The platform also shows the differences between candidate and user responses. Users can also browse the candidates’ answers and their language policy promises without even answering the questions. The platform can be used in Finnish and Swedish at kielivaalikone.fi and valkompassomsprak.fi, respectively. The Kielivaalikone project is run by the non-partisan language advocacy group Oma kieli ry – Eget språk rf.
Most of the candidates who answered the Kielivalakone survey are worried about the status of the Finnish language. They believe that all permanent residents of the country should speak Finnish or Swedish, the country’s official languages. Some of the candidates support increasing the use of English as the language of instruction in schools, while others fear that it could lead to a weakening of the status of the Finnish and Swedish languages. Some candidates also claim that the English-only policy of some companies and public institutions discriminates against people who are not fluent in English.
A significant number of candidates support the government tightening up the use of the Finnish and Swedish languages in society. The language election machine platform reveals that 74% of candidates believe that language laws should be fully applied to state-owned companies and agencies. In addition, 62% of respondents would like stricter language regulations instead of deregulation. Many of the candidates who support stricter regulations have also made linguistic political promises on the Kielvaalikone platform to promote the status of the Finnish and Swedish languages.
However, some candidates are skeptical about more regulation. They emphasize the right of companies to use any language in their marketing and customer service activities. 35% of respondents oppose forcing Finnish and Swedish languages on companies and public institutions in favor of English. Despite this, the overwhelming majority of candidates (84%) still consider English-only customer service to be discriminatory.
By Marja AlkioChairman of Oma kieli ry, the country is going in a harmful direction if it continues to provide more and more public services in English, encourages workplaces to switch to English and allows municipalities and educational institutions to freely offer English-language education. Such individual decisions together could lead to a deterioration of the Finnish and Swedish languages, a deterioration in the quality of education, a decrease in work efficiency and the creation of large linguistic minorities that do not have a common language with most Finns.
In summary, it can be stated that the Kielivaalikone project has brought to the fore the language political concerns of parliamentary candidates in Finland. Most of the candidates support the tightening of state regulations to promote the use of the Finnish and Swedish languages in society. However, some candidates are skeptical of increased regulation and emphasize the right of companies to use any language in their marketing and customer service activities. Despite these differences, the Kielivaalikone project has provided a useful forum for Finnish language policy discussions.
Source: The Nordic Page
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