Dying languages are unfortunately quite common in a globalized world, and today we’re going to see if the Icelandic language is going to be used in the future or it’s something we should just leave behind.
Dying languages: Is the Icelandic Language going to Disappear?
Because of the specificity of the Icelandic language and its inability to be used in all areas of everyday life, it looks like the language that was maintained for centuries in its original form will disappear in the next 100 years. The expansion of computer technology means that we are increasingly using voice commands with many devices. The popularity of these devices nowadays has increased their daily uses. The menu and command of almost all devices is usually in the most commonly used international language, English. That is why more and more Icelanders are being attracted to study English in order to be competitive in the modern world. To that extent, because of the expansion of English in Iceland, it is a reasonable fear for people to give up their language.
In 2012 a report was made in 30 European languages. The question was whether the established software allows the use of information technology by the people of those countries in their native language? Icelandic language was in 29th place and was classified as a language in danger of digital death. It was somewhat included in the dying languages catalog. Quite understandably this situation is difficult for the Icelandic language because of the cost for making such a software database designed for 300,000 people who speak that language, costs as much as making the same type of database for a group of 300 million.
Failure to take any serious step to overcome this trend, will mean that there is indeed a real risk of extinction of the Icelandic language in the next 100 years. After publication of the alarming report, positive steps were taken towards making efforts to maintain and preserve the Icelandic language. One such step taken by the Icelandic Organization of the Visually Impaired was to have an Icelandic speech synthesizer made, that reads Icelandic texts out loud. Google also has applied certain efforts to implement some voice commands for computers and certain types of mobile phones in some of the dying languages, including the Icelandic language.
But the question is, when will Google stop offering this service or abolish free use of these tools? Maybe it’s time to think in terms of building their own software by the Icelanders themselves which would be made according to their needs. Fortunately, at the moment there is a strategy that is in sight by the authoritarian governments in Iceland that would lead to the protection and maintenance of the Icelandic language from extinction in the future.
Meanwhile, if you need Icelandic translation services get in touch by phone or live-chat, we’ll provide you with quality translations at affordable rates.
Humans are about 200,000 years old, and that’s how long we have known death. Everything has its time after which it cannot exist. Death is not only limited to humans. In fact, it is not even limited to living things. Death also affects things related to humans. Cultures and civilizations die, and new cultures and civilizations take their place. Just like species of animals become endangered and then extinct, languages disappear too.
The number of dying languages increases with time due to modern needs of one global language English has taken over offices and academic institutions in most countries. As a result, children don’t learn their native languages. When only the older generation speaks a language, then that language becomes endangered. Once the only speakers of that language pass away, the language dies with them. Icelandic is one of the languages that got affected by English and is considered a dying language by linguistics of today.
Icelandic and the Rise of the Advanced Machines
Over the prior decade, Icelanders have become more concerned about the cultural appearance of the English language. Awareness of English is widespread in Iceland. Because English is so common on the Internet, Icelandic people have several reasons to learn and use it than ever before.
Then, there’s the increase of the advanced machines: Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Google Assistance, GPS systems. It’s now possible to talk to so many of your devices and have them speak back in English.
And therein lies the problem of dying languages. As of right now, you can’t turn your iPhone to Icelandic. You can’t use it to speak to Siri or to ask Alexa. According to Mashable, GPS programs often cut Icelandic road names and place names. In fact, according to a recent report, Icelandic is one of the European languages that’s least-supported by new technologies.