A project presentation

The Project Icelandic Youth Language: An Empirical Study of Communicative Resources puts the focus on young people in Iceland and their ways to communicate with their peers and other people. The aim is to analyze conversational data using three different methodological approaches: interactional studies focusing on sequentiality and discursive contexts, vocabulary studies focusing on word-formation, semantic shifts and borrowings, and variationist studies comparing youth language with the language of other age groups. The goal is to integrate the findings to further our understanding of Icelandic youth language and youth language in general.


The category under investigation are young people between the ages of 13–19 from three different parts of Iceland: The capital area, Akureyri in the north, and Ísafjörður in the west.


As a part of the project, The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies will create a Clarin supported database with conversational material. Three types of conversational data will be collected: a) moderated group conversation recorded in schools, b) everyday conversation recorded at home, and c) telephone conversation or online conversation using audio. The data will be transcribed in ELAN and entered into the Glossa corpus search system developed at the Text Laboratory, University of Oslo.

When analyzing the data, the researchers will focus on the following questions:

  1. What characterizes Icelandic youth language from a pragmatic, lexicological, syntactic, morphological, and phonological perspective?

  2. How is Icelandic youth language affected by increased language contact, e.g. through digital technology, tourism, international business, and immigration?

  3. Does Icelandic youth language show the same trends as for example German, Swedish and Danish youth language?

  4. Do characteristic features of youth language, compared to the language of younger and older speakers of Icelandic, reflect age-grading and/or language change in progress?

The members of the project have a broad background ranging from interactional linguistics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, lexicology, structural grammatical theory, first language acquisition, and speech recognition.

The project is funded for three years by Rannís, The Icelandic Centre for Research (project number 184704-052)


Helga Hilmisdóttir

PI, Research Associate Professor at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies 

Interactional linguistics, CA, lexicography, discourse particles, borrowings, spoken language databases


Ásgrímur Angantýsson

Professor of Icelandic at the University of Iceland



Ásta Svavarsdóttir

Research associate Professor at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies

Sociolinguistics, lexicography


Finnur Friðriksson

Associate Professor at the University of Akureyri



Jón Guðnason

Associate Professor at the University of  Reykjavik

Speech recognition


Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir

Professor at the University of Iceland

Language aquisition, syntax

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