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Reading: Immigrant Experiences of Learning Icelandic and Connecting with the Speaking Community

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Immigrant Experiences of Learning Icelandic and Connecting with the Speaking Community

Authors:

Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir ,

Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, IS
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Pamela Innes

Anthropology Department, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, US
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Abstract

The Icelandic language has a central role in defining Icelandic nationality. Given its importance in defining Icelandic nationality and as a precondition for citizenship, the article studies what learning the Icelandic language means for the growing numbers of immigrants who have arrived in Iceland in recent years. This ethnographic study presents immigrants’ perspectives on learning the language to be able to participate at work as well as gain access to the language community and Icelandic society in order to examine theory-based questions regarding processes of inclusion, exclusion and integration. Our study shows that although language is promoted as an important aspect in inclusion into Icelandic society, many of our participants who have attended classes but work mostly with other immigrants experience the language requirements instead as a boundary marker in terms of participation and belonging in Icelandic society.
How to Cite: Dís Skaptadóttir, U. and Innes, P., 2017. Immigrant Experiences of Learning Icelandic and Connecting with the Speaking Community. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 7(1), pp.20–27. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1515/njmr-2017-0001
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Published on 01 Mar 2017.
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