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Pyhä Raamattu 1992. Suomen Pipliaseura, Mikkeli.
Rapola 1933: Suomen kirjakielen historia I. SKS, Helsinki.
Rapola, Martti 1947: Johdatus suomen murteisiin. Tietolipas 4. SKS, Helsinki.
Rapola, Martti 1962: Vanha kirjasuomi. Tietolipas 1. SKS, Helsinki.
Rapola, Martti 1965: Suomen kirjakielen historia I. SKS, Helsinki.
Rapola, Martti 1966: Suomen kielen äännehistorian luennot. SKS, Helsinki.
Rapola, Martti 1968: Vanhan kirjasuomen lukemisto. SKS, Tampere.
The development of Finnish orthography in the 16-17
This paper discusses how the spelling system of the Finnish language
evolved and developed in the 16
and 17
centuries. The introductory passages
describe the circumstances and difficulties in which written Finnish evolved.
The first Finnish texts were published in Stockholm in the middle of the 16
century, since the first Finnish printing press was opened only in the 1600s,
owing to the development of education and to the Reformation. The spelling
of texts printed in foreign linguistic environment, thus, was rather inconsistent,
following foreign spelling practices. The first section of the essay discusses
the orthography of this period – the era of Agricola and his contemporaries:
Hemminki, Sorolainen and Jaakko Finno.
The second part describes the spelling of the 1642 Finnish Bible, the first
unabridged Bible in Finnish, representing a milestone in the evolution of
orthography. A great part of the translators’ work was the standardization of
spelling rules, and it is clearly observable from the analysis and the examples
that Finnish orthography had became more consistent and settled by this
A separate short section is reserved for the description of the voiced pala-
tal and dental fricatives, and the voiceless pair of the latter. These sounds do
not occur in present-day Hungarian anymore, but have affected the language.
They occurred mainly in consonant-clusters and were transcribed in several
different ways.
Spelling and transcription practices are illustrated with contemporary
examples. At the end of the paper, various versions of the Lord’s Prayer from
the 16
and 17
centuries are also included, in which one can observe the or-
thographical peculiarities discussed in the rest of the paper.