Languages of the Faroe Islands

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Languages of Faroe Islands
Official languages Faroese
Main foreign languages Danish, Norwegian, English, and German

The official language of the Faroe Islands is Faroese. The Faroese language is a Germanic language which is descended from Old Norse.

Faroese is similar in grammar to Icelandic and Old Norse, but closer in pronunciation to Norwegian. In the twentieth century Faroese became the official language and, because the Faroe Islands are a Danish territory, Danish is taught in local schools.


The first recorded settlers of the Faroe Islands were Irish monks (papar), so it is possible to assume, that one of the first languages in the islands was some form of Old Irish. Neighbouring Shetland was inhabited from the Stone Age, and was Pictish speaking when the Norse arrived.

Norse settlers first arrived in the middle of the 9th century, bringing their West Norse language (from which the Faroese language evolved).

Other groups are known to have lived in the Faroes as well. These include Norwegian peoples, and this is evident in certain Faroese places names, such as Signabøur (Bø of 'Sygnir') and Øravík (bay of 'Hörðir'). People from Suðuroy also refer to 'Frísarnir í Akrabergi' (The Frisians of Akraberg).

English and German are sometimes used for the purposes of tourism. Norwegian is occasionally heard too, due to the islands' geographical proximity to Norway.