Linguistic purism in Icelandic is the sociolinguistic phenomenon of linguistic purism in the Icelandic language. Its aim is to substitute loanwords with the creation of new words from Old Icelandic and Old Norse roots and prevent new loanwords entering the language. In Iceland, linguistic purism is archaising, trying to resuscitate the language of a golden age of Icelandic literature. It is an effort, beginning in early 19th century, at the dawn of the Icelandic national movement, to replace older loanwords, especially from Danish, and it continues today, targeting English words. It is widely upheld in Iceland and it is the dominant language ideology. It is fully supported by the Icelandic government through the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, the Icelandic Language Council, the Icelandic Language Fund and an Icelandic Language day.
The Icelandic language is the cornerstone of Icelandic culture, in large part due to a strong literary heritage. Icelanders still read the tenth-century Sagas in the original Old Norse, once spoken by all of the Nordic countries, but now only understood in Iceland, as the language has changed relatively little through the centuries.
". . . . The purpose of this seemingly strict naming policy is to protect Iceland's cultural heritage. The Icelandic language is strongly affected by the phenomenon of Icelandic language purism. The language is regarded as a basic element of the national identity. The main focus of the linguistic purism is to maintain the structure of the language, as it is a heavily declined lingua in comparison to other West-European Indo-European languages."
The Icelandic language is considered one of the cornerstones of the Icelandic culture, in large part due to a strong literary heritage. Since the 18th century, when the Icelandic language was under threat from Danish influence, a movement of language purism rose, and has since been the dominant linguistic policy in the country. Icelandic does not usually adopt foreign words for new concepts, opting instead to coin new words, or give old words new meaning, to keep the langauge free of outside influence.
Linguistic purism or linguistic protectionism is the practice of defining one variety of a language as being purer than other varieties. Linguistic purism was institutionalized through Language academies (of which the 1572 Accademia della Crusca set a model example in Europe), and their decisions have often the force of law.
|The Icelandic language has a long and stable history, and Old Icelandic is still accessible to modern day Icelanders. This is despite being ruled from Denmark, with influence by the Danish language, for about 500 years.
This paper provides an overview of Icelandic language politics in the face of the challenges brought on by the modern media in a small country. It starts with a short glance at the beginnings of Icelandic linguistic politics in the nineteenth century to reveal the basic ideological premises and show how they have been maintained in national discourse on the Icelandic language and the media. It then examines how the Icelandic national consensus on linguistic purism has been shaken by technological and political developments, in short the advancing globalisation of the media. These developments are reflected in the practices of media translation and changing attitudes towards translation.
The volume examines the motives for lexical borrowing from English during the last century, the processes involved in the penetration of English vocabulary into new environments, and the extent of its integration into twelve languages representing...
"In 1999, English replaced Danish as the first foreign language in Icelandic elementary schools. . . . Icelandic language planning is still considered to have preserved ints traditional puristic spirit. Thomas (1991: 159) characterises linguistic purism in Finnish and Hebrew as 'evolutionary purism', and in Icelandic as 'consistent, stable purism'."
"In sociolinguistics we are concerned with the use and status of language in all aspects of society. Apart from studies of how certain groups of speakers 'subconsciously' use certain types of language or linguistic constructions, an interesting field of study is to examine what speakers 'consciously' think about language and to what extent these beliefs correspond to actual usage."
BY JONATHAN POTTER . . . Nationalism, especially in politically dominant nations or nations yearning for independence, often motivates linguistic purism – the eradication of foreign words from a language. Iceland is one such nation. From the 18th to 20th centuries, Iceland worked diligently to keep its language pure of internal drift and external influence."
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