Finnish and Swedish in cooperation

In every field there is cooperation – from business corporations to musical duets. Let’s focus on language cooperation of the Finnish and Swedish languages today.

For over 600 years Swedish was Finland’s official language. This historical fact has, of course, left its mark. Even though Finnish is totally different from Swedish, there are a lot of loan words from the Swedish language – over 4000.

Finnish-Swedish Cooperation

The other way round is a different story. There are few words that have been taken from Finnish to Swedish. What is remarkable is, that most of the Finnish loan words in Swedish are used in slang and among teenagers in Sweden.

For your attention my dear readers, here is a little example of some Finnish words that have been taken into the Swedish language and are widely used nowadays.

Swedish English Finnish
pojke (a boy) poika
känga (a shoe) kenkä
hyvens (good) hyvä,hyvin (slang)
kola (to die) kuolla (slang)

And the other way around – words that have been taken into the Finnish language from Swedish:

Swedish English Finnish
stol (chair) tuoli
strand (beach) ranta
gevär (rifle) kivääri
fånge (prisoner) vanki
gata (street) katu
ost (cheese) juusto
säng (bed) sänky
ämbar (bucket) ämpäri

Apart from these examples of loan nouns, I would like to mention a few verbs that have made their way from Swedish into Finnish:

Swedish English Finnish
vänta (to wait) ventata, venata
satsa (to invest in) satsata
tjäna (to earn) tienata

These loan verbs from Swedish are mostly used in Finnish slang.
Hopefully this short introduction gave you some information and an idea of the similarities between the Swedish and Finnish languages.

Finally I would also like to mention, that Mikael Agricola (the father of the Finnish language), who actually invented written Finnish from scratch and translated the first books (including the New Testament) into Finnish spoke Swedish as his mother tongue.

As you see, there is a tight connection between the Swedish and Finnish languages and if there would not have been, that would be just odd.

For a complete list of words that are identical in Finnish and Swedish (many of which are actually proper nouns), please see the attachment:

Same words in Swedish/Finnish list


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