Langugage and dialect

Åland is a monolingual Swedish-speaking area, unlike the rest of Finland which is bilingual.In practice many people speak or understand some Finnish, but not everyone by a long way. However, most people, in fact nearly all of them, speak English.

Written communications and other material, such as what government authorities send to Åland, have to be in Swedish. Instruction in all schools that receive public funding is in Swedish.

The Åland dialect

It is often thought that Ålanders speak Swedish with the Finnish-Swedish accent in Åland, but the fact is that the dialect as well as vocabulary is actually closer to what is spoken in Uppland in Sweden. It is interesting that Åland’s international contacts have had an effect on the language spoken on the islands, and also English has had an influence.

A typical Ålander expression is: Vemses flicka/pojke är du då? (whose daughter/son are you?), implying that in a small community the persons are identified with the child’s parents.

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