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Origin challenged

July 11, 2012
The Mining Journal

To the Journal editor:

The June 24 issue of The Mining Journal carried a report on the recent Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Festival at Presque Isle Park. The article named Finland as one of the Scandinavian countries whose cultures were being celebrated.

Finland today is many things: a modern nation with a thriving democracy and a well developed social welfare system. However, it is not a Scandinavian country, so say the world's dictionaries, including Webster's and the Oxford English Dictionary.

Finland does not qualify as a Scandinavian country because of its linguistic character. Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland) are so named because they speak one of the Germanic group of languages

For its part, Finland is linked linguistically with Hungary and Estonia, which together form the Finno-Ugric family of languages.

This discussion takes us back to the Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, whose title by any standard is a misnomer. As non-Scandinavians,, persons of Finnish heritage occupied a prominent place at the festival, both as performers and as audience members.

Yet the festival title does not reflect this reality, for it assumes that all are Scandinavians. Where the fault lies in this oversight cannot be treated here.

What is of importance is the future festivals and the titles attached to them. Clearly a revised festival name is in order, for reasons of accuracy and fairness. One could do worse than Finno-Scandinavian Midsummer Festival.

Roger Magnuson




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