Happy Icelandic Language Day!
Icelanders are encouraged to hoist an Icelandic flag today to celebrate their language. Photo: Þorvaldur Örn Kristmundsson
Today sees the twentieth annual celebration of Icelandic Language Day, a day focusing on the status of the Icelandic language and its value for the national consciousness and Icelandic culture as a whole.
The day chosen to celebrate the Icelandic language – or íslenska as it is called natively – is 16 November, the birthday of Jónas Hallgrímsson, a 19th-century Icelandic poet.
Icelandic Language Day has been celebrated every year since 1996 with assorted events celebrating everything to do with íslenska – from the smallest words to whole works of literature.
The year’s programme includes talks on Icelandic vocabulary and literature, lectures on the cultural and sociological status and influence of the Icelandic language, and reading and poetry competitions for people of all ages.
Are you tempted to dip your toe and have a bash a learning a bit of our wonderfully expressive and hauntingly beautiful íslenska? If so, one possible starting point is Icelandic Online, a free online course in modern Icelandic compiled by the University of Iceland.
Gangi þér vel! (Good luck!)