Languages of Iceland
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|Languages of Iceland|
|Official languages||Icelandic 93.2%|
|Main immigrant languages||Polish 2.71%
|Main foreign languages||English
Danish / Norwegian / Swedish
French / German / Spanish
|Sign languages||Icelandic Sign Language|
|Common keyboard layouts||
|Source||Statistics Iceland (2008)|
Iceland has been a very isolated and linguistically homogeneous island historically, but has nevertheless beheld several languages. Gaelic was native to many of the early Icelanders, the Icelandic or Norse language however prevailing, albeit absorbing Gaelic features. Later, northern trade routes brought German, English, Dutch, French and Basque. Some merchants and clergymen settled in Iceland throughout the centuries, leaving their mark on culture, but linguistically mainly trade, nautical or religious terms. Excluding these and Latin words, Icelandic has altered remarkably little since settlement, the island's residents living in seclusion.
Today, the country does not have an official language but Icelandic is the de facto official and national language, while Icelandic Sign Language was officially recognised by law in 2011 as a minority language with constitutional rights and the first language of the Icelandic deaf community. Danish is also a minority language in Iceland, and has been spoken there for at least two hundred years, but it has yet to gain government recognition.
Studying English and Danish (or another Scandinavian language) is mandatory for students in compulsory schools and also for many gymnasium courses, so knowledge of the two languages is widespread. German and French are also studied by many.
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