Well, about 5% of the population in Finland speaks Swedish as their first and native language.
Åland even has a special self-governing status within Finland, and the Islands are exclusively Swedish-speaking. The concept of being a citizen of the self governing Åland islands is called åländsk hembygdsrätt, and its purpose is to preserve the cultural and linguistic identity of the people of Åland.
By law, you may not qualify for åländsk hembygsrätt unless you can prove that you speak Swedish. And without it, you may not own a house or run business on Åland. They're quite fierce and proud about resisting being dominated by the Finnish majority.
In a few other parts of the Finnish mainland, mainly coastal areas in the west and southwest, Swedish is spoken as a first language by a significant minority of the population.
There are also several towns and municipalities in the west coast and some on the southern coast too where the Swedish speaking population is actually the majority. Especially in the archipelago sea where most of the areas are monolingual Swedish. It should also be remembered that Finland is a bilingual state where Swedish is an official language, and has the exact same legal status as Finnish, which also means that it is mandatory for everyone to study Swedish in school.
After the first world war, there was quite some nationalist sentiment in Sweden regarding Åland. Also, a local inofficial referendum provided overwhelming support for Åland becoming a part of Sweden. Sweden petitioned the League of Nations to settle the dispute of whether Åland should be Finnish or Swedish, and the League decided in favour of Finland, and Sweden then dropped the claim for good.
If only all the conflicts of the world would be as peaceful as the Åland conflict, with respecting the local identity!
We've been told by a lot of users that in is the best choice here because the Åland islands are "a policitcal entity or territory" as per this definition:
- on when referring to the island as a geologic or geographic feature: the roads on Hokkaido; the seed vault on Svalbard
- in when referring to a political entity or territory: the schools in Iceland; mobile phone service in Tasmania
Both are obviously accepted answers though.
The point is usually to have the most accurate translation possible as far as I am aware, with more idiomatic ones being preferred if possible. "Man" translates to "one" here, and this is the most literal way to say the sentence to help people learn how to use the word "man", as it is used way more in Swedish than the corresponding word in English. I would also argue it is just as idiomatic as saying "Swedish is spoken", but that is just my opinion. :)
But "In the Åland Islands one speaks Swedish" is not a proper English sentence either: it's not actually ungrammatical, but no native speaker of English would say it, and I would certainly not accept it from a learner. This translation might suggest, to somebody who didn't know better, that "På Åland talar man svenska" is as outlandish in Swedish as "In the Åland Islands one speaks Swedish" is in English. Where some languages (French and German as well as Swedish, for example) use an impersonal pronoun, English uses a different construction: a personal pronoun in some cases ("they speak Swedish" would do perfectly well here) or a passive verb - that is the lesson here, and an unidiomatic English sentence is not the best way to put it across.
Just a last couple of points - I didn't say either that the impersonal "one" was NEVER used in English or that the sentence was ungrammatical: only that I can't imagine any native speaker saying "In the Aland islands one speaks Swedish" and that I would correct any learner who said it. (Incidentally, one of my sons has a Swedish partner, and she is VERY prone to overuse "one" in her English.) Hej da!
I'm sorry, but this is just not true. I am a native English speaker :) . The sentence makes sense, and I have often seen people use the impersonal pronoun in poetry and similar situations. The "in" instead of "on" does sound a bit off putting, but is correct as the islands are also a political entity within Finland. I do agree that using "one" is much less frequent in English, but to say that it is never used is unreasonable in my opinion. That's neither here nor there, though, as this course is to teach Swedish, not English. The sentence is not grammatically incorrect in any way I can see, and I don't think phrasing it with "they" or a passive verb would make it any better for learners. I think it would do quite the opposite, to be honest. You seem quite resolute in this, though, so I would say let's agree to disagree. :)
Because that's what they are in fact called in Swedish and English respectively. It's not nitpicking as much as using the common terms. As for skärgården, it's considered too close to the mainland and too small to count as islands in the Baltic Sea the way Åland, Gotland, Öland and Rügen do.