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Two practically unusable languages represent quite the handicap, writes Osmo Soininvaara (Greens), a councillor for the City of Helsinki and a former Member of the Parliament. Osmo Soininvaara (Greens), a councillor for the City of Helsinki and a former Member of the Parliament, estimates that Finland has always been at a disadvantage in the international markets because of its restricted language area.

He believes the disadvantage has widened as the significance of engineering expertise, which was previously the bedrock of the successes of Finland, has diminished.

“Succeeding from beyond the language barrier is difficult,” Soininvaara writes in a recent blog entry.

“Our restricted language area provides a rather narrow basis for content production. Those speaking English as their mother tongue have quite the head start. Those speaking other world languages [as their mother tongue] are at an advantage because will they know two world languages after learning English; Finns will only know one,” he argues.

Finns, Soininvaara adds, study another “practically equally unusable language” for reasons related to “domestic politics”.

“Our two languages represent quite the handicap. Our linguistic isolation is partly a reason for our poor knowledge of other cultures, failure to develop networks and failure to succeed in the global markets,” he claims.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Petteri Paalasmaa / Uusi Suomi
Source: Uusi Suomi

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