- Education and Science
The Melody That is the Faroese Language
What is Faroese?
Faroese is a North Germanic language spoken mostly on the Faroe Islands and by small minorities in Iceland and Denmark. Faroese, like the rest of the North Germanic languages, descended from Old Norse, which is the language that was spoken by the Vikings. Faroese has a small amount of Old Irish influence thanks to Celtic tribes also inhabiting the islands.
How similar are English and Faroese?
Faroese and English are distant cousins. They are both descendant from Proto-Germanic, and because of this share a lot of core vocabulary and grammar. Old English and Faroese are even more similar! Unfortunately, the spoken language is terribly difficult for an English speaker, but the written language, while extremely difficult is a little easier. From reading a Faroese text, you may be able to pick up a few words here and there. Let's try this one from the Faroese Bible:
Í fyrstuni var orðið, og orðið var hjá Guði, og orðið var Guð.
Let's break this down a little bit. This sentence translates literally to: "In the first was the word, and the word was by God, and the word was God". Can you guess which words mean what? They all, except for the word "hjá" are all the same etymology from language to language! Of course, translating literally will be a little off, as English speakers say "In the beginning", not "In the first". However you can guess the meaning easily from the context.
What does Faroese sound like?
Faroese, to me, sounds so beautiful. It could be because one of my favorite singers, Eivør Pálsdóttir, sings in this beautiful language. I want to share with you a few videos so you can hear what this tongue sounds like!
Eivør Pálsdóttir – Mín Móðir live
The Lord's Prayer in Faroese
And my personal favorite...
Why should I learn Faroese?
So, beautiful, right? Now onto why you should learn Faroese! The Faroe Islands are one of the most unique places on the planet. There are absolutely no natural-grown trees on the Islands. The cliffs are miraculous. The puffins are absolutely adorable. There is SO. MUCH. GREEN. Visiting and getting to speak the native language would not only be fun but an experience that not many people get. It's unique. The Faroe Islands are small but have a lot to offer. Consider checking out the Visit Faroe Islands website and discover "Europe's Best Kept Secret".