The Icelandic Language
Icelandic belongs to the Indo-European (North Germanic or Nordic) languages and is spoken in Iceland. Outside of Iceland, Icelandic is spoken by roughly 8,000 speakers living in Denmark, just over 5,000 speakers in the USA and more than 2,000 speakers in Canada. Its closest relatives are the Nordic languages Faroese, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish, but Icelandic has retained more of the inflection of its ancestor, Old Icelandic or Old Norse. For instance, Icelandic has four cases of noun declension and three genders, and a considerable amount of irregular declensions
Icelandic is spoken by 320 000 Icelanders
Icelandic is not mentioned as the official language of the country in the Icelandic constitution. However, it enjoys a de facto status as such and is the primary language of 97% of the population, which amounts to 320,000 people. Language policy is quite strict, considered a necessity given the small population of speakers. Icelandic is a rather conservative language and does not willingly borrow foreign neologisms; instead the evolution of new concepts has been a strong factor in renovating the language since the 18th century.