According to authorities such as Wikipedia, nearly six million people in the world speak Finnish today, the native language of Finland and parts of Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Estonia. It is very similar to Swedish and Estonian especially, mostly due to proximity but also due to the similarities and loanwords between the languages. Most people who can understand one language can also speak the other two passably well, although probably not enough to be considered fluent in all three languages.
The two main dialects are Eastern and Western Finnish, although each of the two are similar and in most cases almost undistinguishable except by native speakers. The very few differences have to do with vowels and grammar mostly, but even the most notable differences are considered minor by most experts.
There are a few sub-dialects of each main dialect, including:
- Southern, Middle, and North Ostrobothnian
- Far-Northern, with a separate unique dialect called Meankieli
- Karelian (sometimes considered a separate language)
Each of these sub-dialects also has many sub-dialects of its own, creating a chart of dozens of sub-dialects for the Finnish language. Although many are similar to each other, they have enough differences to be considered separate sub-dialects and even unique languages by linguistic experts.