The Finnish government must take urgent action to draft a national language policy programme, demands the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus).
The Finnish Language Board of Kotus stated on 26 October that both Finnish and Swedish are under serious threat as their social position and scope of use are being undermined by lexical borrowing and other influences from foreign languages.
Finnish, it reminds, has developed into a functional language that is used in all sectors of the society as a result of determined efforts over the past two centuries.
The threat arises partly from the internet, according to the Finnish Language Board. It points out that a considerable share of the public live in a textual world where the influence of English is growing at the expense of that of Finnish and Swedish.
“We are close to a situation where we will have to make a concrete decision about whether we want to hold on to our mother tongue or whether we are prepared to abandon it in favour of another language – first only in certain areas of life but gradually more and more extensively,” said the Finnish Language Board.
“The trend is already underway and we should respond to it based on carefully collected data and the broad understanding at our disposal.”
Established under the Ministry of Education and Culture, Kotus is an expert institute tasked with compiling dictionaries, providing a variety of language-related services, and maintaining and developing archives and corpora, for example.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi