The Icelandic language is quite similar to the language of the Vikings. Norse settlers were responsible for bringing to the Iceland in the 9th century. That is why it is also known as the neighboring living language to Old Norse. However, the current digital world is threatening to the existence of Icelandic. In order to know if it’s true or false, let’s have a quick look at the complete information mentioned here in this blog.
As per the latest records, Icelandic is struggling to save its place. However, to know whether this report is right or wrong, we continued collecting the information on the same. Well, we found that there is no solid evidence about the endangering of Icelandic. If we consider the facts, the language is not even termed as threatened or vulnerable. Iceland uses it as their official language. With more than 331,000 native speakers, the language is in demand in some portions of the country. Although this number is comparatively lower to the number of English speakers, the number of people who can speak Icelandic is enough to keep the language safe, as per a famous economist David Clingingsmith.
In addition to this, there are many Icelanders who are still engaged in helping their children learn this language on a priority basis.
So, why the headlines of its endangering came into picture?
Icelandic and the Rise of the Machines (That Speak English Language)
In the recent few years, some kind of inclination towards the English language culture has been noticed among Icelanders. More and more people in the country now want to collect as much knowledge as they can to improve their English. The worldwide popularity of the English language and its complete knowledge availability over the web has created a solid reason why Icelandic people especially Millenials are now much excited to use it for different purposes.
Then, we come about discussing the rise of the machines: GPS systems, Alexa, Google Now, Siri and so on…it has become quite possible today to speak to different kinds of gadgets and get them talk back in English language.
This way the problem comes into the real picture. Till today, it’s not possible to switch your iPhone to Icelandic. There are no possibilities, as of right now, of talking to Siri or to ask Alexa. Mashable suggests that GPS programs are not much capable of suggesting the Icelandic road and place names properly. The Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance (META-NET) states that a very few technologies of today’s advanced world support Icelandic, known as one of the European languages in the world.
What Are the Possibilities of Saving Icelandic Language?
Although many experts have started raising the questions about the safe future of the Icelandic language, its strong presence is evident from the fact that many people still use it to speak in their daily lives and help their children to learn it. Of course, people of the society there want to learn a foreign language, but not at the cost of giving up their native tongue.
An Icelandic teacher Freyja Auðunsdóttir told the Reykjavik Grapevine, “These two things can exist side by side. We have rappers, and stand-up comics, musicians writing their material in Icelandic. And that’s before we talk about television and movies in Icelandic, and there have never been as many books published in Icelandic as there are now.”
Suggestions from the Experts to Protect the Future of Icelandic
Everything has a room for improvement. Let’s we take an example, as per the statement given by Eiríkur Rögnvaldsson to the Grapevine, it’s good for the country people to help immigrants learn how to speak and write the language, saying “We import people to come work in Iceland, and they don’t have the time to learn Icelandic.”
A kind of additional public funding has been initiated to encourage the digital support for the language, saying that 330,000 speakers are not sufficient enough to provider a motivation based on the profit alone.
Yes, the truth is that there is no loss in putting the efforts before the language starts coming in the category of “endangered.”
An adequate language technology ensures the continued existence of a language with a few people who speak it frequently. The usage of the Icelandic language as a viable national language in the developed world makes sure that it will surely meet IT demands. As a conclusion, the language preservation becomes a very easy affair if a proper investment in language technology has been made by the country.
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