Icelanders Should Welcome Accents, Says Iceland’s President Skip to content
President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
Photo: Golli.

Icelanders Should Welcome Accents, Says Iceland’s President

Born and bred Icelanders need to be more accepting of Icelandic spoken with an accent, Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson stated in a Facebook post. The President published various thoughts on the state of Icelandic after attending a conference of the Icelandic Language Council, which has just released their annual report on the state of the Icelandic language. Icelandic is important to everyone who chooses to live in Iceland, stated Guðni, including foreigners who settle in the country.

“The Icelandic language is one of the mainstays of the Icelandic nation. The language is important to us. But who are ‘we’ in that context? In my opinion, we are the people who want to live in this country, also those who move here from abroad and intend to live here in harmony with others,” Guðni wrote. “Those people need help learning the language, and those of us who are born and raised here need to show understanding of the fact that some speak with an accent and others don’t conjugate correctly.”

Guðni welcomed the Icelandic Language Council’s annual report, which emphasises the importance of fostering a positive attitude toward Icelandic in all its forms. It also stresses the importance of accessible Icelandic language education. “Quality Icelandic courses are also an equality issue,” the report reads, “to prevent the formation of a gap between generations and groups in society, among other things.”

The Icelandic Language Council is comprised of 16 members, nominated and appointed from various institutions and organisations in journalism, education, and other relevant fields. For more information on language policy in Iceland, readers can refer to the Act on the Status of the Icelandic Language and Icelandic Sign Language in English.

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