Faroese Orthography
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Faroese Orthography

Faroese orthography is the method employed to write the Faroese language, using a 29-letter Latin alphabet.

Alphabet

An example of Faroese ?. The usual orthography would be Fuglafjørður.

The Faroese alphabet consists of 29 letters derived from the Latin script:

Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
A Á B D Ð E F G H I Í J K L M N O Ó P R S T U Ú V Y Ý Æ Ø
Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a á b d ð e f g h i í j k l m n o ó p r s t u ú v y ý æ ø
  • Eth ⟨ð⟩ (Faroese edd) never appears at the beginning of a word, which means its majuscule form, ⟨Ð⟩ rarely occurs except in situations where all-capital letters are used, such as on maps.
  • Ø⟩ can also be written ⟨ö⟩ in poetic language, such as Föroyar ('the Faroes'). This has to do with different orthographic traditions (Danish-Norwegian for ⟨ø⟩ and Icelandic for ⟨ö⟩. Originally, both forms were used, depending on the historical form of the word; ⟨ø⟩ was used when the vowel resulted from I-mutation of ⟨o⟩ while ⟨ö⟩ was used when the vowel resulted from U-mutation of ⟨a⟩. In handwriting, ⟨?⟩ is sometimes used.
  • While ⟨c⟩, ⟨q⟩, ⟨w⟩, ⟨x⟩, and ⟨z⟩ are not found in the Faroese language, ⟨x⟩ was known in earlier versions of Hammershaimb's orthography, such as ⟨Saxun⟩ for Saksun.
  • While the Faroese keyboard layout allows one to write in Latin, English, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, etc., the Old Norse and Modern Icelandic letter ⟨þ⟩ is missing. In related Faroese words, it is written as either ⟨t⟩ or ⟨h⟩. If an Icelandic name has to be transcribed, ⟨th⟩ is common.

Spelling system

Glide insertion

Faroese avoids having a hiatus between two vowels by inserting a glide. Orthographically, this is shown in three ways:

  1. vowel + ð + vowel
  2. vowel + g + vowel
  3. vowel + vowel

Typically, the first vowel is long and in words with two syllables always stressed, while the second vowel is short and unstressed. In Faroese, short and unstressed vowels can only be /a/, /i/, /u/.

Glide insertion[1]
First vowel Second vowel Examples
i [?] u [?] a [a]
i, y [i:] [j] [j] [j] sigið, siður, siga
í, ý [?i:] [j] [j] [j] mígi, mígur, míga
ey [?i:] [j] [j] [j] reyði, reyður, reyða
ei [ai:] [j] [j] [j] reiði, reiður, reiða
oy [?i:] [j] [j] [j] noyði, royður, royða
u [u:] [w] [w] [w] suði, mugu, suða
ó [?u:] [w] [w] [w] róði, róðu, Nóa
ú [?u:] [w] [w] [w] búði, búðu, túa
a, æ [?a:] [j] [v] - ræði, æðu, glaða
á [?a:] [j] [v] - ráði, fáur, ráða
e [e:] [j] [v] - gleði, legu, gleða
o [o:] [j] [v] - togið, smogu, roða
ø [ø:] [j] [v] - løgin, røðu, høgan

The value of the glide is determined by the surrounding vowels:

  1. [j]
    • "I-surrounding, type 1" - after ⟨i, y, í, ý, ei, ey, oy⟩: bíða ['b?ija] (to wait), deyður ['d?ij] (dead), seyður ['s?ij] (sheep)
    • "I-surrounding, type 2" - between any vowel (except "u-vowels" ⟨ó, u, ú⟩) and ⟨i⟩: kvæði ['kv?aj?] (ballad), øði ['ø:j?] (rage).
  2. [w]
    • "U-surrounding, type 1" - after ⟨ó, u, ú⟩: Óðin ['w?n] (Odin), góðan morgun! [?wan 'm?n] (good morning!), suður ['su:w] (south), slóða ['slwa] (to make a trace).
  3. [v]
    • "U-surrounding, type 2" - between ⟨a, á, e, æ, ø⟩ and ⟨u⟩: áður ['?av] (before), leður ['le:v] (leather), í klæðum ['kl?av?n] (in clothes), í bløðum ['blø:v?n] (in newspapers).
    • "A-surrounding, type 2"
      • These are exceptions (there is also a regular pronunciation): æða ['?ava] (eider-duck).
      • The past participles always have [j]: elskaðar ['?lskaja?] (beloved, nom., acc. fem. pl.)
  4. Silent
    • "A-surrounding, type 1" - between ⟨a, á, e, o⟩ and ⟨a⟩ and in some words between ⟨æ, ø⟩ and ⟨a⟩: ráða [':a] (to advise), gleða ['le:a] (to gladden, please), boða ['bo:a] (to forebode), kvøða ['kvø:a] (to chant), røða ['?ø:a] (to make a speech)

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Þráinsson, Höskuldur (2004), Faroese: An Overview and Reference Grammar, Føroya Fróðskaparfelag, ISBN 978-9991841854

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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