Karelian language in Finland officially acknowledged

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Fri Nov 27 15:17:04 UTC 2009

Dear All,

the Finnish government has now acknowledged Karelian as a minority language
in Finland. This means a position comparable with, for instance, Romani,
Tatar and the Finnish Sign Language: the European convention on regional and
minority languages will be applied to Karelian in Finland as well. In
practice, this means that projects for the revitalization of Karelian in
Finland can apply for state funding.

It has been estimated that there are roughly 5000 Karelian speakers in
Finland, practically all of them bi- or multilingual. However, Karelian has
never before been officially recognized as a separate language, and the
post-war evacuee and refugee generations of Karelian speakers in Finland
were subject to linguistic discrimination and forceful assimilation
policies, for instance, in the school system. This year, a new professor's
post for Karelian has come into being at the University of Joensuu, and in
Nurmes, the first Karelian-language daycare home has been opened.

Link to YLE news release in Finnish:

Best wishes, and congratulations to all Karelians and friends of Karelians

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und
Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL) | Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Universitätscampus Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 4277 43019 | Fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at | http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/

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