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【芬兰语语法】§2 FINNISH PAST AND PRESENT

时间:2016-11-22来源:互联网 进入芬兰语论坛
核心提示:The size of the population of Finland on 31 December 1997 was 5,147,349persons. The distribution of language speakers, a
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 The size of the population of Finland on 31 December 1997 was 5,147,349
persons. The distribution of language speakers, according to first (native)
language, is given in the table below (source: Statistics Finland, Internet
address http://www.stat.fi/tk/tilsivu.html).
Finnish is the native language of 92.7 per cent of Finland’s population of
5.15 million people. The population also includes a minority group of about
294,000 Swedish-speaking Finns, the Finland Swedes, who are guaranteed
the same basic rights as the Finnish-speaking majority by the country’s
constitution, about 2,000 Sámi-speaking people, 6,000 gypsies (the
number of Romany speakers is not known), about 5,000 deaf people,
whose first language is Finnish sign language, and about a thousand Tatars.
Since the collapse of the Soviet unio, more than 10,000 people belonging
mostly to Finno-Ugric minorities in the west of Russia (especially Ingrians)
1 Up-to-date information in English on the Uralic languages is provided on the Internet pages
http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/sugl/fgrlang.html and http://www.helsinki.fi/~tasalmin/
fu.html.
Introduction 3
have emigrated to Finland. The overall proportion of foreigners resident in
Finland is much smaller than in continental European countries.
Finland is officially a bilingual country, whose national languages are
Finnish and Swedish. Waves of emigration have resulted in large Finnish-
speaking minorities particularly in North America (both the USA and
Canada) and in Sweden. In Sweden today there are approximately 300,000
Finns, i.e. about the same number as there are Swedish-speaking Finns in
Finland.
The earliest archaeological remains unearthed in Finland are from 7,500
BC, but it has not been possible to determine the cultural and language
background of the first inhabitants. There were Finno-Ugric settlements in
Finland as long ago as 4,000 BC. This population incorporated Baltic elements
around 2,000 BC and Germanic elements as early as c. 1,500 BC. The original
population thus formed then absorbed the Baltic Finns from across the Gulf of
Finland about 2,000 years ago. Politically, Finland was a part of Sweden until
1809, and an autonomous Grand Duchy within Tsarist Russia from 1809 to
1917. Finland has been an independent republic since 1917.
During the Swedish period Finnish was very much a secondary language
in official contexts. Its basic public use was in church services and to some
extent in law enforcement. The language of the administration and the
intelligentsia was Swedish. It was not until 1863 that Finnish was decreed to
have equal status with Swedish ‘in all matters directly concerning the
Finnish-speaking population of the country’, to be implemented within a 20-
year period of transition.
The earliest actual texts in Finnish date from the 1540s. The father of
written Finnish is considered to be Mikael Agricola (1510?–1557), the
Bishop of Turku (Åbo), who started the Finnish translation of parts of the
Bible during the Reformation. Some 5,350 of the words used by Agricola are
still used in contemporary Finnish.
Finnish was greatly influenced by Swedish for a long time, especially as
regards its vocabulary, which was quite natural considering that the
authorities were generally Swedish-speaking. Since Turku (Åbo) was the
capital city until 1827, it is understandable that standard Finnish developed
primarily out of south-western dialects. In the nineteenth century there was
increasing influence from eastern Finland, mostly owing to the national epic
Kalevala, the first part of which was published in 1835. The Kalevala is
based on the folk poetry of eastern Finland and Karelia, as collected and
compiled by Elias Lönnrot and others. The Kalevala was an important source
of inspiration for the nineteenth century nationalist movement, whose central
figure was Johan Vilhelm Snellman.
The nationalist movement also had a variety of linguistic effects. Many
language scholars wanted to ‘finnicize’ Finnish by getting rid of Swedish
loan words and a number of grammatical structures borrowed directly from
Swedish.
4 Finnish: An Essential Grammar
Language is not a uniform system: it varies in different ways, for
example in regional dialects. The main dialect areas of Finnish are shown on
the following map.
In the latter half of the twentieth century this traditional picture of dialect
areas has been radically levelled by urbanization, mass education, improved
means of communication and transport, and other societal processes.
However, this book does not deal with regional dialects and their differences.
Instead, we shall be concerned with the official norm of the language,
Standard Finnish, one important variant of which is normal written prose. But
even the standard language is not completely uniform. Its grammatical
structures and also (in spoken Standard Finnish) its pronunciation both vary
slightly depending on the speech situation and a number of other factors. The
standard language spoken in official or formal situations is grammatically
close to the written norm; but colloquial spoken Finnish differs in many ways
from more formal usage in both pronunciation and grammar. The differences
between everyday and more formal Finnish are discussed in more detail in
Chapter 22.
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