Who here is learning Icelandic? Please talk about your experience

Since I am the one who got Icelandic into LingQ and recently got LingQ to agree to make it free, I’d really like to get comments, critiques and wishes from the people who are studying it here. Of course I can’t necessarily make all wishes regarding Icelandic come true, but I’d like to know what has been difficult, which courses have helped you the most and least, what you find works for you etc.

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I’d like to get Irish into LingQ. They say they need 60 or so ministories. What other challenges did you have to get Icelandic into LingQ?
P.S. I already had 80 words in Icelandic so I must have tried it at some point.

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Your comment is totally off topic, but I am happy to help anyone who wants to add languages if I can.

Translating and reading the 60 mini-stories is quite a bit of work. I feel the proper way to do it is to have male and female voices for the male and female characters, so that also requires having more than one reader. You need proper recording equipment and a proper place to do it, where there isn’t too much noise from the environment. You can just get Audacity to edit the sound, but it’s also quite a bit of work to do the editing. Writing the grammar guide was also quite a bit of work. Once you get a language into LingQ, there next problem is going to be the obvious lack of material in the library, when all that’s there are the mini-stories. That’s when the real work of finding or creating material that’s both in text and audio form begins. If you want to add a language to LingQ, be prepared to sacrifice quite a bit of your time.

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Thanks. It’s worth knowing what I’m getting into.

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Rokkvi, thanks again for all your hard work. You’ve clearly opened opportunities for the language learning community that were not available before and if it wasn’t for you, Icelandic really wouldn’t be a viable option for many.

As far as comment and critiques go, I think it’s difficult for people to offer anything substantial due to the lack of accessible material that you are up against, which is something you can’t control.

It really seems that the biggest challenge for many “non-global” languages is the lack of available material within the upper beginner to upper intermediate areas. The overwhelming amount of material seems to start with children’s stories and jump to adult-level material, which is a big problem – especially since children’s stories are not terribly compelling while translated children’s classics (like Treasure Island, Journey to the Center of the Earth, etc.) require a very substantial vocabulary.

If you haven’t done so already, have you thought of reaching out to instructors or representatives from institutions like The University of Iceland, Icelandic Literature Center, or the Icelandic Language Institute in search of someone who might take an active interest in preserving and sharing the language?

People like Ahmad Al Hussam (“Teaching a Second Language to ‘Newcomers’”, https://skemman.is/bitstream/1946/24474/1/BA-Thesis%20Ahmad%20Husam.pdf) and Karítas Hrundar Pálsdóttir (author of Árstíðir or Dagatal) understand the value of comprehensible input. Perhaps they might be interested in providing pointers?

I’ve read several articles on how Iceland itself is not only is concerned that the language is in danger in the digital age but also aware that many immigrants are not satisfied with the language learning services provided them. For a culture with such love for books, there’s a real missed opportunity. If Iceland were to produce “simple” and “easy” versions of their own news and literary works like several other countries do, it would go a long way in helping people integrate into society and feel more connected with its culture.

Another simple and effective possibility would be something like “The Little Letter” and “Letter to Learning” for Scottish Gaelic learners, which now has over 2000 short, easy to read articles in a variety of subjects, which range from B1 to C2.

On that note, although I am aware of companies like Miðeind, I do not know what the state of Icelandic focused AI is today. Rather than simply relying on AI to generate stories (i.e., not very interesting), it would seem that using AI to do the bulk of work to produce simplified versions of public domain works (novels, essays, articles, etc.) and using writers/ editors to clean up them up might be the quickest and most effective option to bridge the gap – at least for the time being.

What other thoughts to you have?

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No improvement comments yet, just wanted to say thank you for your hard work in making lingq accessible. Ég er útlendingur sem býr á Íslandi, og lingq er bestur app ég hef fundið. The fact that it’s now free means that I will be using a lot of it in 2024 and I will try and provide feedback when I’m deeper in. For, bara takk kærlega fyrig mig

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I accidentally deleted a comment I just wanted to edit. But Gráskeggur, you are right. We don’t only need more material that’s of intermediate difficulty, we need a lot more material of all levels. The beginner material is the most read in Icelandic and pretty much all languages so I am trying to get more such material in there, but I also need more intermediate and advanced material.

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Can you get me a gift card for Icelandic Storytel :slight_smile:? They refuse to take my credit card on the site or in app. Really that, as you and Gráskeggur, said is the main obstacle I see - content.

I started with the advantage of being able to speak Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German when starting Icelandic. So I was able to essentially start with adult content through LingQ (with difficulty at times), but even in that situation getting content I could import into LingQ was difficult until I found Forlagið.

I think some type of AI simplified Lättläst equivalent could be an excellent option for people that do not want to (or cannot) jump from learner content to adult material. Given Icelanders are the biggest readers on the planet there is easily enough content to pull from, it is just making it accessible that is the issue.

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I could probably get you a gift card for Storytel, if Storytel sells them at all, but the question would be how you would pay me for it.

They do have gift cards. If we figure out how you could pay me, I could get one for you. Storytel - Hljóðbækur og rafbækur í símanum þínum

Latest news is I am putting in some more “Einföld íslenska” (easy Icelandic) lessons in the upcoming days. These are very simple beginner lessons, but at this point I think the library needs beginner material even more than intermediate material.

Getting material from mms.is seems to require paying the authors for it and I am appealing to the Ministries of culture and education to do that. If I can get all the material from mms.is that I have found, I can, in my estimates, just about double the Icelandic library or more.

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