When the great festivals of the year are left behind, Lithuania welcomes the true winter. And we, in turn, are going to the place where the winters are especially cold and the summers are hot and short, where the sun stays in the sky for 73 days and where people can watch the Northern lights. Yes, this is Finland – the country of white summer nights and polar nights.
We stick on our monthly tradition and start with the Finnish language (Finnish – suomi), which is called one of the most unique languages in Europe. It is an official language in Finland and has the status of an official language of minority in Sweden (mostly the province of Norrbotten). Finnish is also spoken in Estonia, Norway (county of Finmark), neighbourhoods of Saint Petersburg, Karelia and some parts of Siberia and North America. It is suggested that Finnish is spoken by about 6 million people around the world.
Finnish is a member of the Finno-Ugric language group and only has Estonian and Hungarian as its relatives. This language does not include many international words, nevertheless it there is a little more than 1 per cent of words of the Baltic origin. Their formation was influenced by the process of evolution in order to name the newly invented things, such as: silta (bridge), ratas (wheel), pirtti (bath), ruis (rye), vaha (vax), laiva (boat, ship), etc. Some interesting equivalents: vasara (hammer), kurkku (cucumber), kakku (cake).
This language is an advantage for those who are tired of the spelling peculiarities of some languages, for example, English – in Finnish sounds are pronounced almost in the same way as they appear in writing, and it is common form words to have more vowels than consonants. Very often Finnish may surprise with its extremely long words. This is influenced by word formation – in Finnish, new words are formed by joining the existing words, e.g. nouns with adjectives, with the possibility to join 3 or even more words together. It is interesting that the Finnish language does not include the category of gender, future tense and the verb "have", despite this, the language has even 15 cases and 6 of them are locative cases.
The two corner stones of the basics of the Finnish culture are literature and music (whereas Finnish art and architecture started developing only in the Middle Ages). Meanwhile traditions of the Finnish folk music reach thousands of years as the folk music (which is also called The Kalevala Music) has been transferred from one generation to another. In present days Finland has become a well-known country of rock music, as this is the homeland of the whole bunch of star singers, including Lordi, Apocalyptica, Nightwish, The Rasmus, HIM etc. Oral folk poetry which is full of pagan motives of the Finnish mythology developed in parallel with the Finnish folk music. Christening of Finland, which took place in the 13th century also affected many cultural changes in Finland. Christening led the religious European music and Latin texts of preaches to the country. It is supposed that these texts mark the beginning of the Finnish literature, although the first texts in Finnish appeared in the 16th century together with the wave of Reformation in Europe. Finnish literature today is a full part of history of the European literature: it includes world famous writers as Tove Jansson – the author of the characters of Moomintroll, novelist Mika Waltari and Frans Eemil Sillanpää – the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.