Icelandic language at risk; robots, computers can’t grasp it

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland– When an Icelander comes to an office complex and sees “Solarfri” posted, they need no more description for the empty properties: The word means “when personnel get an unforeseen afternoon off to delight in great weather condition.”

Individuals of this rugged North Atlantic island settled by Norsemen some 1,100 years ago have a special dialect of Old Norse that has adapted to life at the edge of the Artic.Hundslappadrifa, for instance, indicates”heavy snowfall with big flakes happening in calm wind.”However the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as

a source of identity and pride, is being weakened by the extensive usage of English, both for mass tourist and in the voice-controlled artificial intelligence devices entering into vogue.Linguistics experts, studying the future of a language spoken by less than 400,000 individuals

in a significantly globalized world, wonder if this is the start of completion for the Icelandic tongue.Former President Vigdis Finnbogadottir told The Associated Press that Iceland must take steps to secure its language.

She is particularly worried that programs be developed so the language can be easily utilized in digital technology.”Otherwise, Icelandic will end in the Latin bin,”she warned.Teachers are already noticing a modification amongst students in the scope of their Icelandic vocabulary and reading comprehension.Anna Jonsdottir, a teaching expert, said she typically hears

teenagers speak English amongst themselves when she checks out schools in Reykjavik, the capital.She stated 15-year-old trainees are no longer designated a volume from the Sagas of Icelanders, the medieval literature chronicling the early inhabitants of Iceland. Icelanders have long prided themselves of having the ability to with complete confidence read the impressive tales initially penned on calfskin.Most high schools are likewise waiting up until senior year to read author Halldor Laxness, the 1955 winner of the Nobel Reward in literature, who rests in a small cemetery near his farm in West Iceland.A variety of aspects integrate to make the future of the Icelandic language unpredictable.

Tourism has actually blown up recently, becoming the country’s single greatest employer, and analysts at Arion Bank say one in 2 new tasks is being filled by foreign labor.That is increasing the usage of English

as a universal communicator and lessening the role of Icelandic, experts say. “The less useful Icelandic ends up being in individuals’s everyday life, the closer we as a nation get to the limit of providing up its usage, “said Eirikur Rognvaldsson, a language teacher at the University of Iceland.He has actually started a three-year research study of 5,000 individuals that will be the largest questions ever into using the language. “Preliminary studies suggest children at their first-language acquisition are increasingly not exposed to adequate Icelandic to cultivate a strong base for later years,”he said.Concerns for the Icelandic language are by no methods new. In the 19th century, when its vocabulary and syntax were greatly influenced by Danish, independence motions battled to restore Icelandic as the typical tongue, central to the claim that Icelanders were a nation.Since Iceland ended up being completely independent from Denmark in 1944, its presidents have long championed the have to protect the

language.Asgeir Jonsson, an economics teacher at the University of Iceland, said without a special language Iceland might experience a brain drain, particularly amongst particular professions.”A British town with a population the size of Iceland has far less researchers

and artists, for example,”he said.”They’ve simply relocated to the metropolitan area.”The problem is intensified because numerous brand-new computer system devices are developed to recognize English however they do not understand Icelandic. “Not having the ability to speak Icelandic to voice-activated fridges, interactive robotics and comparable gadgets would be yet another lost field,”Jonsson said.Icelandic ranks among the weakest and least-supported language in regards to digital innovation– in addition to Irish Gaelic, Latvian, Maltese and Lithuanian– according to a report by the

Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance examining 30 European languages.Iceland’s Ministry of Education approximates about 1 billion Icelandic krona, or$8.8 million, is

needed for seed financing for an open-access database to assist tech developers adapt Icelandic as a language option.Svandis Svavarsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament for the Left-Green Motion, said the government must not be weighing expenses when the country’s cultural heritage is at stake.” If we wait, it might already be too late,”she said.Egill Bjarnason -Associated Press A law book penned on calfskin in 1363 is displayed at a Reykjavik museum. Icelanders have actually prided themselves on fluency with their country’s middle ages texts, poems and legends, but their revered language is being weakened by English.

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