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Toinen kotimainen kieli

Toinen kotimainen kieli, or derogatorily pakkoruotsi, is the term officially used by Finland's government to refer to Finland-Swedish studied as a foreign language in the schools of Finland. The term literally means "second domestic language". The term toinen kotimainen kieli also refers to the Finnish language, when studied as a foreign language by pupils with Swedish mother tongue. In both cases the mother tongue is counted as the first domestic language.

Swedish is one of the two official languages of Finland, and is spoken as a mother tongue by 5.1% of the population in Mainland-Finland in addition to the autonomous Åland islands, which are monolingually Swedish according to international treaties and Finnish laws.

Swedish teaching for all pupils of the primary education was introduced in the 1970s, until then it had only been required in secondary and tertiary education. Governmental service is, since the end of the 19th century, offered in both domestic languages; therefore employees must be proficient in both Finnish and Swedish. The reform was based on a political ambition to strengthen the ties with the Western world through Scandinavia, and to show that Finland was still a part of the Nordic countries, and not an Eastern Bloc country; but also by a will to improve the social mobility by ensuring that a "wrong" decision on language in the early school years shouldn't become an obstacle for applicants to the Civil Services.

The status of Swedish as an official language in Finland is protected by Finland's Constitution and to some degree supported by international treaties according to which Åland is to remain exclusively Swedophone. The political party representing the Swedish speakers, the Swedish People's Party, has successfully been a minor partner in most Cabinets since Finland's independence.

In the upper secondary general school all the students learn at least two foreign languages, one of which is the other domestic language (Swedish or Finnish). The Finnish speakers take Swedish, and vice versa. Practically all the students took English, either as a compulsory or an optional language; 44 per cent took German and 21 per cent French. [1]