First the Vikings, now their language…

The language – or one of the languages – of the Vikings looks like going the way they did – to the grave.

With fewer than 400,000 people today speaking Icelandic the language is in danger of extinction, driven out by the universality and utility of English. The main threat is the stranglehold English has over new technology.

Nothing like the threat of extinction to get a few academics excited, and the imminent and unstoppable death of Icelandic is to be challenged by the research project Modeling the Linguistic Consequences of Digital Language Contact or MoLiCoDiLaCo.

The project says that its “main empirical goal…is to construct a nationwide profile of the distribution and nature of English and Icelandic input in the Icelandic language community and the differences in linguistic knowledge which arise as a result of novel types of intense encounters with English.”

Over three years and at a cost of around £100 million, this should keep several clever minds out of trouble.

Picture source: Jakub Jankiewicz