Friday, November 9, 2007

Faroese Language

I want to thank Workman for giving me a topic to post. I have struggle the last few days on what to write about. There hasn't been much news from the Faroe Islands. I think the biggest story this week has been the weather. Jenny's blog has some great pictures of the storm.

So anyway Workman on his latest post on his blog brought up the topic of the Faroese language. I thought I would take a little further.

At 5 years old I spoke only Faroese. I started kindergarten not being able to speak English. Unfortunately my mother, at the time, felt that speaking two languages would hinder my schooling and stopped speaking Faroese to me. So as you can image I have lost most if not all the ability to speak Faroese. I never thought that it was that important growing up but after the passing of my mother I gained a great desire to learn the language. Maybe it has to with wanting to speak to family or maybe it is just a way to be closer to my mother. Either way it has become an obsession of mine to learn the language. I have done a lot of research online and in discussion groups.

The problem with the Faroese language is that there isn't any language like it. It is very similar to Norwegian and Icelandic but there is enough differences that learning one doesn't give you the ability to understand the other. Then there is the fact that there is only about 80,000 people in the world that speak Faroese and 48,000 of them live in the Faroe Islands. There isn't any computer programs or online courses that would help. So to learn the language it has to be quest of research.

I would like to jump start anyone interested in learning the language and give some of the sites that have helped me.

One of the first things for me was to hear Faroese. Since I spoke it at one time and have been around family, to hear it again was important.

Framtak This site has some audio files, with some simple phases to listen to. It is also one of the first English websites I found about the Faroe Islands and has lot of additional information.

Lingva Prismo Has list of ten phrases with audio. It gives some basic phrases and an allows you to hear what it sounds like.

Then there is the Faroese radio and TV. This can be difficult because if you have no prior knowledge of the language it can be hard to follow along with. The children's show are the best to start out with.

Faroese Radio Click the logo at the bottom left. It says Beinleiðis.

Faroese TV Rogni og Drekin is the current childrens show being broadcast.

Now I have also looked for dictionaries and other information that might help me in my pursuit. I will give a list of some of what I have found.

Faroese Tutorial This site gives a brief history of the language and then gives you a lot of phases and how to pronounce them. It is great for beginners.

UniLang Wiki - Faroese Introduction This site gives basic information and some links to additional information.

UniLang Comunity - Language Resource This site has a lot of information. Some online leasons. some phrases and additional information. This is one of the best sites with the most information.

Yahoo Faroese Language Group Groups and forums can be a good resource but quite often there are a lot of the same people wanting to learn a language. Most of the time there is no native speakers that belong to the group but it is a place to share what others have found.

Dictionaries are probably the hardest to find. There are very few written or online and the ones that I have found are not complete. Quite often the words I look for are not there but something is better then nothing.

Here is a list that I have phone online.

Faroese - English Very basic but helpful.

Faroese - English This is a larger list and has search capabilities along with a word list.

Faroese Language - Wiktionary This is one of the best list of words. It allows you to search by categories such as "foods". It also has a allows you to search words through the search engine on the left. Along with words it also gives you a list of phrases that are commonly used under Faroese Phrasebook.

One of the other avenues that I have researched is the use of Skype. If you are not familiar with this program it is VOIP program allowing you to speak with others over the internet like a phone. There is the ability to set up chat rooms within Skype that are called Skypecast. There are many people using this program to learn different languages. I just need to get enough people that want to learn and people that can teach to start one.

The last resource is the University of the Faroe Islands. It provides a summer course that teaches the language. It is held every summer in the month of August. If you are able to spend a little over 3 weeks in the Faroe Islands you can take this course. This is the only course I know of that gives you formal training of the Faroese language. I know that Jenny has taken this course and has help her quite a bit in learning the language.

University of the Faroe Islands

Hopefully this gives you a start on learning the language. I know this is a difficult task but I believe that it can be done. It is one that I am willing to go through.

If any others have found other resources I would love to hear of them.


Anonymous said...


I'm one quarter Faroese (my grandmother is from Torshavn). I too am keen to learn to speak/understand Faroese and I'm struggling to find any language classes in the UK or other resources.

The 3 week course ran at the University of the Faroe Islands is about the only course that I have come across, however, I get the impression that you have to already be a university student to enrol on it, but in any event it is near impossible for me to take 3 weeks off work...

I have however come across this Faroese language lesson on YouTube which, considering the lack of available learning material, is really good:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been trying to learn some Faroese too. I have found this set of audio files really helpful
There is a book they belong to called Faroese: A Language Course For Beginners, which I haven't been able to track down, but the audio files alone are quite useful

akc said...

Anonymous #2, you can find this title (it comes in two volumes, Text and Grammar, with CD of the same audio files) very easily by ordering it directly from the HNJ Bókahandil in the Faroe Islands.

I bought it myself just around April 2010 when I was still living in Denmark. It was expensive; it cost me 1000 Danish Kroner, with another DKr. 200 for shipping, which was in total about US$200.

But I think it is well worth it, considering the comprehensiveness of the course, and the quality of the binding. They are paperbacks, and printed on heavyweight, coated paper, and each volume has a few hundred pages.

Go to, and then just search for Jonathan Adams (one of the authors), and then only this title will show up. Then click through the links until you find the full description.

Good luck with your Faroese!

Chicka said...

thanks for the tip. I'm interested in the University course so good luck everyone