matter A is wrong”?

      We really don’t have to analyse the epähiket world view in fine detail to see what is happening here. Generally the kids who sit at the back of the class giggling and making farting noises are precisely those who tend to assert that “all opinions are equal and deserve equal consideration” and corresponding scheisse.

      Why should anyone work at formulating an opinion and carefully excluding sources of error when all you really need to do is say the first semi-plausible thing that comes into your head and then hide behind some rhetorical bullshit, coupled with the assertion that others are “insane and stupid”?

  23. Sasu

    Ruotsin kiellen poistaminen virallisten kielten joukosta ei tule suuresti vaikuttamaan ruotsalaisten asemaan jos pidämme yllä nykyistä systeemiä muuten. Tällä hetkellä ruotsin kieli toimii melkeikmpä ainoana asiointi kielenä Pohjanmaalla ja Ahvenanmaalla. Maantieteelinen Etelä-Suomi on erittäin ruotsin kielinen.

    Yksi tapa hoitaa kieliongelma on tehdä siitä kunnan oma asia. Kunnat saisivat itse päättää mitä kieliä siellä opetetaan virallisina kielinä. Se johtaa tietty siihen että kunta päättäisi oman toisen hallinto kielen.

    Näin ruotsinkieliset voisivat hoitaa asian itse. Tälläinen raitkaisu tukeisi segregaatiota ja avaisi ikäviä mahdollisuuksia maahanmuuttajille, mutta voisi autaa ruotsin kieli ongelman hoitoon.

    Toisaalta Ruotsin kielen virallisuus voitais vain kumota. Historiallisesti ruotsin kielen virallistaminen oli sovittelu ratkaisu 1870 luvulta noukseeheen kiistaan. Ratkaisu lopetti kiistan Ruotsin ja Suomen asemasta lopullisesti. Ratkaisun purkaminen voisi avata vanhan kiistan taas pintaan. Toisaasta on jos Ruotsinkiellisille annetaan jokin korvaava oikeus tai julistus voisi asia hoitua. Ruotsinkieliset ovat selvästi mennestäneet valtaansa poliittisesti jolloin on mahdollista että he eivät kykenisi vastaamaan tekoon muuten, kuin Suomesta eroamisella. Ne ajat jolloin Ruotsinkieliset pitivät melkein kaikkia poliittisia paikkoja ovat vajonneet menneisyyteen kauansitten.

  24. Mark

    Sasu

    Mark Teknisesti sinä voit harjoittaa kieltäsi vaikka se ei olisi virallinen. On tietenkin totta, että ruotsin kielen hyödyllisyys putoaisi suuresti jos virallisuus poistetaan. Teknisesti silti sinulla on oikeuas puhua sitä.

    Even you????

    The idea that nothing changes if Swedish is dropped from the mandatory curricula, simply because, well, the Swedish speakers will go on speaking Swedish and nothing changes, is frankly head buried well in the sand stuff. It is the thin end of the wedge. Next, it will be voluntary to have Swedish as an official language in different municipalities, meaning that Swedish speakers will be further marginalised in particular parts of Finland. Likewise, once the equal basis within the educational system disappears, it’s only time before the status as a ‘national’ language is challenged, for much the same reasons.

    The point of principle is very clear, and I quoted it above. In this respect, Finland is one of the few countries in the world to fully implement the UN’s Declaration on the rights of minorities and to implement an educational system that requires all citizens of the country to know something of the language of its key minority.

    Equal citizenship of Finnish and Swedish speakers in Finland is only achieved when both citizens have to learn each other’s language. Swedish-speakers have to study Finnish. So why not the other way. ARguments about who is the majority or the minority is a red herring, especially given the role of Swedish in Finland’s history, literature and political life.

    The only requirement I see that is problematic is the university level requirement. I think that should be relaxed. But otherwise, I don’t see any reason to take it off the mandatory curricula, and especially not for the reasons being given, because that is the slippery slope to the majority undermining and diminishing the rights and status of the minority. It is a sign of healthy democracy that the majority respect the rights of the minority.

    No-one is being forced to ‘speak’ any language. The issue is that all citizens know something of the ‘other’ language. For Swedish speakers, it might seem equally useless to learn Finnish, but Finns take it for granted that Finnish is useful for them. That’s the rub for me, the typical sense of privilege and entitlement that goes with most majority dominating hegemonic systems.

    • Sasu

      Hyym et ole varmaan hirveesti käynnyt suomalaista koulua.

      Suomessa Ruotsi on pakollinen toinen B tai A kieli. B niille jotka aloittavat sen yläasteella. Yläasteella kaikki oppivat teoriaksa ruotsin perustan. Tietenkin kenelläkään ei ole pakko puhua sitä. Emme ole poliisi valtioksa. Teoriassa jokaisen viranomaiset on osattava ruotsia vaikka käytäntö on vähän sitä ja tätät.
      Mistä luulet louganin pakko ruotsin tulleen, kuin tuosta.

      Kun sanoin, että teknisesti kielen virallistamattomuus ei estä puhumista niin tarkoitan juuri sitä. Tämä ei ole poliisi valtio, emmekä me elä 1800-lukua jolloin sulauttaminen oli ainoo vaihtoehto. Sivullisesti se olisi kyllä ruotsin kielen loppu Suomessa.

      Ymmärsin kyllä mitä hait, mutta halusin vain haastaa.

      Nuo ideat olivat vain ideoita. En odota yhdenkään toteutuvan.

      Jos haluamme levitellä voisimme sanoa, että kaikki maailman pienet kielet ovat aivat turhia. Parempi opetella mandariinin kiinaa, arabia, hindiä, englantia, ranskaa, espanjaa. Mitä maailma tarviksee yhden kielen ja kaikki muut kielten annetaan vain kuolla pois, jos katomme asiaa kyynisesti

  25. tp1

    Mark has again and again proven to be doublestandard hypocrate.

    Mark, you see it as a serious problem and terrible violation of rights if swedish-speaker would have to speak finnish.

    BUT, in your opinion it’s totally ok to force finnish-speakers to speak swedish.

    I don’t get this… Don’t you even understand yourself what you are talking about? And you dare to talk about equality.

    • Mark

      Tp1

      No wonder you don’t understand it – you put a brick wall between what i write and what you choose to understand.

      Study the example i gave and you will understand that this is not what i said. It’s not that complicated.

  26. tp1

    I read your message and that is what you say. You just don’t realize even yourself what you imply there. You claim to seek for equality and somehow in your head you make it look like equality while in reality you support totally unqequal treatment for different groups. I can’t help that.

    Do you really fear that if swedish was made optional subject, then suddenly nobody would learn it anymore? That’s not going to happen, as long as it is kept mandatory that everyone must choose some language anyway. And that how it should go. It would be then responsibility of people who arranges services that there are always swedish-speakers available aswell as finnish-speakers.

    You can’t rationalise mandatory finnish by an argument that “if every Finn is not taught swedish by force, it would hurt swedish-speakers’ feelings”.

    • Mark

      tp1

      You can’t rationalise mandatory finnish by an argument that “if every Finn is not taught swedish by force, it would hurt swedish-speakers’ feelings”.

      Well, it’s at least one less argument to have with you that I’m not claiming this, though we have gone over this ground in relation to other rights where clearly taking into account ‘people’s feelings’ is nevertheless just cause for legislative protection of their rights not to have their ‘feelings hurt’.

  27. tp1

    Mark, did you know the fact that even the current education system doesn’t produce people who has proper swedish skills? Despite all the hours we spend in school learning swedish, it doesn’t provide the skills that would make communicating in swedish possible. In order to have adequate skills for communicating, one has to do some work on it on his own.

  28. Mark

    tp1

    I read your message and that is what you say. You just don’t realize even yourself what you imply there.

    Well, that’s interesting. When you have tried to articulate what you think I am implying, I have flatly told you that you are wrongly interpreting my words. In other words, I do not think the things you say I do. Not content to take this at face value, you persist in holding to your own interpretation and now insist that I don’t even know what I’m implying 🙂

    You claim to seek for equality and somehow in your head you make it look like equality while in reality you support totally unqequal treatment for different groups. I can’t help that.

    What is the unequal treatment?

    When you nationalist thugs present this argument, you always present it as a numbers game, as ‘we are the majority, and why should we make an effort to respect the ‘rights’ of the minority, because we don’t benefit from it!’

    But when the situation is presented as it should be, as a comparison of the rights of two individual Finns from each of Finland’s main language groups who should be sharing the same rights, then you splutter and thrash about trying to get away from the obvious – that what you offer is not fair, the Swedish speaker must learn Finnish, but the Finn does not in turn have to learn Swedish, simply because they are the majority. You offer ‘our way or the highway’. You offer tyranny by the majority.

    You are not offering equality of citizenship. You offer the mantra that Finland is for the Finns and that Finnish is our language. Except that it doesn’t wash. Finland has had an important Swedish speaking minority contributing greatly to national life for many centuries.

    You clearly don’t appreciate what your ancestors created in the way of a modern Finland that respects its bilingual and diverse cultural past or the efforts made since to ensure stability and equality of citizenship.

    It’s interesting that Finland is one of the most advanced countries in the world in this regard, and yet folks like you look to undo all that good work. And why? Because you want to protest at spending a couple of hours a week as teenagers learning Finland’s second language.

    It’s laziness turned into a political agenda.

  29. tp1

    What is the unequal treatment?

    Expecting that swedish-speakers must be able to communicate with swedish but at the same time expecting finnish-speakers to learn swedish so that they could understand swedish-speakers.

    You don’t seem to have any concerns about finnish-speakers rights to use finnish.

  30. tp1

    But when the situation is presented as it should be, as a comparison of the rights of two individual Finns from each of Finland’s main language groups who should be sharing the same rights, then you splutter and thrash about trying to get away from the obvious – that what you offer is not fair, the Swedish speaker must learn Finnish, but the Finn does not in turn have to learn Swedish, simply because they are the majority. You offer ‘our way or the highway’. You offer tyranny by the majority.

    No Mark, you are wrong here. I have never said anything like that. I don’t expect swedish-speakers to learn finnish anymore than finnish-speakers should learn swedish. Equal treatment for both!

    I have never demanded that swedish-speakers must learn finnish.

    You can’t see it as a right of someone to force someone else to learn his language. That is sick! What you have been saying here is that you think that it is swedish-speakers right to force finnish people to learn swedish.

  31. Mark

    Mark, did you know the fact that even the current education system doesn’t produce people who has proper swedish skills?

    That really is not the point. Anyone who knows anything about language learning knows that only a few learners will achieve anything like fluency. The point is that it’s a bridge, and that a lot of things can be communicated through that bridge. I don’t speak Finnish fluently, but I assume you are not suggesting I give up my language learning project as a result?

    Despite all the hours we spend in school learning swedish, it doesn’t provide the skills that would make communicating in swedish possible.

    Well, I have sympathy over that. You have to study Finnish for a year before you can even effectively use a dictionary. But you really miss the point if you choose fluency as your goal. Who is to say that the Swedish speaker ends up speaking Finnish fluently? Anyhow, comprehension usually runs ahead of production skills, and in that sense, it does open up the whole culture of Finland to each of the language groups. You know, you remind me of some men, who deliberately burn the cooking just so that they can say, “I cannot do my share in the kitchen because I’m such a lousy chef!”

    In order to have adequate skills for communicating, one has to do some work on it on his own.

    Well, this is true, the more you put in, the more you get out. But then you also receive more benefits too, in that more of the Swedish speaking world opens up to you. This is the same for any subject that you choose to study. And you do not use this argument to say that it is pointless learning maths, history, geography, biology etc.

    You see, tp1, your arguments really are extremely weak. Not only that, they cannot possibly justify the abuse of rights of Swedish speakers by reducing their language to the same status of a ‘foreign language’ in schools.

  32. tp1

    Mark, let me explain you what was initially wrong in your examples:

    The Finnish speaker may see no reason to learn Swedish, except that it is the second national language of Finland. The Finnish-speaker could happily function within his own language group, separate from all things ‘Swedish’, and never have to go beyond his own community.

    You make this naive assumption there that if person doesn’t learn swedish, he is somehow restricted to go beyond his own community. There is no truth in that one. For two persons to be able to communicate, it is enough to have ONE COMMON language, it doesn’t need to be either one’s own mother tongue.

    For example when I communicate with a somali, I don’t need to understand somali language and he doesn’t have to understand finnish. We can communicate using English. And same applies to finnish/swedish people also. There is no need for finns to understand swedish and there is no need for swedes to understand finnish for being able to communicate.

    • Mark

      tp1

      You make this naive assumption there that if person doesn’t learn swedish, he is somehow restricted to go beyond his own community. There is no truth in that one. For two persons to be able to communicate, it is enough to have ONE COMMON language, it doesn’t need to be either one’s own mother tongue.

      Nowhere did I say that one CANNOT go beyond one’s community or that one is restricted in doing so. The point of that phrase is that Finnish speakers may never move away from a predominantly Finnish speaking area, and so the motivation for learning the language can be quite weak, clearly. The point is that the same applies to the Swedish speaker living in a predominantly Swedish speaking area.

      Now, assuming that segregation isn’t a fixed and permanent phenomena, the conditions have to be right so that IF either individual chooses to go beyond their own community, they have the tools to do so, that they will not be restricted by a LACK of language skills. See, the restriction comes from not having any knowledge of the second language.

      There is no need for finns to understand swedish and there is no need for swedes to understand finnish for being able to communicate.

      tp1

      We are not talking about SWEDES. We are talking about Swedish speaking Finns. An interesting slip of the tongue there, my friend!

  33. Mark

    You can’t see it as a right of someone to force someone else to learn his language. That is sick! What you have been saying here is that you think that it is swedish-speakers right to force finnish people to learn swedish.

    It’s not sick when two language groups live in the same nation. It’s common sense. The alternative is total segregation.

    No Mark, you are wrong here. I have never said anything like that. I don’t expect swedish-speakers to learn finnish anymore than finnish-speakers should learn swedish. Equal treatment for both!

    I don’t see that as equal. I see that as the majority abusing their power by saying, “we will speak our language and if you don’t want to take part in OUR national and political life, using OUR language, then that is your problem.”

    You must realise that a two-language national population will require some effort in order to provide for a rich and cross-cultural exchange between the language groups. You are saying basically that that effort is not worth it, because, well, you are part of the majority and you cannot be bothered. In other words, you will not suffer in any way, in fact, you will not have to suffer having to learn another language. That’s good enough motivation for you, and completely self-serving.

    By making Finnish the de facto single Official language, you have reduced the position of Swedish speakers. In countries where there is no official support for the minority language, then the minority struggles to achieve political and cultural representation.

    Okay, so you are not suggesting that Swedes must be ‘forced’ to learn Finnish. But what can they do when the rest of Finland no longer understands them? You leave them with no choice and no effective language rights. That’s not equality of citizenship.

    I know your next words – you don’t have a choice about learning Swedish. But then Swedes in school have no choice about learning Finnish. That is where the equality exists and that is the most effective and productive solution to this problem. Anything less undermines the status of the minority language group.

  34. Mark

    tp1

    What you have been saying here is that you think that it is swedish-speakers right to force finnish people to learn swedish.

    No, I think it is the state’s obligation to make both national languages mandatory subjects during school. This provides the proper foundation and seed bed to maintain a healthy bilingual nation.

    You are only ever presenting one side of this argument to make it look unequal.

  35. Mark

    tp1

    You don’t seem to have any concerns about finnish-speakers rights to use finnish.

    I think it clearly works both ways, where in the vast majority of situations Finnish speakers are choosing to speak Finnish, but that the Swedish speakers are party to the communication because they have learnt Finnish. It happens with some of my friends that I speak English and they speak Finnish and we are both comfortable because we are expressing ourselves in our own language but also still able to communicate. No doubt as my Finnish improves, I will feel more comfortable speaking all the time in Finnish in those situations. But I’m sure that many Finns will want to speak to me in English nonetheless.

  36. Mark

    tp1

    What you have been saying here is that you think that it is swedish-speakers right to force finnish people to learn swedish.

    You know, this really has been the crux of the PS argument and yours, that it is worded in this emotive and provocative language. How can anyone possibly support someone being ‘forced’ to speak another language. But the argument is totally fake. I mean, completely and utterly fake.

    In the same way I can say that I’m ‘forced’ to pay taxes, forced to drive on the right, forced to study mathematics at school, forced to read and write, forced to go to the supermarket to buy food, or else I’ll starve, forced to go to the toilet to have a big crap when my bowel is fit to burst, and forced into an ambulance after a car accident just because my guts are hanging out of my belly! How terrible is that?!

    This argument is NOT about force. It’s about NEED. In that sense, I need to know maths, I need to be able to read and write, I need to eat, I need to take a crap on a regular basis, I need to drive on the right, I need to pay taxes if I want to be the beneficiary of government services, and I need to go to hospital if my guts are hanging out.

    Are these things mandatory? Many of them yes, but that is because the state operates to protect the collective need, over and above an individual’s whim to respect the needs of others too. Driving on the right is safer, if we all do it, after all.

    And in exactly the same way, when two language groups share the same nation, there is a need for them to have some understanding of each other, there is a need for both languages to be respected, and a need for BOTH language groups to make some effort to learn the other’s language.

    If there were ten native minority languages in Finland, then I would fully understand the practical and logistical problems and the need perhaps for some compromise.

    But when Finland only has two official languages, then it’s hardly the most demanding scenario. If it cannot be made to work in Finland, then it cannot work anywhere and we might as well give up totally on the whole notion of ‘bilingual’ nations.

    I thought Finns were the top of the class in this kind of thing? They are….so why deliberately seek to undermine that? Because a few hours of study a week as a teenager is too much work? Too much work to maintain cultural and political equality throughout Finland? Come on, that’s just nuts. Of course it’s worth the effort.

  37. Yossie

    Mark

    Swedish speakers are a tiny 5% minority. That is a fact no matter how much you bitch and moan. Now what does this mean in practice? It means its a LOT more useful for a swedish speaker to learn finnish as a huge 95% majority speaks finnish. However, it is not equally useful for finnish speakers to learn a minor language that is useful only in small parts of the country. So to makes claims it would be equal is horseshit.

    In a same manner it makes a lot more sense if I were to permanently live in sweden, to actually study swedish. But we are living in Finland and the usefulness of the languages are different no matter how much you complain.

    Why? You dare to call it out as laziness? The aim is to get language choices optional. You get to choose which 2 languages you want to study. Thats it.

    If you havent noticed: finns language skills are getting limited to english and swedish only. There has been news how companies are worried how limited language skills are effecting business.

  38. Mark

    Yossie

    Swedish speakers are a tiny 5% minority. That is a fact no matter how much you bitch and moan. Now what does this mean in practice? It means its a LOT more useful for a swedish speaker to learn finnish as a huge 95% majority speaks finnish. However, it is not equally useful for finnish speakers to learn a minor language that is useful only in small parts of the country. So to makes claims it would be equal is horseshit.

    Horseshit my arse! This is not a question of economics, this is a question of the rights of a minority and the needs of a bilingual nation. Likewise, it’s equal on an individual level, as I’ve already demonstrated – obviously it went over your head, that one! Too smart for you? 😀

    You could equally argue it doesn’t make sense to give treatment for diabetes in children under 15, because it only affects 0.06% of the young population. That’s an even bigger majority of the total population that are not affected in any way, so why should we pay taxes towards the treatment of this disease?

    But we are living in Finland and the usefulness of the languages are different no matter how much you complain.

    Back to this nonsense again, Yossie! 🙂 You are evidently unqualified to judge the usefulness of Swedish! Give it a rest!

    Why? You dare to call it out as laziness? The aim is to get language choices optional. You get to choose which 2 languages you want to study. Thats it.

    It is laziness. I haven’t seen any other reason put forward. Can I paraphrase you? ‘It’s not worth the effort’. There is only one response to that – lazy feck!

    Well, you could call it childish belligerence too, a failure to appreciate or understand the bilingual nation in which you live, and to use the ‘force of the majority’ to undermine the language rights of the minority. NO…wait, I’ll call that one naked fascism, seeing as it’s part of the grievance-driven bellicoseness coming out of Finland’s Far Right political party! 😀

  39. Yossie

    Mark

    Your example was stupidly simple. Ofcourse you fail to notice that for that swedish speaker individual, finnish would be rougly useful in 95% of places he goes, yet for a finnish speaker, swedish is roughly useful in 5% of places. So it is not equal at all at individual level.

    “Back to this nonsense again, Yossie! You are evidently unqualified to judge the usefulness of Swedish! Give it a rest!”

    How about we let people themselves to decide what is useful for them and let people choose the languages they want?

    “It is laziness. I haven’t seen any other reason put forward.”

    Are you blind or stupid?
    1. Finland needs wider knowledge in different languages
    2. Motivation is the key for good language skills = Give people the option to choose the ones they want to study
    3. People wouldnt get the negative opinion for swedish they get when they are forced to learn the they have very very limited use

    But ofcourse this is all facist? Give me a break. So you mean äland is facist place since they dont study finnish? Sweden is facist place since despite the finnish minority, they dont study finnish! OR maybe America is? God there is so many facist spirited countries…

    • Mark

      Yossie

      You ignore the things that matter. On an individual level, a Swedish speaker and a Finnish speaker each learn one extra language. No more or less work. How much you use that language depends on several factors that are in part irrelevant. If you live in a municipality with 50-50 mix, then you would expect to use them more. If you live in a municipality with a 5-95 mix, then you would use your own language more. But there are likewise individuals living in predominantly Swedish speaking areas as there are Finns living in Finnish speaking areas, and the utility of the language of one individual from each community is the same. The fact that there are more communities who speak Finnish is irrelevant at the individual level.

      How about we let people themselves to decide what is useful for them and let people choose the languages they want?

      How about you let people decide how much tax to pay? Really, though, you cannot allow for minority language rights to be left to the ‘choice’ of the majority, as that is exactly the scenario in which the ‘tyranny of the majority’ operates, working incessantly to present the majority language as the norm and therefore carrying higher preference and status. Then you have citizens with different status and rights and yet both are supposed to be equal citizens of that bilingual nation.

      It becomes fascist when it’s tied up to a nationalist-socialist agenda. Except you have no knowledge about this because the history of these organisations and political movements is not very useful to you, is it?

  40. tp1

    Mark still fails to understand what can be right and what can’t. I don’t know how much simplier that can be put for someone like Mark to understand, but I try one more time:

    1) Person A has a right to learn language B so that he can communicate with Person B with language B.

    2) Person A can’t expect that he has a right to demand Person B to learn language A so that A can communicate with Person B with language A.

    (Feel free to substitute A and B with either finnish or swedish)

    So, simply put: If everyone has a right to learn the languages they want, how is this taking any rights away from anyone? You can’t say as an argument that A has a right to use his own language to communicate with B, because that is simultaneously demanding the exact opposite from person B. You seem to forget that at the same time you demand that right for person A you decline that right from person B.

  41. tp1

    How about you let people decide how much tax to pay? Really, though, you cannot allow for minority language rights to be left to the ‘choice’ of the majority,

    Mark, when are you going to stop that nonsense? Nobody is taking anything away from minority. They would still have every right to learn what ever language they want to. Majority is not choosing anything for the minority, why can’t you understand this?

  42. Mark

    tp1

    So, simply put: If everyone has a right to learn the languages they want, how is this taking any rights away from anyone?

    You fail to grasp the absolute essence of this debate. We are not talking about ‘any old languages’ found in the world. We are talking about ONE nation that has historically had two language groups.

    So why didn’t you write it like this?

    1) A Finnish speaker has a right to learn Swedish so that he can communicate with a Swedish speaker in Swedish.

    2) A Finnish speaker cannot demand that a Swedish speaker learn Finnish so that the Finnish speaker can communicate with the Swedish speaker in Finnish.

    So, this merely repeats what you wrote before. You want to drop Swedish lessons in school, and in exchange, you won’t demand that Swedish speakers (Swedes as you call them) learn Finnish?

    And that’s your version of equality! 😀

    And if everyone chose to give up learning the other’s language, you don’t think that this would impact disproportionately negatively on Swedish speakers?

  43. Mark

    Mark, when are you going to stop that nonsense? Nobody is taking anything away from minority. They would still have every right to learn what ever language they want to. Majority is not choosing anything for the minority, why can’t you understand this?

    Because it’s total bollocks, that’s why, and it ignores the political and social realities of minorities. The ‘choice’ you offer to the minority is to learn the majority language and also to use it in all official and national activities. That is not a choice. That is ‘like it or lump it’. That is tyranny by the majority!

  44. tp1

    Mark

    So why didn’t you write it like this?

    1) A Finnish speaker has a right to learn Swedish so that he can communicate with a Swedish speaker in Swedish.

    2) A Finnish speaker cannot demand that a Swedish speaker learn Finnish so that the Finnish speaker can communicate with the Swedish speaker in Finnish.

    So, this merely repeats what you wrote before. You want to drop Swedish lessons in school, and in exchange, you won’t demand that Swedish speakers (Swedes as you call them) learn Finnish?

    What the h*ll are you talking about? That is exactly what I wrote. I used A and B in my sentence and then said that you can substitue A and B with either one, Finnish or Swedish.

    Are you unable to understand written text? That is exactly the equality I have been talking about, both Finns and Swedes are free to choose whether or not to learn the other language. What is your problem with this?

  45. tp1

    And if everyone chose to give up learning the other’s language, you don’t think that this would impact disproportionately negatively on Swedish speakers?

    If everyone would chose not to learn (which is very unlikely) then that would be a problem only for those who choose it to be a problem. Because if A chooses not to learn B he makes an intentional choice of not being able to communicate with B.

    • Mark

      tp1

      If everyone would chose not to learn (which is very unlikely) then that would be a problem only for those who choose it to be a problem. Because if A chooses not to learn B he makes an intentional choice of not being able to communicate with B.

      For this, read:

      If not enough Finnish speakers chose to learn Swedish, then it would be problem only for Swedish speakers. Because if the Swede [tp1 refers to Swedish speaking Finns as Swedes] chooses not to learn Finnish, then it’s his own fault that he cannot communicate with Finnish speakers.

      No wonder you are putting all this self-serving bollocks into code!

  46. Mark

    tp1

    I’d like to rewrite this with some realistic revisions.

    1) A Finnish speaker has a right to learn Swedish so that he can communicate with a Swedish speaker in Swedish.

    2) A Finnish speaker cannot demand that a Swedish speaker learn Finnish so that the Finnish speaker can communicate with the Swedish speaker in Finnish.

    A Finnish speaker can learn Swedish if he wants, but if you leave it to him, he probably won’t.

    The Finnish speaker won’t ask the Swedish speaker to learn Finnish, because then he knows that he in turn will have to learn Swedish.

    The fact that the Swedish speaker will HAVE to learn Finnish because it has now become the de facto Official Language of Finland and Swedish has how been reduced to the status of a foreign language will NOT BE MENTIONED, though everyone will know this to be true.

  47. tp1

    Because it’s total bollocks, that’s why, and it ignores the political and social realities of minorities. The ‘choice’ you offer to the minority is to learn the majority language and also to use it in all official and national activities. That is not a choice. That is ‘like it or lump it’. That is tyranny by the majority!

    If you seriously think like that then why don’t you see it as a problem that the majority would have to do the same learning for the minority language? In individual level it’s a same thing, no matter if you are part of the majority or minority.

  48. tp1

    The fact that the Swedish speaker will HAVE to learn Finnish because it has now become the de facto Official Language of Finland and Swedish has how been reduced to the status of a foreign language will NOT BE MENTIONED, though everyone will know this to be true.

    Swedish was an official language way before swedish became mandatory in school. There wasn’t any problems before that so why would there be a problem now?

    Let me ask you one thing? If there is a problem, any kind of problem and the solution would require certain amount of effort. What would be the most sensible choice to solve this:
    a) use 100 X amount of effort
    b) use 95 X amount of effort
    c) use 5 X amount of effort

    Any person with any intelligence would choose option c, but you insist on choosing option a. In your choice the minority would still have to do the same effort, but in addition also the majority has to do the same effort. So you are basically wasting huge amount of resources so that a) someone would not feel bad and b) even if it would decrease any effort from the minority.

    • Mark

      More bollocks written in code from you, I see.

      a) 5 million Finns knowing some Swedish
      b) 4.5 million Finns knowing Swedish
      c) 250 Swedish speaking Finns knowing Swedish

      So, which is the most sensible choice in a bilingual nation where both speaking communities are supposed to have the same rights and status?

      Any person with any intelligence would understand that the only way to ensure the rights of the minority would be to require a small effort on the part of the majority.

      You are so full of crap, tp1.

      You are not counting or interested in counting the cost to the minority of having their language reduced to the status of a foreign language.

      And for that reason alone, you and your arguments should be treated with the disdain and criticism that any self-serving tyrant should be treated with.

      Do you really think all the Swedish speakers are like me because they would oppose this move? Are we all stupid and insane? What an extremely odd statistic that would be.

  49. tp1

    Mark, why do you keep ignoring the fact that every person would still have to choose some language to learn? They couldn’t just drop swedish, the would have to learn some other language if they would drop it.

    • Mark

      Mark, why do you keep ignoring the fact that every person would still have to choose some language to learn? They couldn’t just drop swedish, the would have to learn some other language if they would drop it.

      Because it’s irrelevant to the discussion on minority language rights, perhaps?

  50. Mark

    tp1

    If you seriously think like that then why don’t you see it as a problem that the majority would have to do the same learning for the minority language? In individual level it’s a same thing, no matter if you are part of the majority or minority.

    Gosh, is this your way of finally agreeing with me, or have you descended into total incoherence?

    It’s not a problem for the majority to learn a minority language because a language is a language, and there isn’t more or less involved in learning it whether 1 million speak it or 100 million.

    There is only one way that Swedish would be dropped as an official language – when enough of the Swedish speakers feel that it’s no longer important to identity themselves uniquely as Swedish speaking Finns, i.e. that they are happy that all national and public life is only in Finnish. Democracy entails that they are the ones with the choice, not the majority who would not for one second consider the negative consequences of removing that access to national and public life for those who predominantly express themselves in Swedish. Finnish speakers are not denied this opportunity to express themselves in their mother tongue on the national stage, so why should Swedish speakers?

    Your answer is segregation. A situation would develop that when a Swedish speaker says something in Swedish, rather than say 80 per cent of Finns having at least some notion of what they are saying, only the 5% of Finns who speak Swedish. And you think this would not diminish their ability to speak their own language? Two things, speakers and listeners. You are focusing only on the possibility to speak, as if this was completely independent of the right to be heard and understood.

    What is the point of a Swedish speaker speaking Swedish to only 5% of the population in Finland? How is that equality if along comes a Finnish politician who speaks Finnish and is understood by 99% of the population?

  51. tp1

    It’s not a problem for the majority to learn a minority language because a language is a language, and there isn’t more or less involved in learning it whether 1 million speak it or 100 million.

    Do you admit that you are less intelligent than an average person? You are just plain ignorant for simple facts.

    Learning a language requires effort which consumes time. Time is limited. If I want to learn french I would have to learn two languages: swedish and french. Therefore I would need twice the capacity of learning them both compared to learning just one.

    Many people would like to learn some useful language but they don’t have capacity to learn so many languages and because they are forced to learn swedish, that takes the possibility away from learning something else.

  52. tp1

    What is the point of a Swedish speaker speaking Swedish to only 5% of the population in Finland? How is that equality if along comes a Finnish politician who speaks Finnish and is understood by 99% of the population?

    You just keep making fool of yourself 😀 The swedish speaker would still have the right and possibility to learn Finnish so he would understand.

    Even if finns are forced to learn swedish, it wouldn’t change a thing in your example. Still a finnish politican would speak finnish and person who doesn’t understand finnish wouldn’t understand what he is saying. That would no change whether or not we are forced to learn swedish.

    • JusticeDemon

      The swedish speaker would still have the right and possibility to learn Finnish so he would understand.

      This is the multilingual model of the old USSR that required all Estonian speakers to learn Russian, but did not require Russian speakers to learn Estonian.

      Interesting how the peruSSuomalaiset and Soviet Stalinists share the same authoritarian mindset.

      As a dyed-in-the-wool nationalist, tp1, it’s surprising that you haven’t recommended political independence for Swedish-speaking Finns (and Sámi, for that matter). This would be simple enough to administer. Members of these communities could then pay their taxes to an independent government in Åland or Rovaniemi. The economy of Espoo and Porvoo would obviously change, and extractable land resources exploitation might be more complex in places like Utsjoki, Inari, Enontekiö and Sodankylä, but the undertaxed Finns could then fight among themselves about who picks up the slack and anyway, this isn’t about money, is it? Economic considerations are a poor substitute for xenophobia, and if all else fails, then you can always feed the population on bullshit national pride.

  53. Mark

    tp1

    Do you admit that you are less intelligent than an average person? You are just plain ignorant for simple facts.

    Do you admit that when you cannot understand a coherent argument that disagrees with your point of view that you are reduced to ad hominen attacks?

    Learning a language requires effort which consumes time. Time is limited.

    Several months ago, I held a recruitment process to employ a translator. Every single one of those translators could speak Finnish and Swedish fluently and ALL of them had English as their third language. About 30 per cent of those candidates had competence in a further one or two languages, the most common being French and German, and occasionally Russian.

    You are talking out of your arse, tp1

  54. Yossie

    “The fact that there are more communities who speak Finnish is irrelevant at the individual level.”

    It is actually very relevant. Like you said: it takes the same effort to learn one language. However with finnish you get more options for work/something else if you move to different parts of Finland. Swedish give you hardly any additional options even when it takes the same effort.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Numbers are not your thing are they? More choices for a Finnish speaker wanting to move to another Finnish speaking part of Finland, but realistically you can only live in one place at a time, so at the individual level, you really are in direct equivalence with other people in the opposite language group, regardless of where you live in Finland, there will always be some direct corresponding situation.

      The key question is whether any single Finnish speaker has the same key rights as any other single Swedish speaker. You cannot guarantee this, but asking both language groups to study each other’s language satisfies this requirement quite easily in the circumstances, provided there are enough competent Swedish teachers.

  55. tp1

    Several months ago, I held a recruitment process to employ a translator. Every single one of those translators could speak Finnish and Swedish fluently and ALL of them had English as their third language. About 30 per cent of those candidates had competence in a further one or two languages, the most common being French and German, and occasionally Russian.

    You are talking out of your arse, tp1

    So you take a group of persons how are applying for a job of a translator and based on that group you make assumptions for the whole population about a single parameter (language skills) which is by definition on a good level on a person who is applying for that kind of a job.

    I think we’re done here. What is the point in discussing with someone like you who refuses to accept facts, if those facts speaks agains your own mental issues.

    • JusticeDemon

      I think we’re done here.

      Now you sound like a true addict. We’ll see how long you can stand your cold turkey, tp1.

      I bet we are not done at all.

  56. Mark

    So you take a group of persons how are applying for a job of a translator and based on that group you make assumptions for the whole population about a single parameter (language skills) which is by definition on a good level on a person who is applying for that kind of a job.

    No, I was applying your criteria of a person who is interested in learning a third or fourth language and the possibilities for them to achieve this under the current system. Not all those applying were specifically translators, by the way. It might surprise you to know that two were nurses, one a script writer, another a sales person, another a customer services rep.

    I think we’re done here.

    Ah, you probably thought you were ending on a high! 🙂

    if those facts speaks agains your own mental issues.

    The irony here is that the position I am arguing for is also the position of most Swedish speakers in Finland and a good many Finnish speakers who also support the current system. I’d be interested to see whether you account for their opposition to your plans on the basis that they have ‘mental issues’ too.

  57. Joonas

    I have to agree with Sasu, tp1 and others about this subject. I do see it more beneficial if the students could select the language they want to study. It would help to increase the motivation to study it and benefit them more in the future. This wouldn’t mean that nobody studies Swedish (I’m quite sure that at least 30% would study it anyway), but there are many other useful languages and Finland needs people with wider language skills.

    I have to agree with one thing, Mark. I think language is a (small) gateway to different cultures. I have studies Mandarin and it gave me a much better view to a Chinese culture. But if the language is a sneak peak to a different cultures, wouldn’t it give a better basis to understand immigrants (which are even smaller minority group in Finland than Swedish speaking Finns) and their culture, if we would have wider selection of language skills?

  58. Mark

    Joonas

    This wouldn’t mean that nobody studies Swedish (I’m quite sure that at least 30% would study it anyway), but there are many other useful languages and Finland needs people with wider language skills.

    Joonas, you cannot leave the rights of minorities down to a matter of chance, let alone down to the fickle whim of the majority, especially when the effects of that choice will disproportionately affect the status and rights of Swedish speakers in Finland as equal citizens as Finnish speakers.

    • Joonas

      Finland has 90,04% Finnish speaking population and 5,39% Swedish speaking population. Sweden has about the same amouth of Swedish-Finns living (5,01%) which is the largest immigration group, but Finnish is not the mandatory language in schools. I still don’t think this affects to Swedish-Finns status or rights in Sweden.

  59. Yossie

    Mark

    For the last time: This is not a minority right issue! It cant be that minority dictates what majority should study!

    And still you havent commented the fact that mandatory swedish was introduced as late as 1980s. So there has never been a situation where everyone would had understood swedish. What you want has never excisted and never will excist.

    If swedish status was ok before 1980s, why the hell would it be now? In fact the status of swedish gets lower when it seen as beeing force fed by old high class.

  60. Mark

    Yossie

    For the last time: This is not a minority right issue! It cant be that minority dictates what majority should study!

    There is an interesting irony in your words Yossie, because it was actually the argument of the Finnish-speaking political circles in the 1920s that it WAS a minority issue, that Finland had one nationality and two languages, and that this was written into the Constitution. If anything, at that time, the Swedish-Finns considered Finland to be composed of two nationalities, with each their own language. While some still think this, the political position is that Swedish-speakers are a linguistic minority.

    From what I can find out, 76% of Finnish citizens live in bilingual areas, while only 18% live in unilingual Finnish or Swedish areas. That contrasts with 99% of Finns who live in areas where there is a majority of Finnish speakers. (Conflict and Compromise in Multilingual Societies: Finland; Ed’s Kenneth D. McRae,Mika Helander,Sari Luoma)

    I remember in the comments on another post you wrote this:

    …more equal opportunities are given when immigrants are able to speak finnish at close level to natives and are behaving like natives.

    Except when you live in Swedish speaking areas of Finland, eh! Forgot to mention that one, didn’t you, Yossie. Why was that?

    And still you havent commented the fact that mandatory swedish was introduced as late as 1980s.

    I consider the introduction of Swedish in the 1980s was an improvement in the state’s protection of the Swedish speaking minority. Students only have to study it for 3 years, and the requirement to pass the ‘civil service’ exam applies to those taking university studies. While I know that uni students are usually thinking about beer and relationships, nevertheless, a language requirement is no big deal. I studied two languages from scratch at university as additional subjects. And I didn’t have a three-year head start on the languages.

    So there has never been a situation where everyone would had understood swedish. What you want has never excisted and never will excist.

    That really is not my point. My key point is to make clear that in a country that is officially bilingual, and where the Constitution guarantees equal treatment regardless of which national language you speak, the only way to achieve this is where both language groups make an effort to learn ‘the other language’ (toinen kotimainen kieli).

    The only concession I would make on this point is the university requirement. Mostly because Higher Education becomes more and more demanding and so having a ‘civil service’ qualification tied in with it does seem rather odd. I guess the possibility is there for people to achieve that qualification by taking an examination at any time.

  61. Mark

    Joonas

    Finland has 90,04% Finnish speaking population and 5,39% Swedish speaking population. Sweden has about the same amouth of Swedish-Finns living (5,01%) which is the largest immigration group, but Finnish is not the mandatory language in schools. I still don’t think this affects to Swedish-Finns status or rights in Sweden.

    Joonas, the right to equal status regardless of language is a Constitutional right. As such, it is a universal right of all Finnish citizens, and has NOTHING to do with numbers. That Sweden is not officially a bilingual nation reflects Swedish history. That Finland is officially a bilingual nation reflects Finland’s unique history, of which Finns should be proud (perhaps especially because it is different to that of Sweden’s :)).

  62. Yossie

    Mark

    Constitution doesn’t demand mandatory swedish. It demands services to be offered in swedish. It says nothing that you need to be understood by everyone if you talk swedish. State is bilingual, people aren’t.

    It is stupidity that people are forced to study a language they have very limited use only because swedish speakers get butthurt if everyone arent studying their tiny language.

    I know I had no time what so ever to study a third language when I was in middle school / high school. I studied extensive amounts of physics and mathematics since they were relevant for my career plans. Given a chance, I would not had chosen swedish, there were much useful choises if I had been given a choice in languages.

  63. Mark

    Yossie

    Constitution doesn’t demand mandatory swedish.

    Well, let’s see what the Constitution does say:

    Section 17 – Right to one’s language and culture

    The national languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish.

    The right of everyone to use his or her own language, either Finnish or Swedish, before courts of law and other authorities, and to receive official documents in that language, shall be guaranteed by an Act. The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.

    I think it’s this last section that is particularly important in regard to the language question. How can you provide for the needs of both people equally, if only one of the languages is taught in schools? That really doesn’t make sense. Education is a responsibility of the public authorities.

    It says nothing that you need to be understood by everyone if you talk swedish. State is bilingual, people aren’t.

    And this I accept up to a point, that not all Finns will understand all Swedish that is spoken. That is not what I’m getting at. I studied maybe 3 years of mandatory French in comprehensive school and never approached fluency, but it laid a foundation and it also meant that I understood the basics. Not only that, but when it came to studying Spanish later, I had a head start, which was useful.

    But this is NOT the key reason for Finns to study Swedish. The key reason is that Finland is a bilingual country, and the citizens should have equal cultural and social status. I cannot possibly see how that can be achieved if Swedish is downgraded in schools into the same status as a ‘foreign language’.

    Yossie, your bias is really blocking you from seeing the argument.

    • Sasu

      Nostamasi perustuslai pykälät estävät kaikenlaisen muutoksen koska virkakieli on ruotsi ja suomi. Jos Ruotsin kieli poistettaisiin suomen kouluista, se tarkoittaisi kielihiaralkia paluuta. Näin ollen ainoot reallistiset vaihtoehdot ovat joka paikalla pysyminen tai lakkautaa ruotsin kieli ja poistaa se virallisten kielten joukosta.

      Minä en sanoisi että suomessa olisi sellainen kulttuuri kuin suomalais-ruotsalaiset. Ruotsinkielliset ovat assimiloituneet kokonaan kulttuurillisesti ja Suomi on assimiloitunut Eurooppalaiseen yhtenäiskulttuuriin kiinteästi.

      Tämä on kieli ongelma eikä kulttuurillinen joten kannattais jättää kulttuuri sivuun.

  64. tp1

    I think it’s this last section that is particularly important in regard to the language question. How can you provide for the needs of both people equally, if only one of the languages is taught in schools? That really doesn’t make sense. Education is a responsibility of the public authorities.

    Are you drunk or using something else?

    Nobody has said that only other language would be taught at schools. Both languages would be taught and people can choose whether or not to participate in other.

    The constitution has been fulfilled long before swedish was made mandatory in schools. How do you explain that?

    Mandatory swedish in schools has nothing to do with constitution so please stop putting that bullshit out from your keyboard.

    • JusticeDemon

      Are you drunk or using something else?

      When you signed off at 14.33 I predicted that you would not be able to quit this conversation as easily as you suggested. Now you are back at 21.14, and what is the line that you lead with? 🙂

      Your practical problem is that the revolutionary fervour of the epähiket when they’ve had a skinful in the suburban keski-olut baari very quickly evaporates when they sober up to discover that the practical business of politics requires hard work, consistency and dedication. These commodities are in short supply among the too cool for school kids who sat at the back of the class giggling and making farting noises.

      Most Members of Parliament and all of the senior civil service aced Swedish at school and cannot see what all the fuss is about. You can bleat about the élite as much as you like, but there is no practical Parliamentary route to your goal.

      The same is true of capital punishment and dozens of other issues on which professional politicians, administrators and experts hold entirely different views to those of the public in general and the epähiket in particular. In practice the public tends to come round to a more civilised way of thinking eventually. Attitudes towards corporal punishment in Finland are one example of this.

    • Mark

      tp1

      So, you just had to return. JD had your number, matey. And still dishing out the insults. Nice…

      The issue is that only one language would be compulsory, not that there would be only one language on the syllabus. You misunderstand my meaning.

      How do you know the Constitutional requirement was being adequately fulfilled before the new language act came into force? There was a clear decline in Swedish speakers up to the 1980s, which appears to have stabalised.

      So, you are suggesting that a Constitutional requirement for public authorities to provide for the social and cultural needs of both populations on an equal basis has nothing to do with language.

      And exactly how would you even begin to decide if this requirement is being fulfilled if you ignore the role of language?

  65. tp1

    Why is it so hard to understand that those responsible providing public services are responsible of arranging people there so that people of both language can be served. That doesn’t require every citizen to learn the language.

  66. Mark

    tp1

    It is your stated position that Swedish speakers should not have to study Finnish. Do you think this is a realistic position to take? Do you honestly think that Swedish-speakers could go through the educational system in Finland and not be required to learn Finnish? I find that a rather radical and unrealistic proposal.

  67. tp1

    tp1It is your stated position that Swedish speakers should not have to study Finnish. Do you think this is a realistic position to take? Do you honestly think that Swedish-speakers could go through the educational system in Finland and not be required to learn Finnish? I find that a rather radical and unrealistic proposal.

    I still don’t see any relevant point here. If swedish-speakers can’t go through the system without learning finnish, why should finnish-speakers be punished for this? Keeping in mind that making finnish-speakers learn swedish doesn’t change anything.

    In other threads you keep telling everyone that world has changed and Finns need to be international. Now this contradicts totally what you say in this thread. You just lack the capacity to understand any bigger picture.

    You mention that older people can speak swedish without problems, but you don’t think even a second the reason for that. Back then we were not that “global” as today, and it was important skill to understand swedish. But now, in 21st century that is not the case anymore. We do business globally, we interact with people from around the world. Therefore swedish is not that important language anymore, and we can say it’s totally useless. In todays world our english skills are good and so is swedish people’s english skills. We can communicate perfectly with each other using english. Therefore there is no real need for us to learn swedish or swedes to learn finnish.

    And public services can be arranged for both languages without forcing the whole nation to learn both languages.

    The only reasons for mandatory swedish are political reasons.

  68. Mark

    tp1

    I still don’t see any relevant point here. If swedish-speakers can’t go through the system without learning finnish, why should finnish-speakers be punished for this? Keeping in mind that making finnish-speakers learn swedish doesn’t change anything.

    You cannot see it because you are steeped in your own bias. You even call it ‘punishment’. The idea is not to ‘punish’ anybody or do anything other than provide a basis for young people to understand the bilingual nation in which they live.

    The point of view you offer undermines this ‘bilingual nation’ and rather, offers a majority lead coup whereby Swedish is sidelined. What you do not and have not taken account of once in your posts is the effect that this would have on Swedish speakers. Rather, you have merely stated there would be no effect. That blanket denial is not merely an oversight, it’s ignorance and prejudice.

    In other threads you keep telling everyone that world has changed and Finns need to be international.

    I think you are confusing me with Enrique. I’m not in the habit of telling Finns to be international.

    You just lack the capacity to understand any bigger picture.

    You obviously lack the capacity to respect someone who has a different opinion. 🙂

    You mention that older people can speak swedish without problems, but you don’t think even a second the reason for that.

    Where do I mention that?

    We do business globally, we interact with people from around the world.

    We also interact a great deal with our Nordic neighbours, to which purpose, Swedish is invaluable.

    Therefore swedish is not that important language anymore, and we can say it’s totally useless.

    So, from being a bit more global nowadays and doing business globally, you go to saying that Swedish is “totally useless” 😀 That’s quite a jump. So what links do you have with the wider Finnish society, I wonder?

    By the sounds of it, not many! Sounds like you live in a very insular world if you can come to that kind of conclusion on the basis of a two-sentence analysis that you could fit on the back of a fag packet! Sounds like typical PS cultural policy!

    In todays world our english skills are good and so is swedish people’s english skills. We can communicate perfectly with each other using english.

    Now you are jumping backwards and forwards in your argument. Now its about communicating with Swedes, which frankly, is probably the least important argument for speaking Swedish.

    And public services can be arranged for both languages without forcing the whole nation to learn both languages.

    The only reasons for mandatory swedish are political reasons.

    And back to the same old broken record – Finns forced to learn Swedish. Do I have to repeat the arguments again for you, because you seem to pay absolutely no attention to them.

    Swedish speakers are equally forced to learn Finnish. All students are ‘forced’ to learn several key subjects at school, so ‘force’ really isn’t the issue. Finland is a bilingual nation. The issue with mandatory Swedish is not ‘force’ but ‘need’. And three years of study is really no big deal!

    You know, I’m an outsider here. I’ve no axe to grind and I’ve no political agenda to follow. I just call it how I see it. What I do see, and which I’ve seen before also in my own country of birth (Wales), is a language minority and a language majority bickering over what is the right policy for language learning. Language can certainly divide people. But the things that are said about the Swedes are exactly the nonsense said about ‘other countries’ characters. It’s negative stereotyping and immature griping.

    I’m not saying the Swedish speakers don’t do the same in regard to Finnish speakers. But one of the few things that acts as a bridge between the two communities is a mutual respect for each other’s language.

    The problem as I see it is that some Finnish nationalists have jumped on the bandwagon and made the language issue of Swedish a political issue because it’s an easy one where people, usually young people, are fed up with the extra effort of studying Swedish and more specifically taking exams in Swedish during University time. I saw my own Finnish partner complaining bitterly about this at some point over ten years ago.

    The argument was that it was just peripheral and the relevance was lost on her. But just because it’s lost on her or she’s too busy or too immature to really appreciate it doesn’t mean it’s not important. How many people really appreciate their ability to vote and what it really means? Many people don’t bother to vote when they are young.

    If kids had their way, they wouldn’t do any homework, they’d play on their phones or computers all day, and eat junk food. Just to generalise for a mo. The point is, that of course if you ask these people if they see the point of studying Swedish, they’d say no. Likewise, if you have little contact with Swedish speakers, you would see little point.

    But the rub is that Finland is a bilingual nation, and that requires some effort to maintain. And if the majority are going to be fair to the minority, and really give equal status to both languages, then ALL Finns should study Finnish and Swedish at some point during their schooling.

    When is the most appropriate time during that schooling is up for debate. What kind of exam system relates to it should be up for debate. Whether the civil service exam is necessary at University level should be up for debate. And what methods of language teaching are used (language teaching has been appalling in the drudgery of its methods and it’s ridiculous emphasis on perfection in the past here in Finland!) should be up for debate.

    But what shouldn’t be up for debate is basic respect between the different communities. This doesn’t come ‘cheap’ tp1. Real respect requires actions to back up the sentiments.

  69. tp1

    Where do I mention that?

    Here:

    Most Members of Parliament and all of the senior civil service aced Swedish at school

    We also interact a great deal with our Nordic neighbours, to which purpose, Swedish is invaluable.

    That is not true. We can manage the businessa in Nordic countries with English and that is how it’s mostly done nowadays. My company does co-operation with Swedish company and we always use English, there has never even been any question about it.

    Now you are jumping backwards and forwards in your argument. Now its about communicating with Swedes, which frankly, is probably the least important argument for speaking Swedish.

    Why should’t I care about communicating with Swedes? They are people too. And we can communicate with them perfectly in English, absolutely no need for Swedish.

    Swedish speakers are equally forced to learn Finnish.

    Are you still not understanding? I have gone through this many times. Yes, in current system we are forced to learn swedish and they are forced to learn finnish. What is unclear about this that you need to constantly bring this up?

    What we want is that we would NOT be forced to learn swedish and equally swedes would NOT be forced to learn finnish. What is problem to understand that?

    And three years of study is really no big deal!

    Bollocks. It’s 6 years and then university/college studies on top of that.

    But the rub is that Finland is a bilingual nation, and that requires some effort to maintain.

    No, that’s not how it should go. If it requires effort to maintain, then it is itself a proof that it should vanish. If it doesn’t get naturally maintained, then there is no need for it to exists. It’s only natural development that if swedish language would not remain here without extra effort, it would be gone after time.

  70. Mark

    tp1

    Now you are confusing me with JD. 🙂

    So, who is taking their own experience and extrapolating it to the entire Finnish context? I have seen many Nordic conferences advertised in the last 10 years where the language has been Scandanavian. But I don’t doubt that English is gaining ground here.

    Why should’t I care about communicating with Swedes? They are people too.

    WTF????

    Yes, in current system we are forced to learn swedish and they are forced to learn finnish.

    Good that you accept this as part of today’s reality. Though you said you’ve gone over it many times, this is in fact the first time that you’ve acknowledged it. And it’s an important point, because your idea that:

    we would NOT be forced to learn swedish and equally swedes would NOT be forced to learn finnish.

    is utterly unrealistic. Clearly citizens of Finland need to study Finnish. I think 99% of Swedish speakers would recognise that fact. But the idea that Swedish speakers would not be ‘forced’ to do this is ludicrous. The educational system has a duty to equip students with the skills they need, including language skills. So, while Swedish speakers understandably have to learn Finnish, the other home language, then Finns having to learn Swedish is some kind of balance in a country where both languages are supposed to have equal status.

    Six years? I read it was three. My mistake.

    But the rub is that Finland is a bilingual nation, and that requires some effort to maintain.

    No, that’s not how it should go. If it requires effort to maintain, then it is itself a proof that it should vanish. If it doesn’t get naturally maintained, then there is no need for it to exists. It’s only natural development that if swedish language would not remain here without extra effort, it would be gone after time.

    And this is where you show that you are at odds with your own Constitution. Of course minority rights have to be maintained. Every modern nation on Earth has legislation specifically designed to protect the rights and identities of it’s minority populations.

    Your idea that it is ‘natural’ for Swedish to disappear is typical Social Darwinism nonsense, where you defend the tyrrany of the majority as if it was something ‘natural’. That’s a disgusting intellectual attitude that reveals you to be quite the bigot!

    And wny do you persist in referring to Finland’s Swedish speakers as ‘Swedes’?

  71. tp1

    WTF????

    What is the problem you are having if I say that I care about Finns being able to communicate with Swedes? Why is this a problem to you? You always just reply nonsense like that and never explain what is your problem?

    It is important that finns and swedes can communicate, but in todays reality we can do that with english, no need for being able to communicate in swedish or finnish.

    Good that you accept this as part of today’s reality. Though you said you’ve gone over it many times, this is in fact the first time that you’ve acknowledged it.

    So why would I have to emphasize in acknowledging something obvious? That would be as stupid as if you expect me to acknowlede here in writing that it’s June now.

    Of course minority rights have to be maintained. Every modern nation on Earth has legislation specifically designed to protect the rights and identities of it’s minority populations. Your idea that it is ‘natural’ for Swedish to disappear is typical Social Darwinism nonsense, where you defend the tyrrany of the majority as if it was something ‘natural’. That’s a disgusting intellectual attitude that reveals you to be quite the bigot!

    And this is why we are not going anywhere with this conversation. You just insist that it’s somehow minority’s right to force us to learn their language. We have bee trying to explain to you that they have their rights but their right can not include something like forcing other people to learn their language. You are just too stubborn to understand that FACT.

    And wny do you persist in referring to Finland’s Swedish speakers as ‘Swedes’?

    It’s quicker to write and everybody knows what it means so what is the problem?

    • Mark

      tp1

      What is the problem you are having if I say that I care about Finns being able to communicate with Swedes? Why is this a problem to you?

      Because what you wrote had no relevance at all to anything I had written. 🙂

      It is important that finns and swedes can communicate, but in todays reality we can do that with english, no need for being able to communicate in swedish or finnish.

      Now I’m not sure who you refer to, ‘Swedes’ in Finland, or Nordic co-operation.

      So why would I have to emphasize in acknowledging something obvious? That would be as stupid as if you expect me to acknowlede here in writing that it’s June now.

      You really have no idea about debating, do you, tp1?! 😀

      My argument from the beginning here has been that with all citizens of Finland having to learn at least one other ‘koti kieli’, then there is equality in that, and this equality is almost never mentioned in this debate. The way you phrase the problem makes this fact completely invisible – Finnish speakers are forced to learn Swedish. And yet the reverse is also true, Swedish speakers are forced to learn Finnish.

      When you then understand that at the individual level, you realise that there is equality in rights in that situation. The talk of numbers and minorities then becomes something of a red herring.

      Clearly, there has to be a good reason to make 80% of a population learn a second language, but when you realise that Finland IS a bilingual country and that the language being learned is that second langauge, then all that talk of being forced to learn another person’s language starts to sound like a forced argument, a twisted argument. And that is exactly what it is. And I tell you this as an outsider with no axe to grind.

      It only took you about 50 posts to finally acknowledge this point, though you still summarise the problem in the same one-sided distorted way.

      Your solution is to say Swedish speakers don’t have to learn Finnsh, but that is just a nonsense to try to keep your argument about ‘fairness’ intact. You know it and I know it, and I’m sure our audience here can clearly see that. You should adopt a different strategy of argument, or, if you want, just keep your head in the sand and make no effort to see the other side of the debate. That seems to be the norm here in Finland particularly about this subject! And you call me stubborn…. 😀

      And this is why we are not going anywhere with this conversation. You just insist that it’s somehow minority’s right to force us to learn their language.

      You insist on presenting the problem in a fixed and biased way. You could equally argue that Finnish speakers (your parents) are ‘forcing’ you to learn their language! Your ‘us and them’ attitude reaks, tp1! Finland is one family, one nation, with ‘two parents’, one who speaks Finnish and one who speaks Swedish. You are learning one language from one parent and the other from the other parent. Think of it like that. It’s not that bloody difficult.

      We have bee trying to explain to you that they have their rights but their right can not include something like forcing other people to learn their language. You are just too stubborn to understand that FACT.

      I’m an intelligent guy who will respond to an intelligent argument tp1. I simply reject outright your claim that it does not affect their rights to equal treatment, and I have given a clear reason for this:

      1) access to national and public life while using their own language

      And this links directly to the Constitutional right for public authorities to likewise ensure that the social and cultural life of Swedish-speakers is on an equal basis as Finnish speakers.

      Any moves that clearly marginalise Swedish as a language interfers with that Constitutional commitment. The problem I have with you is that you have given absolutely NO commitment to protect the rights of Swedish speakers – only that they can speak it if they want, as if that was all there was to it.

      If you are really that naive, then fine. But my guess is that you are simply refusing to give Swedish speakers the respect they deserve. And seeing how little respect you give to me in this debate, a guest, then I can see that in fact, respect ranks low in your list of priorities.

      And yet, this whole argument about the status of Swedish in Finland hinges entirely on respect. Without it, you have hostility and division.

      Fine, Finns will decide, and many will try to bully their way towards a monolinguistic culture, but don’t expect me to see it as anything other than ‘tyrrany of the majority’. And I will not be lectured on democracy by a pip squeek like you while you make no effort to understand even the basics of democratic principles.

  72. Mark

    tp1

    I think this whole attitude of yours can be summed up with the words:

    mä en jaksa!

    On the issue of:

    1) access to national and public life while using their own language

    I would just ask you one question. How much access to the national and public life in Finland would I have if I went around speaking Welsh? The answer is very simple: NONE.

    Welsh is not a language understood by Finns. And for that reason, I would have no access to the national and public life in Finland if I use it.

    How are Swedish speakers supposed to have access to the national and public life in Finland if only a small minority of people understand them when they speak their language?

    The Constitutional commitment is to provide a level playing field in Finland for both languages. The only way to provide this level playing field is for both language groups to have a reasonable knowledge of the other ‘koti kieli’. There is no other way, unless you marginalise Swedish and in fact turn it into no more effective a language on the national stage as Welsh. That means rewriting the Constitution.

    I’m sure in the future that language learning resources will improve. To date, we are not making the best use of software and new technologies, but I think this gap will be filled in the next five years, as mobile and desktop technologies merge further, and net connection becomes ubiquitous (it’s almost there).

    Google translate has given many people a new way of accessing and learning a foreign language, though its results are imprecise. I think the difficulties we now encounter in learning a new language will greatly diminish.

    The time consuming grammar book reading, dictionary look ups, word list memorisation will be made much easier through inline/online instant lookups and dynamic flash card programs that respond to our real-world interactions.

    Finland is a world leader in terms of software technologies and perhaps if just a little bit of this ‘language problem’ angst was diverted into developing better language learning technologies, then we would get past this problem a lot faster. After all, the human mind is wired to be multilingual, and in fact, there appear to be many other positive cognitive spin-offs from that.

    If ‘time’ and ‘effort’ are our greatest enemies in this situation, then efforts should really go into saving time and reducing the effort needed to learn the second language.

    Now doesn’t that sound like a positive approach to the problem 😀

  73. tp1

    From your long post one can still see your key “message”. You want to force Finns to learn swedish only because swedish-speakers have to learn finnish anyway (even if they would not be forced) so by your sick equality point of view you want to force also finnish-speakers to learn swedish.

    I don’t know how you are twisting this in your mind, but that is really your only reason. But based on the fact that you keep on writing long posts it seems like you want to somehow hide this agenda of yours.

    Last time: It doesn’t require ALL finnish citizens to understand swedish to make public services available for swedish-speakers.

    And if for any reason swedish-speaker would like to have a conversation with finnish-speaker, it is his responsibility to learn the language. Same goes vice versa, if finnish-speaker wants to have a discussion with swedish-speaker it is his respobsibility to learn the language.

    Finland is bilingual only on paper, only few cities are really bilingual, which has also being pointed at you several times here.

  74. tp1

    The Constitutional commitment is to provide a level playing field in Finland for both languages. The only way to provide this level playing field is for both language groups to have a reasonable knowledge of the other ‘koti kieli’.

    You really are an idiot 😀 What kind of brains one must have to let something like that come out??? “THE ONLY WAY”

    How can it be ONLY way, while other way is very obvious: LEARN FINNISH!

    And even if learning swedish would be easier the main point still remains: SWEDISH IS AN USELESS LANGUAGE TO LEARN, since it give no gain to the person who learns it, (as long as the person knows english)

    Even your equality point of view is an epic fail: When swedish-speaker in Finland learns finnish, it gives him the access to almost everything. But when finnish-speaker learns swedish, it doesn’t give him access to bascially anything. There goes your equality.

  75. Mark

    tp1

    You really are an idiot 😀 What kind of brains one must have to let something like that come out??? “THE ONLY WAY”

    That’s my opinion, take it or leave it. I really cannot see how Finnish as the only mandatory language in schools is providing an equal playing field.

    And even if learning swedish would be easier the main point still remains: SWEDISH IS AN USELESS LANGUAGE TO LEARN, since it give no gain to the person who learns it, (as long as the person knows english)

    Well, I clearly can’t change your opinion about this, or play up the importance of Swedish to Finland’s history and development. But this is JUST your opinion, and clearly an immature one at that.

    Even your equality point of view is an epic fail: When swedish-speaker in Finland learns finnish, it gives him the access to almost everything. But when finnish-speaker learns swedish, it doesn’t give him access to bascially anything. There goes your equality.

    Well, logically you are on a sticky wicket here, so I can see why you fall back on absolutes like ‘almost everything’ and ‘basically nothing’ to try to give strength to your argument. Doesn’t fool me though.

    Swedish-speaking culture is produced by Swedish speaking people, those same people you were just now telling me that you liked, but here are dismissing as offering ‘basically nothing’ in the way of cultural value to Finland. In terms of quantity, I would imagine that there is simply ‘more’ of the Finnish speaking world in Finland. No argument there, but in terms of ‘quality’, in the sense of reflecting a people, a full cultural world with all its available richness, then I would of course conclude that the Swedish-speaking culture is not LESS than the Finnish speaking culture in Finland.

    Like I said, you give absolutely no respect to Swedis speakers in Finland.

    From your long post one can still see your key “message”. You want to force Finns to learn swedish only because swedish-speakers have to learn finnish anyway (even if they would not be forced) so by your sick equality point of view you want to force also finnish-speakers to learn swedish.

    Yawn, yawn.

    AGAIN you present the issue in only your single-dimensioned self-serving culturally myopic way! I don’t want to ‘force Finns to learn Finnish’, I want Finns to respect the fact they live in a bilingual nation and that learning the other kotikieli is way to preserve that tradition. Of course, if you hark back to some mythic monolingual notion of the Finnish peninsular, then do so, but you are the one lost in pointless idealism if you do. Not only that, but you trample the basic rights of your fellow Finns in the process.

    It is not a sick notion to suggest that in a bilingual country, both languages should be given equal treatment. Hardly ‘sick’, tp1. And as long as you keep presenting this very reasonable point of view as ‘sick’, you merely encourage outsiders to wonder what psychological disturbance is causing such an extreme reaction to a straightforward debate.

    I wouldn’t sum up the issue of the Swedish language as specifically an ‘equality’ issue or a ‘minority’ issue. I think the reality is that there are several strands, but that because this relates very clearly to personal identities and language-based cultural expression, there will in fact be a vast multitude of dimensions and social and cultural phenomena tied up in this issue. Clearly, sticking this issue into any ‘small’ box would be a huge mistake.

    Last time: It doesn’t require ALL finnish citizens to understand swedish to make public services available for swedish-speakers.

    I agree. You have at least worded this in such a way that it is true in part to the Constitutional commitment. But this is only HALF of that commitment. You have offered absolutely NO interpretation whatsoever on what was meant by this part:

    The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.

    Until you address this matter in the Constitution, you are deceiving yourself that you have really addressed the Constitutional question.

    Finland is bilingual only on paper, only few cities are really bilingual, which has also being pointed at you several times here.

    Only on paper? 😀 So, that’s all the Constitution is, a bit of paper. People like you should not be trusted for a second with Finland’s institutions or heritage.

    No, it hasn’t been pointed out to me the levels of bilingualism, but feel free to offer figures. Data I looked at yesterday (see source above) suggested that 78% of Finns lived in officially bilingual municipalities (an 8% minority or at least 3000 Swedish speaking residents), and of the remaining, the majority were in unilingual Swedish speaking communities. Whether this is true or not though, I cannot say.

    However, this Constitutional right is of the ‘universal’ kind, and if you know anything about basic human rights, you will know that there are no ‘exceptions’ to this rule, regardless of the size of a population.

    For example, you have the right to live a life free of persecution from the state. That right doesn’t disappear if you decide you want to be the only person wear a pair of underpants on your head on a daily basis. All people are given the right equally.

    So, stop getting hung up over the numbers, and try and address and understand the question of basic rights!

    There are two things of which you are woefully ignorant – the nature of rights of a minority, and the tension that exists in a democratic state between the expressed democratic will of the majority and the need to protect the rights of a minority and so avoid the ‘tyranny of the majority’. This was a topic that led to a great deal of debate among the early founders of modern democracy and their contemporary philosophers.

    It is a point of issue that you show absolutely no knowledge of or interest in. Someone who is so ignorant of the basic issues of democratic governance cannot for one second be taken as having a credible opinion of issues relating to minorities, especially when they are advocating against the expressed will of that minority to reduce the status of their language on the national stage.

  76. Yossie

    “And yet, this whole argument about the status of Swedish in Finland hinges entirely on respect. Without it, you have hostility and division. ”

    You expect the current situation to actually help swedish speaker to get respect? Really? More like totally opposite.

    You said it yourself: even if “toinen kotimainen” would be voluntary, swedish would “need” to learn finnish in Finland. Why? Because it is useful to do so!

    Now when it comes to Finns choosing their optional second language, you expect them not to choose swedish. Why is that? Do you yourself admit that it is not useful for finns to study? Seems to me you too think its quite useless for finns to study. Else it wouldnt be a problem for you.

    That is what is the bottom line here: Many finns see the mandatory swedish as a useless subject when they could use that time to study a more useful language for them.

    This does not create respect. This does not help widening language skills for finns.

    You refuse to see the situation from our point of view!

    What you gain from mandatory swedish isnt status for swedish language nor is an access for public life. It is status of a laguage that is been opressed to you (This is how we see it, you may argue what you want but this is how many see it). It gives you people who still dont understand you but who will dislike you for talking the language they hated in school.

    • JusticeDemon

      …talking the language they hated in school.

      This is what it all comes down to, and this is why the entire issue is only important to the epähiket, who will always inevitably be under-represented politically.

      The problem for the kids who sit at the back of the classroom giggling and making farting noises is to find ways of convincing their more studious and diligent classmates that this is an important political issue. We have to imagine a brave new world in which the epähiket gain political power, but such worlds tend to come crashing down in chaos and confusion long before the school languages curriculum comes to the debating table.

      Without serious political representation, these complaints remain on the level of those that we hear from small children who refuse to eat their broccoli. It’s some petulant six year-old stamping his feet and yelling won’t!!!

    • Yossie

      Ofcourse JD comes up coming with.. what? comment full of insults and nothing much else. Community standard maybe? Insult those that disagree with you?

    • Mark

      Yossie

      JD makes too much of the link between school achievement and opinions about Swedish, I agree, but while the general feeling about Swedish is negative, the most vocal on the issue are indeed the epähiket.

      Surveys can be very misleading. For example, a majority of people want Finland to remain a bilingual nation, yet a majority also want Swedish to be an elective. This is clearly a case of wanting to have the cake and to eat it too. Maintaining the status of Swedish requires effort by Finnish speakers too.

      I think JD’s point about trying to make this into a political issue is also very much to the point. Why is it such a political issue? Why is it that this issue is tied up strongly with anti-immigration and Finnish nationalism? This fact strongly colours the nature of this debate. JD is right to mention it.

      And really, when you get down to the bare bones, just like you said and JD paraphrased, the whole thing rests on a reluctance to study. And what can you say about that? Really!

      I would say that about 99% of what I learned at school is completely irrelevant to my everyday life – reading and writing being the obvious exceptions. So this argument about it not being useful is pretty lame. And to try to give this lame argument political legitimacy is pretty lame too.

      The truth hurts, mate! 😀

  77. tp1

    That’s my opinion, take it or leave it. I really cannot see how Finnish as the only mandatory language in schools is providing an equal playing field.

    Now you prove yourself of being dishonest. It is clearly said that that would not be the case that only Finnish would be mandatory. So why do you keep on lying about that? Everyone would have mandatory studies on own language, so finnish-speakers would have to study Finnish and swedish-speakers would have to study Swedish.

    NOWHERE HERE ANYONE HAS SUGGESTED THAT ONLY FINNISH WOULD BE MANDATORY.

    STOP LYING MARK!!!

    • JusticeDemon

      And speaking of petulant children stamping their feet… Hey presto!!

  78. Mark

    Yossie

    You expect the current situation to actually help swedish speaker to get respect? Really? More like totally opposite.

    Well, this has been the argument, that mandatory Swedish just makes people feel bad about Swedish speakers. But I don’t buy it. Why? Because I don’t think you solve a relationship problem by trying to make one party to that relationship irrelevant.

    However, there is a clear need on the part of politicians to explain the need for mandatory Finnish. Katainen has merely quoted the Constitution at a rally of his youth party where they voted something like 68% to make Swedish elective. He pointed out that Finland was one nation with two languages, and that was Finland’s history. But clearly many people do not see any value in that. This is a perennial problem for politicians to explain the value of Institutional commitments.

    You said it yourself: even if “toinen kotimainen” would be voluntary, swedish would “need” to learn finnish in Finland. Why? Because it is useful to do so!

    Yossie, your fundamental mistake is to try to reduce the rights of individuals to a matter of ‘utility’. I’ve already said that from a utility point of view, all rare illnesses would not be treated with taxpayer money. Clearly democratic institutions do not operate solely on the issue of utility. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to make them as efficient as possible.

    That is what is the bottom line here: Many finns see the mandatory swedish as a useless subject when they could use that time to study a more useful language for them.

    Fair enough. Clearly it’s a popular view and I’m well aware of that. However, you seem not to realise that indulging this popular view comes at the expense of the minority population. In principle, that should be seriously questioned. The reluctance with which people on the Finnish speaking side of the debate face this issue is frankly worrying. You say I don’t see your point of view. I haven’t seen you or tp1 address my key point in any way. You just keep repeating your own opinions.

    What you gain from mandatory swedish isnt status for swedish language nor is an access for public life. It is status of a laguage that is been opressed to you (This is how we see it, you may argue what you want but this is how many see it). It gives you people who still dont understand you but who will dislike you for talking the language they hated in school.

    Yossie, I accept that this is the situation in Finland regarding this debate. And there is no easy answer. But the debate is entrenched and highly partisan. I’m speaking as an outsider and I’m taking the position that Finland’s populace is failing to properly respect it’s Swedish-speaking minority, even while on paper it has at least made the effort to provide parity between the language groups.

    That kids hate Swedish lessons at school is an issue for the educational establishment. That they also see it as ‘useless’ is also another issue that should be addressed. Is it taught as a standalone language, or is it taught as part of a cultural study of Finland’s heritage? Clearly the fact that Swedish speakers held almost all the political and economic power in Finland’s past has left historical bitterness – but again, trying to diminish the rights of modern-day Swedish-speaking Finns doesn’t seem an appropriate or psychologically healthy response. Clearly, there are unscrupulous politicians that will try to make capital out of these historical divisions and have no thought for the psychological or democratic consequences.

    However, I would say that you are wrong about Swedish speakers not having access to public life. On the political stage, Swedish speakers can address the Parliament in their own language. Also, the Finns I know generally understand a news item in Swedish or a television program in Swedish, even if they hardly ever speak Swedish.

    I still go back to my example of how far would I get in having access to the national and public life of Finland if I spoke Welsh. Clearly speaking Swedish to a population that has studied Swedish at school (whether you hated it or not) is very different to speaking to a population where only 30% have studied Swedish.

    We are not talking about ideals here, but pragmatic realities.

    Yet, the reality is that many Finnish speakers resent learning Swedish, at least when they are young. That should also be borne in mind. Many Finns take a different perspective on their nation as they get older.

    I think the answer is improved language learning. That seems to be the key issue here, and that is much easier to address than historical divisions and tensions between the language communities.

  79. Mark

    tp1

    NOWHERE HERE ANYONE HAS SUGGESTED THAT ONLY FINNISH WOULD BE MANDATORY.

    STOP LYING MARK!!!

    Why are you being hysterical? And calling me a liar is doing nothing to convince me that you are a person of integrity. And again you use that word ‘proof’. 😀 Gosh, no wonder you struggled to learn Swedish.

    What do the Buddhists say, ‘you cannot add anything to a full cup!’

    While this is NOT your suggestion, it is of course the only realistic proposition. To NOT make Finnish mandatory even for Swedish speakers would actually further disenfranchise Swedish speakers from Finnish society, over and above making Swedish an elective subject.

    It is just totally an unrealistic option, and by pushing for it, you only show how ‘out in the sticks’ you are politically and intellectually.

    I think JD’s view is pretty accurate. Except that it’s rather revealing to find that in this country with an internationally lauded educational system, that the ‘back seats of the class’ appear to start already in the second row!

  80. Yossie

    Mark

    “is it taught as part of a cultural study of Finland’s heritage?”

    History is teached in history classes. You dont need advanced language skills for that.

    “Clearly speaking Swedish to a population that has studied Swedish at school (whether you hated it or not) is very different to speaking to a population where only 30% have studied Swedish.”

    Yet all the swedish speaking politician speak finnish when they are adressing their issues (to finnish speakers). They know its no good trying with swedish since it wont be understood. No matter how we have teached swedish in schools.

    “Yet, the reality is that many Finnish speakers resent learning Swedish, at least when they are young. That should also be borne in mind. Many Finns take a different perspective on their nation as they get older”

    Totally opposite for me. I have came to realize I could had used that time to study a much useful language and could be able to talk some wider spoken language. Unfortunately we had to study swedish.

    You think later in life it gets better? To notice in working life there would be great perks for being able to talk german, chinese or russian. To notice that if you want to go as an exchange student to germany, you need to be able to understand german. No, the realities come later in life when you actually notice how useless it has been to study swedish (that is actually a swedish-finns dialect rather than real swedish).

    I´m sorry but not matter how much you would want to, You cant ignore the utility factor.

    “The public authorities shall provide for the cultural and societal needs of the Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking populations of the country on an equal basis.”

    And for this, we have the swedish speaking TV, Radio, university, cultural facilities and so on. They are being taken care of. Swedish has the high status for all this to be delivered to them. It however doesnt mean mandatory swedish. Not even the swedish speakers argue that mandatory swedish would be constitutional matter.

  81. Mark

    Yossie

    History is teached in history classes. You dont need advanced language skills for that.

    Well, with that kind of mentality, I can see how you would run into problems motivating kids to learn.

    Totally opposite for me. I have came to realize I could had used that time to study a much useful language and could be able to talk some wider spoken language.

    What language was that then? I think many of us regret not having studied at least one subject at school, whether through mandatory commitments or just lack of experience of the subjects we did choose.

    To notice in working life there would be great perks for being able to talk german, chinese or russian.

    Perhaps next time around you should be borne to a Chinese immigrant to Finland married to a German whose parents are Russian and living in the same house, all in a rural backwater on the Eastern border. 😀

    I´m sorry but not matter how much you would want to, You cant ignore the utility factor.

    Yossie, I don’t ignore it. I just don’t think it comes down to it. You speak as the member of a language majority – and yet you are demanding change that affects the minority, and not for one second have I seen you trying to take into account their views or concerns. For all your ‘honest sentiments’, there is more to maintaining a nation state than indulging sentiments of likes and dislikes.

    And for this, we have the swedish speaking TV, Radio, university, cultural facilities and so on. They are being taken care of. Swedish has the high status for all this to be delivered to them. It however doesnt mean mandatory swedish.

    Yes, but for how long if it is reduced to the same status as a foreign language in Finland?

    Not even the swedish speakers argue that mandatory swedish would be constitutional matter.

    Well, from what do they argue? For me, it seems clear than in a bilingual nation that language rights are of course a Consititutional matter. The right to deal with the authorities in your own language in areas that have a minimum Swedish speaking population (78% of Finns live in such bilingual municipalities) is not something that can be guaranteed, as it is in the Constitution, without some commitment to creating a pool of Swedish language skills, specifically, among Finnish speakers. It has been said again and again that these things would be ‘taken care of’, but exactly how this would happen is nevertheless ‘left to chance’. You cannot leave something that is a Constitutional guarantee to chance.

    While it’s not a foregone conclusion that elective Swedish would diminish this guarantee, neither is it a foregone conclusion that it won’t.

    For me, the constitutional requirement is also that neither language group is discriminated because of their language, and so a requirement that only asks Swedish speakers to learn the ‘other language’ and does not ask Finnish speakers to also learn the ‘other language’ is fundamentally unfair. It raises the status of one language above the other. And suggestions that Swedish speakers would not have to learn Finnish are ludicrously unrealistic.

    So I can see several issues in the language debate that relate directly to Constitutional commitments. Katainen made direct reference to the Constitution when defending mandatory Swedish, so even if it’s not explicitly talked about as a Constitutional matter, then clearly it is.

    Not only that, but tp1’s position appears to be that Swedish should not have the status of an official language, and if this is the long-term policy of PS and other nationalists, then very clearly it is a Constitutional matter.

  82. tp1

    I would say that about 99% of what I learned at school is completely irrelevant to my everyday life – reading and writing being the obvious exceptions. So this argument about it not being useful is pretty lame. And to try to give this lame argument political legitimacy is pretty lame too. The truth hurts, mate!

    I agree with this. When I was at school I didn’t mind learning swedish. It’s only at later age that I’ve thought about it more and noticed what a waste or resoures it is. And yes, same can be said of many other subjects in school aswell.

    BUT, when a person goes to university to get a degree from a special area, let’s say one goes to study mathematics. He has absolutely no need for biology, history, etc. And he don’t have to study those or take exams to graduate from mathematics. But still he needs to study and pass swedish in order to graduate, even while mathematics has nothing to do with swedish.

    • Mark

      I have said already that the civil service ‘exam’ at university level should probably be unhooked and made a seperate exam for those wishing to enter the Civil Service. In this regard, the exam could be something that one studies for even after getting a civil service job, but a requirement within 1 year of getting the post.

  83. tp1

    Mark, you still haven’t been able to explain how making finnish-speakers to learn swedish is actually making any thing better. Please give even one concrete example how it does anything good for swedish-speakers.

    • Mark

      Well, this is a start. Still, it is a little like the ‘What have the Romans ever given us…’ line. It’s for Swedish speakers to answer this question though, in detail. For me, it clearly puts Swedish on an equal social and cultural footing as Finnish in Finland, and as this is a constitutional commitment, that’s as far as I personally feel compelled to take it. Still, I really don’t imagine that Swedish speakers would struggle to explain that having Swedish as an official language taught to all Finns benefits them and their status, though ‘status’ can be a difficult thing to pin down into specifics. In fact, because you argue that Swedish is useless, you might say that this is already a failure of the system to uphold the status of Finnish, though clearly that failure predates the Constitution and the Language Act of the 70s.

  84. tp1

    And one fact for you all:

    If something has been useful in history, it doesn’t mean in any way that it would be useful today.

    Stop living in history.

    • Mark

      I think that it is unhelpful to keep referring to this debate as if it was one purely about utility. Clearly we are talking about people’s place in society and functioning in society. As someone with direct experience of not being able to function to the fullest extent in my own native tongue in Finland, I can tell you that it has its challenges, the obvious one being ‘living without a voice’.

      Stop ignoring history.

  85. tp1

    Mark

    Yes, but for how long if it is reduced to the same status as a foreign language in Finland?

    WHAT THE FU*K?

    Nobody is reducing anything or even suggesting anything like that. Swedish would still be official language as it has been before. We are only talking about making mandatory swedish lessons in school non-mandatory.

    • Mark

      Okay, that is your position. You must also be aware that many of the critics of mandatory Swedish also question it’s status as an Official Language?

      However, if Swedish is only one choice of several ‘languages’, all of which except Swedish are distinctly ‘foreign’, then I would say that is effectively reducing it to the status of a foreign language.

      It’s interesting to consider the situation in Canada, where admittedly the percentage of French speakers is higher at 33%, but where the tensions have been very similar. The Spicer Commission was asked to look at the issue and among its conclusions was this:

      In spite of real and needed progress in linguistic fair play in federal institutions, a sometimes mechanical, overzealous, and unreasonably costly approach to the policy has led to decisions to that have helped bring it into disrepute. Citizens tell us that bilingual bonuses, costly translation of technical manuals of very limited use, public servants’ low use of hard-acquired French-language training, excessive designation of bilingual jobs, and a sometimes narrow, legalistic approach are sapping a principle which they would otherwise welcome as part of Canada’s basic identity.

      Some interesting thoughts.

  86. tp1

    Not only that, but tp1′s position appears to be that Swedish should not have the status of an official language

    Mark, you are a pathetic liar! I have never said that, I have very clearly said exact opposite. Can’t believe how low can you go.

    • Mark

      tp1

      Polish up on your English, mate.

      I wrote:

      but tp1′s position appears to be that Swedish should not have the status of an official language.

      No lies there, but a tentative expression of what I thought your position was. I’m happy to be corrected, but not happy to once again be called a liar. Stop this nonsense or I shall call the moderators in to look at this behaviour.

  87. tp1

    I have said already that the civil service ‘exam’ at university level should probably be unhooked and made a seperate exam for those wishing to enter the Civil Service. In this regard, the exam could be something that one studies for even after getting a civil service job, but a requirement within 1 year of getting the post.

    That still doesn’t make sense. Not EVERYONE working the civil service need to know swedish.

    • Mark

      Where did I state that it has to be taken by everyone working in the civil service? If I gave that impression, it was unintended. I think that obviously ‘front-line staff’ are the ones who would require the qualification.

  88. tp1

    Well, this is a start. Still, it is a little like the ‘What have the Romans ever given us…’ line. It’s for Swedish speakers to answer this question though, in detail. For me, it clearly puts Swedish on an equal social and cultural footing as Finnish in Finland, and as this is a constitutional commitment, that’s as far as I personally feel compelled to take it. Still, I really don’t imagine that Swedish speakers would struggle to explain that having Swedish as an official language taught to all Finns benefits them and their status, though ‘status’ can be a difficult thing to pin down into specifics. In fact, because you argue that Swedish is useless, you might say that this is already a failure of the system to uphold the status of Finnish, though clearly that failure predates the Constitution and the Language Act of the 70s.

    Can’t believe you wrote so many lines and still failed to give any example. Why did you even reply to that question if you don’t want/can’t answer?

    • Mark

      Because it was a stupid question, is why! Give me a concrete example of people’s right not to be persecuted by the state? Go on, just one concrete example.

      See, not so straightforward is it, trying to demonstrate how a hypothetical right’s violation actually manifests in a world where that violation doesn’t actually currently take place.

      Like I said, if you are serious about this debate, you really should take this point up with Swedish speakers. That has been one of my strongest criticisms of you from the start, that you make no effort to undertand their position. And don’t ask me to do your homework for you!!!!

  89. Yossie

    Mark

    Status of swedish as national language isnt going anywhere! The commitments will be handeled. You dont need everyone to study swedish for that. If by some miracle you wouldnt have enough swedish speaking officials, you can take corrective mesures.

    I see this as finnish speaking people’s matter. It affects us the most as we are the ones that use time for practically nothing. You of all people should understand it is globalized world now and we finns cant get stuck with 2 minor languages.

    • Mark

      I have not suggested that you need everyone to speak Swedish to achieve this aim. In fact, I have been realistic in accepting that Swedish skills will differ greatly from one person to the next. I think the idea is to create a pool of resources, and not to guarantee that everyone can understand everything the others are saying in the other home language.

      I see this as finnish speaking people’s matter. It affects us the most as we are the ones that use time for practically nothing. You of all people should understand it is globalized world now and we finns cant get stuck with 2 minor languages.

      Of course you see it like that – you are part of the majority, and it’s normal to treat your own position as somehow the ‘norm’. But like it or not, you share Finland with Swedish speaking Finns, who are 5% of the total population, and a good deal more than that in specific areas of Finland. You know, I have to smile when you say the commitments will be handled. I’ve often heard people say, don’t worry, it’s sorted, only to find out that it’s a bloody mess and no-one has a plan on how to fix it. But by and by.

      I think that your point about getting stuck with 2 minor languages is a valid point. Clearly the path should be open for a third or even fourth language. Likewise, there must be ways to achieve the right level of priorities, while fulfilling all the necessary commitments. This is not easy in an already burdeoning curriculum, I’m sure. But like I said, these are the challenges of the educational establishment, and looking at those challenges should be the focus first, and not on making Swedish-speaking people feel like they are aliens in their own country.

  90. Yossie

    Mark

    Last I checked, they wanted to burden the curriculum with more swedish rather than focusing to widen the language spectrum.

    Well I´m not holding my breath to expect swedish speakers to care. They are mostly (85% of swedish speakers) bilingual naturally so obviously they have the advantage when they can focus on foreign languages more.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      They are mostly (85% of swedish speakers) bilingual naturally so obviously they have the advantage when they can focus on foreign languages more.

      That seems like a fair point to make when arguing for a more flexible curriculum, but not in itself a reason to ditch Swedish. Also, one can expect both language groups to exercise an element of self-interest, but decision-makers should be above such partisanship.

  91. khr

    Laziness has little to do with it (though the people for whom laziness is the main motivation readily pick up the cause – those, however, usually campaign for English only, rather than two mandatory languages). As native speakers of a tiny obscure language learning other languages is not a Kumbaya thing to us, but a necessity. The kids in school realize this at least to a degree, and they’d prefer languages they think would be the most useful.

    English being the most important trade language today makes it an obvious choice for one of the languages, but if the other one would be anything else than Swedish, the lack of freedom to choose causes bitterness. Telling people to study more languages is not really an option. Simultaneously studying three or more foreign languages takes considerable effort and can be unattainable, particularly if the person in question intends to focus an area other than languages.

    Unlike some claim, Swedish is definitely an useful language to learn. It is not, however, the only useful language, nor it is useful to everyone. In a large part of the country you’re more likely to encounter other languages than Swedish, so it is quite obvious why choosing something else looks like the better option.

    All the mandatory Swedish seems to achieve is teaching some people to hate the language, and some extend the animosity to the speakers as well. To me that does not look like a good way to promote respect for the minority.

  92. Mark

    KHR

    The utility of other languages you describe appears to relate to economic opportunities, and I hardly think that 18 year-olds are thinking about these things. Maybe on that issue, further languages are geared towards the adult-learning market. Alternatively, a lower level of Swedish could be set that is attained at an earlier age before further language options open up. This was the case the in my education, where I completed my French studies at 16 and had the option for new studies thereafter, taking up Spanish and Russian for the first time at University, though I had shown interest in Russian some years before that.

    It’s a long life, and where the interest is there, time is also available to develop language skills well beyond the school years.

    But this looking outwards to Finland’s global relationships overlooks the important matter of internal relationships too. I’m really very suprised at the seeming hostility between these two language groups. I’m really very suprised that the Finnish and English-speaking media are more than happy to trot out historical and fairly negative stereotypes about Swedish-speakers as if they actually had some relevance to the debate. These kinds of ideas tend to be self-affirming.

    Nice to see you acknowledge Swedish as a useful language, but still this doesn’t seem to include any acknowledgement of the cultural value that Swedish speakers add to Finland. That again surprises me.

    I really don’t understand why ‘learning a language’ teaches people to hate it. There is something amiss in that kind of statement. You know, I’m reminded of how some racists use statistics to reinforce existing stereotypes. Is it that Finnish speakers are using the perceived lack of utility of Swedish to reinforce prejudices against Swedish speakers? I mean, can you folks even begin to entertain that as a possibility? Or what about students, do they spend time bonding around the idea that Swedish sucks? I mean, nothing like having a fall-guy to make everyone feel good about themselves!

    It really doesn’t add up, that learning a language seems to systematically lead to such feelings. In fact, it doesn’t figure that 16 year olds would even be thinking about the real-world utility of language learning. I mean kids can hate subjects because they are difficult or boring, but relating them to real-world contexts? Doesn’t strike me as true.

    In fact, tp1’s comments were revealing. He learnt to hate Swedish as an adult.

    And that only emphasises to me the potentially pernicious effects of a party like PS, that feeds into a sense of nationalism (which typically disproportionately attracts young men) by saying things like ‘and remember all those boring Swedish lessons – and how much are you using Swedish now?’ As euphemistically half (or 1 in 4 if you go on rural statistics) of those men are going to be unemployed, it’s not difficult to see that they probably have little use for Swedish. As a fair degree of those nationalists are not going to be highly educated, it’s again easy to see that Swedish is probably going to be of less use than it might.

    But the irony again in your final comment khr is that the abused are in turn blamed for the abuse. A minority is disprespected and it turns out it is really the fault of Swedish teachers? But all this hatred is turned back on Swedish speakers, and they are somehow held accountable for that hatred because ‘they forced us to learn their language’.

    The state creates the obligation, not Swedish speakers. And yet the fact that the ire seems to be directed at the minority suggests there is more to this than merely disguntled students.

    • khr

      The utility of other languages you describe appears to relate to economic opportunities, and I hardly think that 18 year-olds are thinking about these things.

      I don’t know about others, but I was. The studied languages are chosen earlier though, and there the parents have major influence. But at the time of choosing the second language (if there is any choice, that is), the utility comes up anyway. At that time the students are capable of considering it, though obviously lack the experience to fully grasp the situation.

      Nice to see you acknowledge Swedish as a useful language, but still this doesn’t seem to include any acknowledgement of the cultural value that Swedish speakers add to Finland. That again surprises me.

      I considered it too obvious that they do their part to add anything about that.

      I really don’t understand why ‘learning a language’ teaches people to hate it. There is something amiss in that kind of statement.

      It is not the learning itself that promotes hate, but the feeling of wasting time when it could be spent learning something perceived as useful. (This I have gathered mostly from friends who studied compulsory Swedish. I studied it as the first foreign language, and my personal experience about pakkoruotsi is limited to the university. That, indeed, was useless waste of time, and if it feels in any way the same in the elementary school I can symphatize with those who get allergic to the language during that time).

      The state creates the obligation, not Swedish speakers.

      This is correct, and it is indeed wrong to extend the hate towards the Swedish speakers themselves. Partly it may be because RKP pushes strongly for compulsory Swedish, and they are seen as the spokesmen of the language group. RKP really does not represent all the Swedish speakers, and not even all RKP voters agree with them about the language education. Failure to see individuals in the group, again.

  93. Mark

    khr

    It is not the learning itself that promotes hate, but the feeling of wasting time when it could be spent learning something perceived as useful.

    I don’t understand where this feeling of ‘wasting time’ comes from though. When I was at school, I was studying Welsh as the ‘second home language’ and also mandatory French. The issue with Welsh was not unsimilar to Finland and Swedish in being a minority language, though historically it is our native language. Yet the attitude to French was somewhat neutral from what I remember. No-one questioned the utility of French, is what I mean. And yet no-one I knew ever travelled there, and I never remember seeing a Frenchman wandering around West Wales, though I’m sure there must have been some.

    So for me, this idea of ‘wasted time’ appears to have come from somewhere, and I’d be interested to know, because I’m not convinced that this is a natural reaction to having to study mandatory languages at school.

    I can understand how it is a distraction at University level, but not because it is too much work, but because youngsters want as much time to socialise as possible and ‘extra’ work clearly gets in the way.

    I found your comments useful and constructive, khr, by the way!

  94. khr

    Mark, it may be that as a native English speaker you’re looking at languages from a bit different perspective. If you never had studied any other language, you’d still have more solid grasp of a widely needed language than most Finns can ever hope to have, no matter how much effort is made. So there’s not so much pressure for every language to have utility. (I also suppose the pupils were aware that French is a major language, despite never having met a French speaker that far).

    The annoyance at the course at university was not so much about time from socialising, but from the feeling that it was completely useless, but that was something I could be sure I’d never need. Every other course was at least somehow useful for my main subject. I can of course speak only of my own experience about it.

    I’m happy if you have my comments constructive. I decided to register largely because people seemed to talk so much past each other.