Finnish belongs to the Uralian language family which is different from most of the other western European languages. Its speakers number about 6 million.
Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, which is why it is officially bilingual in Finnish and Swedish. However, only 5% of the population speak Swedish as their first language and it is mostly spoken on the western and southern coasts. After 1863, Finnish became the official language and it gradually became more predominant in government and education. It is also one of official languages of the European Union since 1995.
Finnish has 29 characters, A to Z and also Å、 Ä、and Ö; however B・C・F・Q・W・X and Z are hardly used.