Originally Posted by Exordes
I think the popularity of the English language is based on many cultural things rather than being just another school subject. For instance in Finland all the foreign films and tv-series are subtitled, and we have accustomed to hear English and some other foreign language on the daily base. Only some animation films that are made mainly for little children are dubbed in Finnish. I originally interested in English when I tried to figure out English music lyrics that were sung by classic rock bands. Besides computer programmes are usually as easy to use in English or in Finnish, and English paperback books are usually cheaper than Finnish translations.
When you live a small country like Finland, you know that most of foreigners probably don't understand Finnish. Then English is a very useful lingua franca if I need to talk with a Swede, a Russian or a Chinese. Only Esthonian language is relatively close to Finnish, and there are also lots of Finnish immigrants in Sweden. I have studied some Swedish and German too but they much weaker languages to me.
German as a language is very logical to pronounce and e.g. the German u-umlaut Ü is pronounce in the same way as the Finnish letter Y, and there is a letter Ö as the last letter in Finnish alphabeth. Like in the names of F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen or tennis player Julia Görges. But the German grammar is more complicated comparing to English, e.,g. because a division of nouns and pronouns as masculine (der), feminine (die) and neuter (das). Like die Bundeskanzlerin, der Wagen, das Auto, etc.
Well I guess in Finland you don't get everything made to suit your needs (in Finnish), thus you are kind of forced to learn some English.
I think in this country we just have this arrogant belief that there is no need to learn languages, because they know we can rely on others to speak our language. Obviously this belief is very lazy, but there is no real pressure to learn languages here. Another language is a life skill I would love to have, my language skills right now are basically I know key words (which is somewhat handy for restaurants and the like), but have no idea about sentence construction.