Icelandic Language Day Celebrated Skip to content

Icelandic Language Day Celebrated

By Yelena

book bookstore Icelandic literature bækur
Photo: Photo: Golli. A book store in Reykjavík.

Today is Icelandic Language Day, celebrated in Iceland annually on November 16. The goal of the day is to remember the importance of the Icelandic language within Icelandic society and celebrate its past, present, and future.

Icelandic is an Indo-European language, belonging to the group of Germanic languages. This group also includes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Faroese. Of these languages, Faroese and Norwegian are the most closely related to Icelandic. The Icelandic language is notable for its relative stability over the past millennium: modern Icelandic speakers can read and understand the Icelandic sagas, written around a thousand years ago.

Icelandic Language Day will be celebrated today with an official program of events in the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík. The events include the presentation of the Jónas Hallgrímsson Prize and will be streamed live on the government website. November 16 was chosen for the holiday as it is the birth date of Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845). Jónas was an Icelandic poet and translator and a strong advocate for Iceland’s independence from Denmark.

Iceland Review regularly covers stories related to the Icelandic language, including why many foreigners struggle to learn Icelandic and the future of Icelandic language technology. For readers interested in learning the Icelandic language, this list of online resources is a good place to start.

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