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View Diary: ÍslensKos: The Icelandic Language (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Lingustic Complexity) (183 comments)

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  •  Is the antiquity intentional? (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard that Iceland actively discourages borrowed words and so forth - for example, "computer" was never adopted, and instead some committee formed and decided that there would be a descriptive appropriated Icelandic word for it.  And apparently this was successful.  Is this true of grammar also?  Is there a sort of nationalistic impulse to not simplify so as to retain Icelandic roots?

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
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      They try to keep the language from changing as much as they can, preferring to resurrect old words rather than take in foreign loanwords, and to fight against grammatic shifts.  One of my favorite Icelandic words I ran into a while back was "Þágufallssýki" -- "Dative Sickness".  It's something teachers have been trying to stop, where people sometimes try to substitute the dative for the accusative of other impersonal verbs, or even for the nominative.

      Iceland has to take an active stance against the changing of their language, because without it, it'd be overrun by English in no time.  Pretty much all Icelandic adults are fluent in English and, due to their small population, they're always exposed to it.  Larger countries can produce enough of their own products, media, etc that nearly everything their citizens are exposed to in their daily lives is written in their native tongue.  That's not the case with Icelandic.

    •  French is worse (0+ / 0-)

      the Academie Francaise is one of the most prestigious appointments you can get as a person of letters in France, much like a English Heraldic Order, and tasked with determining why is and isn't 'French'.

      The French generally seeming to have a hard time distinguishing between the concepts of 'pure', 'normative', and  'logical' in relation to their language with all seeming in practice to become identical with the collective judgement of the Academie.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 06:23:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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