Fancy going to the sauna just after a business meeting? Then Finland might be the right place for you to be. Saunas play an important role in the lives of most Finns. It is an experience which is normally shared by family and friends and even business associates. Saunas can be found in most parts of the country. By 2002 there were more than 2 million saunas in the whole country out of which 1.2 million were set up in private apartments.
Written Finnish first appeared in the 16th century. Finland was part of the Swedish empire until 1809 and by 1863 Finnish could be used in official set ups. The language gained official status in 1892.
Finnish is a Finno Urgic language that is spoken by approximately 5 million people. Finnish speakers can be found in Sweden Russia, Canada, Norway, Estonia and Finland. Finnish has borrowed a lot of words from other languages such as German, Russian, English and Swedish. Due to the fact that English is widely spoken, some Finnish companies such as Nokia have chosen to use English as their corporate language. Spoken Finnish is heavily influenced by written Finnish and you will most likely hear people speak polished Finnish in formal set ups. There are two dialects: the Eastern dialect and the Western dialect. The two dialects are mutually intelligible. The pronunciation of most Finnish words closely follows the spellings. To avoid seeming a little abrupt when you are conversing, make sure to speak in a pleasant and low tone. The Finnish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet.
There are two official languages that are spoken in Finland: Finnish and Swedish. A large majority of the population are well conversant with Finnish. Swedish is spoken by 6% of the population, most of whom live in the south western part of the country. Sami is also a minority language that is spoken by approximately 2,000 people who live in the northern part of Finland. Finns are normally very polite in their conversations. They are humble and tend to downplay their own accomplishments.