News
Siri Threatens The Icelandic Language

Siri Threatens The Icelandic Language

Photos by
Julia Staples

Published July 9, 2018

As the Icelandic language faces tough competition from English influences, Icelandic authorities focus efforts on what needs to be done.

Ozy.com reports that while the Icelandic language is not currently in decline, its future relevance to younger generations poses a growing concern. Recent studies show that 30% of 13- to 15-year-olds speak English with their friends and with exposure to technologies such as Siri and Alexa, younger generations are increasingly learning to value the English language over Icelandic.

Ári Páll Kristinsson, head of the Language Planning Department at the Árni Magnússon Institute of Icelandic Studies, refuses to watch the decline of the Icelandic language from the sidelines. Last year, he received funding from the Icelandic government to develop language technologies in Icelandic. With Icelandic versions of Siri, Alexa, GPS, and other talking robots, Kristinsson hopes to protect Icelandic from English.

The project is still in its development stages. Creating speech synthesis and speech recognition for the Icelandic language is a long undertaking, due to a shortage of linguistic research databases known as corpora. Compared to the French language, Icelandic simply has fewer texts to work from.

“For languages like ours, there has to be a constant effort to try to find ways to make this work,” explains Steinþór Steingrímsson, a project manager at the institute who’s focused on language technology. “But technology-wise, we don’t have to be as pessimistic as we were two or three years ago.”

Steingrímsson predicts that five years of funding will not be sufficient to create all the technology the institute needs. However, he believes that it will be enough to ascertain proof-of-concept that something can be done.


News
Negotiations Begin On New Public Transport System For Reykjavik

Negotiations Begin On New Public Transport System For Reykjavik

by

Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannesson, signed an agreement last week with capital region municipalities to begin negotiations on a

News
Bill To Legalise Alcohol Sales In Icelandic Shops: Fifth Time’s The Charm?

Bill To Legalise Alcohol Sales In Icelandic Shops: Fifth Time’s The Charm?

by

Þorsteinn Víglundsson, the vice chair of the Reform Party, has submitted a bill to Parliament that, if passed, would legalise

News
IMF: Iceland’s Economy Doing Better, But Concerns Remain

IMF: Iceland’s Economy Doing Better, But Concerns Remain

by

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff has issued a mostly positive report on the current state of Iceland’s economy, but

News
Icelandic Gov’t To Launch Campaign Encouraging Tourists To Not Buy Bottled Water

Icelandic Gov’t To Launch Campaign Encouraging Tourists To Not Buy Bottled Water

by

In an effort to try and reduce plastic waste, the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources and the Environment

News
No, Katla Is Not About To Erupt

No, Katla Is Not About To Erupt

by

Despite what you may have seen in the more lurid headlines circulating, Katla, one of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes, is

News
VIDEO: Daring Early-Morning Heist Liberates Sex Doll From Captivity

VIDEO: Daring Early-Morning Heist Liberates Sex Doll From Captivity

by

A sex shop that was broken into and robbed last February has been struck again, in a daring early-morning act

Show Me More!