Oslo Studies in Language (Jan 2021)

Unges dialektbrug i bygden Sandur på Færøerne

  • Jógvan í Lon Jacobsen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 2


Read online

In this article, dialect changes and variation among young schoolchildren in the island of Sandoy in the Faroe Islands are discussed. The fieldwork was made by a group of students at the University of the Faroe Islands in November 2019 under the guidance of this article’s author. The informants are two groups of 10 and 15 year old schoolchildren. By examining the young generation, we can get information about the ‘state of health’ of the dialect. Here three dialectal variables are examined: (i) The variation of definite and indefinite form of words for family members, for instance the dialectal form mamman ‘the mother’ and the Central Faroese form mamma ‘mother’; (ii) Personal and possessive pronouns in 1st and 2nd person plural in oblique case, for instance the dialect form [o:gʊn] ‘us’ and the Central Faroese form [ɔʰk:ʊn] ‘us’; (iii) The pronunciation of short ó with the dialectal variant [ɔ] and the Central Faroese form [œ], for instance [fɔlk] resp. [fœlk] ‘people’. The first variable shows clearly a tendency towards dialect change in the young generation: the indefinite forms are much more frequent than the dialect counterpart. The use of the pronouns shows a relatively high degree of variation: the dialect forms are more frequently used by the 10 than the 15 year old pupils. The pronunciation of short ó shows variation to a large extent. Here we see the same pattern as we saw for variable 2: the youngest pupils are more likely to use the dialect¬al form [ɔ] than the older ones. On the other hand, variation is much more common in the group of 15 year old pupils. This study shows both stability and change in the dialect of children in Sandoy: Stability in use of the dialectal forms of the personal and possessive pro¬nouns, and variation and change in the two other variables. In a couple of years an underwater tunnel will connect the island of Sandoy with the central part of the islands. In a future scenario this dialect study opens the possibility for comparative studies of the dialect of Sandoy before and after the opening of the tunnel.