Icelanders In Search Of Neologisms For LGBTQAI+ Contexts - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelanders In Search Of Neologisms For LGBTQAI+ Contexts

Published August 6, 2015

Photos by
Alísa Kalyanova

A contest has begun to create Icelandic words for concepts and identity types that have arisen from the LGBTQAI+ community.

Icelandic is not a language known for easily borrowing foreign words, and creating new Icelandic words for new concepts can be daunting. Normally, the creation of official neologisms involves the participation of organisations and specialists working with the Icelandic Language Institute. However, the National Queer Organisation (Samtökin ’78) is taking a more democratic, grassroots approach to the process.

The organisation has started a contest to find Icelandic equivalents for terms and identities which arose from the LGBTQAI+ community.

These words include gender expressions, identities, and sexual orientations, but also new words for traditional family roles when members of the family do not identify as completely male or female. While there are numerous words to chose from in English and other languages where these concepts are concerned, the vocabulary for them is still largely missing from Icelandic.

Anyone can submit to the contest via the website linked above, or by using the hashtag ‪#‎hýryrði‬ on Twitter, until September 4. A panel of judges – comprised of queer folk, gender studies experts and linguists – will pick the winners and announce them on November 16, also known as the Day of the Icelandic Tongue.

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