Faroese – The language of the Faroere Island

The national chain dance is one of the most popular activities carried out in the Faroese Islands. It is a must have activity during the celebration of St. Olaf’s day, on July 29. This celebration is an annual 3 day event held in honor St Olaf who died at the battle of Stikkelstad in Norway in 1030. The dance is normally performed in a circle and is led by a leader. People dress up in their national costumes and join in the chants, especially in the chorus. The song normally has hundreds of verses. Most songs were passed down orally from generation to generation. A written form for the language was first developed during the 14th century and mainly entailed fables and sagas which remain popular up to this day.

Faroese is a North Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Faroe Islands. This is a group of 18 islands which are located between Iceland, Scotland and Norway. Due to the isolated nature of the Islands, it has been possible to preserve many of the original features of the language. The language has many unique features compared to other Scandinavian languages such as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Faroese is closely related to Icelandic even though the two languages are mutually unintelligible. The two languages have some similar words but the pronunciation of the words differ greatly. The language is spoken by about 45,000 people in the Faroe Islands while 25,000-30,000 people speak it in other parts of the world such as in Denmark. The Faroese has 29 letters of the Latin alphabet.

When you travel to the Faroe Islands, you can get by with English. However, if you want to get into the mix of things learning Faroese will come in handy as it is widely spoken even by the younger generation. Faroese has been recognized as one of the remaining five Nordic languages. East Nordic languages includes Danish and Swedish. It is easy for east Nordic language speakers to understand each other. However, when it comes to west Nordic languages such as Icelandic and Faroese it is hard for speakers to understand each other due to the fact that the languages developed divergently over time. New words have been developed in Faroese which do not exist elsewhere.

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