Sunday, February 25, 2024

What Is Iceland’s Language

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English As A Global Language

The Enigmatic ICELANDIC Language

English has ceased to be an “English language” in the sense of belonging only to people who are ethnically . Use of English is growing country-by-country internally and for international communication. Most people learn English for practical rather than ideological reasons. Many speakers of English in Africa have become part of an “Afro-Saxon” language community that unites Africans from different countries.

Modern English, sometimes described as the first global , is also regarded as the first . English is the world’s most widely used language in newspaper publishing, book publishing, international telecommunications, scientific publishing, international trade, mass entertainment, and diplomacy. English is, by international treaty, the basis for the required and Airspeak, used as of seafaring and aviation. English used to have parity with French and German in scientific research, but now it dominates that field. It achieved parity with as a language of diplomacy at the negotiations in 1919. By the time of the foundation of the at the end of , English had become pre-eminent and is now the main worldwide language of diplomacy and international relations. It is one of six official languages of the United Nations. Many other worldwide international organisations, including the , specify English as a working language or official language of the organisation.

Curious Fact : Icelanders Rarely Have Surnames

An individualâs name in Iceland does not reflect their historical family lineage. Rather, it indicates who is the immediate father or mother.

The fatherâs first name is used as the base for the childâs last name. If Kjartan Thorirsson and Sigurbjörn Thorvalddóttir were to have two children, Hrefna and Finnur, their names would respectively be Hrefna Kjartandóttir and Finnur Kjartansson. This would translate to âdaughter of Kjartanâ and âson of Kjartanâ. The patronymic naming system is the most common form used in Iceland, as per tradition. However due to gender equality, these days there is nothing stopping Icelandic parents from naming their children after the mother.

Unlike the Western tradition of merging names when married, Icelanders keep their original names. They couldnât take their spouseâs last name, as it would indicate that they had become someone elseâs direct son or daughter, which of course wouldnât make any sense!

After having given birth, Icelanders often donât name their children straight away. Rather, they wait for a certain period of time, to see how their childâs personality develops. In the meantime, they call the child Stúlka if itâs a girl or Drengur for boy.

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Is The Icelandic Language Going Extinct

There is a real reason to be worried that it might. Icelandic is spoken today by barely 340,000 people and the helpful little voices on your mobile or digital servers are not amongst them. Unfortunately, at least now, there is no Icelandic-speaking Siri or Alexa.

BUT then again the Icelandic language has survived major foreign influences before, dont forget Iceland was once ruled by the Norwegian and even in the 19th century by the Danish and still managed to keep their language pure. However, with such a small nation and a small group of people speaking the language we can easily make changes, quickly. This can be both good and bad.

Good: If we need to make up a word for a new thing that has come along we actually can and it will get widely spread in a short amount of time.

Bad: If a new foreign word gets into the language it quickly spreads and gets stuck in the language very easily.

Most say though that at this point Icelandic is most likely to survive but in order to do so they have to increase its presence in the digital world, but this has, like I mentioned before, already been addressed and measures are being taken to do so!

This topic has been addressed recently in an article published in the Guardian. Were they go further into the meaning of digital extinction.

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Whats Up With All Of These Long Icelandic Words Like Eyjafjallajokull

Eyjafjallajokull, Þingvellir, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Jokulsargljufur, Egilsstaoir, and Fjaorargljufur are a few of the difficult Icelandic words youre likely to come across when traveling in Iceland.

All of these words are combined words.

Let’s break down Eyjafjallajokull, probably the most internationally known Icelandic volcano after the 2010 eruption. This word consists of three separate words: eyja , fjall , and jokull .

So the daunting task of pronouncing Eyjafjallajökull is a little easier when you break it down, just as Islandmountainglacier would look like a tricky word to say if it were a single English word though its okay when its three separate words.

Þingvellir is composed of the words þing and vellir .

Kirkjubæjarklaustur is a combination of kirkja , the possessive form of bær , and klaustur = ChurchTownsConvent.

Jökulsárgljúfur is three words, the possessive form of jökull , the possessive form of á , and the word gljúfur . GlaciersRiversCanyon.

The town Egilsstaðir in the East of Iceland means Egils place, and Egill is a man’s name.

Finally, Fjaðrárgljúfur means FeatherRiverCanyon.

As you can see, most place names in Iceland are very see-through. Eyjafjallajökull is indeed a glacier on a mountain on an island. The parliament used to gather at the fields of Þingvellir. And there used to be a convent at Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

The Iceland Peoples Proficiency In Other Languages

Icelandic pronunciation

Despite a few minority languages and the main Icelandic language, you must be considering Iceland a monolingual country. However, it is not true. Iceland is a multilingual country. The majority of its population speaks English and Scandinavian languages because they are taught in schools.

Iceland is also providing many economical study programs in English and Scandinavian countries. Therefore, the knowledge of both languages is excellent. Icelandic people are taught other languages in schools like French, Spanish, and German.

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How To Pronounce Eyjafjallajkull

When the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, the entire world noticed, mainly because international flights were halted. Im not going into details about that eruption.

However, one of the most entertaining things to come from that eruption was how news reporters and tourists butchered the pronunciation of the volcano: EYJA-FJALLA-JOKULL. There are some great examples in the videos below.

But is it that hard to speak Icelandic? I dont think so, and I want to break it down for you as best as possible. I will only be translating between Icelandic and English and providing examples in these two languages.

How Is Teenage Life In Iceland Culture

The life of a young adult to a teenager involves being a self-sufficient individual. Housework is shared by the entire family, and kids are expected to clean their bedroom, vacuum, sweep, change the linen, do the laundry, cook, and clean.

Independence and free-thinking are a large part of a teenagers life in Iceland. They often have plenty of time to pursue hobbies such as hiking, reading, extracurriculars, and chess, which is quite popular in Iceland.

Since school is such a big part of the life of a teenager, their typical relationship with their teachers is highly influential. It is typically casual and friendly since the academic atmosphere is one of support that encourages creativity. There are often a plethora of clubs in schools based around the arts and activities, such as photography, radio, mountaineering, and even cooking.

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Why Icelandic Has Become Popular

In recent years, learning Icelandic has become popular among foreigners. According to the major language institution at the University of Iceland Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies more and more applications from people around the world are being received. Icelanders are intrigued by the increasing popularity of their native language, which they know is not an easy one for foreigners to learn.

The general interest toward this Nordic island nation has boomed since the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in 2010.

Since then, Iceland has welcomed millions of visitors each year. This is exceptional, considering the country has such a small population. As a side effect of tourism, Icelands language and culture have become the center of attention. Also, the popularity of Icelandic might simply be because its a beautiful language once you come to master it.

Legal Status And Recognition

WIKITONGUES: Ljóni speaking Icelandic

According to an act passed by the Parliament in 2011, Icelandic is “the national language of the Icelandic people and the official language in Iceland” moreover, “ublic authorities shall ensure that its use is possible in all areas of Icelandic society”.

Iceland is a member of the Nordic Council, a forum for co-operation between the Nordic countries, but the council uses only Danish, Norwegian and Swedish as its working languages . Under the Nordic Language Convention, since 1987 Icelandic citizens have had the right to use Icelandic when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries, without becoming liable for any interpretation or translation costs. The convention covers visits to hospitals, job centres, the police and social security offices. It does not have much effect since it is not very well known, and because those Icelanders not proficient in the other Scandinavian languages often have a sufficient grasp of English to communicate with institutions in that language . The Nordic countries have committed to providing services in various languages to each other’s citizens, but this does not amount to any absolute rights being granted, except as regards criminal and court matters.

Icelandic has very minor dialectal differences phonetically. The language has both monophthongs and diphthongs, and consonants can be voiced or unvoiced.


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Curious Fact : Icelandic Was Only Named As The Official Language Of Iceland In 2011

Despite Icelandâs geographical isolation, many languages have been spoken there since this country was first discovered. Although the recorded history of Iceland began with the arrival of Viking explorers, largely from Norway in the late 9th century, there is archaeological evidence that indicates Gaelic monks had settled in Iceland well before then.

Icelandic prevailed over the centuries, despite initially absorbing many features of the Gaelic language. German, English, Dutch, French and Basque were introduced, due to the advent of northern trade routes, with some merchants and clergymen settling in Iceland. Icelandic was also threatened during the Danish reign. It was around the 18th century that a push for language purity began, which is ongoing today.

Although Icelandic has been the national language of Iceland throughout the countryâs history, it only became the âofficial languageâ by virtue of Act No 61/2011, which was adopted by the countryâs parliament in 2011.

Icelandic Sign Language was also recognised that same year and became the first and official language of the countryâs deaf community.

Australia And New Zealand

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Since 1788, English has been spoken in , and has developed as a first language of the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Australian continent, its standard accent being . The has to a lesser degree become an influential standard variety of the language. Australian and New Zealand English are each other’s closest relatives with few differentiating characteristics, followed by and the English of southeastern England, all of which have similarly non-rhotic accents, aside from some accents in the of New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand English stand out for their innovative vowels: many short vowels are fronted or raised, whereas many long vowels have diphthongised. Australian English also has a contrast between long and short vowels, not found in most other varieties. Australian English grammar aligns closely to British and American English like American English, collective plural subjects take on a singular verb . New Zealand English uses front vowels that are often even higher than in Australian English.

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Africa The Caribbean And South Asia

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English is spoken widely in southern Africa and is an official or co-official language in several countries. In , English has been spoken since 1820, co-existing with and various African languages such as the and . Today, about 9 percent of the South African population speaks as a first language. SAE is a non-rhotic variety, which tends to follow RP as a norm. It is alone among non-rhotic varieties in lacking intrusive r. There are different L2 varieties that differ based on the native language of the speakers. Most phonological differences from RP are in the vowels. Consonant differences include the tendency to pronounce /p, t, t, k/ without aspiration , while r is often pronounced as a flap instead of as the more common fricative.

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Nigerian English is a spoken in . It is based on British English, but in recent years, because of influence from the United States, some words of American English origin have made it into Nigerian English. Additionally, some new words and collocations have emerged from the language, which come from the need to express concepts specific to the culture of the nation . Over 150 million Nigerians speak English.

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Curious Facts You Never Knew About Icelandic

Ancient Icelandic Alphabet â Oppidan Library

Benny Lewis

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There are an estimated 350,000 Icelandic speakers in the world, largely comprised by the 323,000-odd people that live in the country of Iceland. Around as many people live in Iceland as live in Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland.

Doing the maths, just 0.005% of the seven billion people on this globe speak Icelandic. As far as world languages go, itâs safe to say that Icelandâs native language is a small player.

However, the history of Icelandic is one that would definitely ignite the interest of linguists anywhere.

Many archaic languages have died out due to outside influence, the corruption of other languages, inability to keep up with modern topics, or lack of cultural interest within a nation.

Although the number of Icelandic speakers is declining, the fact that it has remained, more or less untouched since medieval times and continues to be spoken at all, means there is probably little cause for concern in this century at least⦠and much for celebration.

Icelandic is an endlessly intriguing language for several little known reasons. Read on to discover why!

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Whats Special About The Icelandic Language

Icelandic is an ancient language that hasnt changed much throughout the centuries. New Icelandic words are frequently invented, and, in theory, anyone can create a new word. A special word committee makes up new words for every new invention or slang thats thrown our way. Some words have gained more popularity and are now used in everyday speech, while others dont fare as well.

Although many languages use the same root of a word for new inventions , Iceland is determined to make its own unique words for every word there is.

Many stable words such as land = land, vín = wine, hús = house, and glas = glass are similar and easy to learn. On the other hand, newer words such as tölva , sjónvarp , or rafmagn are very different from one another.

The word for computer, tölva is a combination of the old term völva and the T from the word tala . So, essentially, computer is numeric teller in Icelandic.

The word sjónvarp is composed of the words sjón and varp . Rafmagn is composed of raf and magn . So many words make total sense when you know the individual words within them, such as ísskápur or frystikista .

Different Foreign Languages Spoken In Iceland

Icelandic has survived for many years. As a Gaelic language, it retained its linguistic homogeny for a long time. However, due to the prevalence of Northern trade routes, the linguistic environment is changing a little bit.

The merchants, traders, and clergymen came up with German, Dutch, French, English, and Basque in Iceland. Swedish and Danish are not considered foreign languages as they are geographically spoken near Eastern Scandinavia.

Iceland is an inhabitant of around 332,529 people. Approximately 93.2% of that population speaks Icelandic. Apart from language purism in the country, Icelanders understand the importance of global and foreign languages.

You will be amazed to know that different Scandinavian languages and English are mandatory in the Icelandic education system. Danish is spoken in Iceland because of its historical ties with Iceland.

Therefore, at present, there are 0.31% of the total population that speaks Danish. English is given importance because of its global importance. Approximately 0.39% of Icelandic inhabitants speak English.

German is the third most spoken language in Iceland. The largest minority community in Iceland is the Polish community. Around 2.71% of people in Iceland speak Polish

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What Are The Native Languages Of Iceland

The native language for Icelands early settlers was Gaelic. Despite Icelandic and Norse languages being prevalent in the area, Northern Trade Routes impacted the language development in Iceland, bringing English, Dutch, German, French, and Basque to the country. The influence of these new languages is mainly due to merchants and clergymen settling in Iceland.

Is English Spoken In Iceland

The Icelandic Language “digital extinction” ?

Icelandic isn’t the only language spoken in Iceland.

People in Iceland speak English extremely well. In fact, the only people you’ll find who don’t really speak English are part of the older generation. English has become the global lingua franca, which means many children are required to study it as part of their compulsory schooling. Iceland is no exception, and English studies are mandatory for students as part of their curriculum.

Additionally, TV shows and movies are shown in English with Icelandic subtitles rather than being dubbed. This helps Icelanders not only have a pretty good ear for the language but also have easily understandable accents.

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The Icelandic Language Is Popular

Im a big fan of the Icelandic language and think its enjoyable to speak. Icelanders are very proud of their language, and indeed theres a 100 percent literacy rate in the country.

Theres also an endless amount of Icelandic books to discover. According to statistics, one in every five Icelanders will write a book in their lifetime. Before every Christmas, theres a surge of new books being released, and this rush is aptly named jolabokarflod or YuleBookFlood.

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