Migrants’ experiences of learning Icelandic and Faroese

Migrants’ experiences of learning Icelandic and Faroese

What might it be like to move to an island in the North-Atlantic and become acquainted with a language spoken by a relatively small community? In a new open access article published in NJMR (Nordic Journal of Migration Research) Lara Hoffmann, doctoral student at the University of Akureyri and Elisabeth Holm at the University of the Faroes, compare immigrants’ experiences of learning Icelandic and Faroese.

The main conclusions of the research indicate that the prevailing ideology of a language, for example linguistic purity and authenticity may pose constraints on the learning process of students who are initially motivated to learn the language. The conclusions also suggest that many immigrants follow a utilitarian approach to language study and that opportunities to learn languages are lacking both in Iceland and in the Faroes.

The cooperation between Iceland and the Faroes provides a useful insight, since mobility between both countries has increased and the languages are similar. It is, therefore, of special interest to compare the situation regarding language study and language teaching in both countries.

Read the article in Nordic Journal of Migration Research

A seminar on immigrants and the Icelandic language

In this connection we wish to point out the seminar Interculturality in Akureyri – Immigrants and Icelandic. The aim of the seminar is to initiate the dialogue on what is being done in Akureyri to improve immigrants’ performance in Icelandic. The discussion will also focus on what can be done to encourage immigrants and enable them to actively participate in the community.

The seminar is conducted under the auspices of the Akureyri Academy and Akureyri Municipality and is located at Hamrar, Hof Cultural and Conference Centre, Saturday 29 November 14:00-17:00.

Three specialists from the University of Akureyri participate in the seminar:

  • Lara Hoffman – doctoral student
  • Finnur Friðriksson – linguistics expert and associate professor at the Faculty of Education
  • Hermína Gunnþórsdóttir – professor at the Faculty of Education gives the introductory lecture The community of diversity in Iceland – challenges and opportunities.

Further information and programme of events may be accessed here