Saturday, 22 May 2021

digital minoritization

In a valiant effort to save their native language from obsolescence by the dominance of English not just as a global lingua franca but also as the default of technology and media within and without their horizons, a middle-school class in Reykjavรญk paradoxically represents both the cause of Icelandic’s endangerment but also its potential salvation. As savvy and confident as the students are in global English (there are far more so called non-native speakers than those that live in the UK and former colonies that Indians and Icelanders have as much claim as Australians and Americans) they couldn’t conceive of an Iceland without Icelandic and are training, at the urging of their teacher, to recite, to incant, the Prose Edda, the epic of Snorri Sturluson to their laptops and tablets, in order that one day—eventually—the computer answers back, in Icelandic, and save the language from stafrรฆnn dauรฐi, digital death.