It has been a matter of honour to Icelanders that they possess an ancient language which has changed very little, making it possible for them to read and understand their early literature. Their efforts to protect their language, clear it of foreign words and the focus on new words formed out of existing Icelandic word stems have come from this.
The Icelandic language is a matter close to people’s hearts: people debate whether it is right to say something this way or that, there are language features on the radio and in the newspapers, and specialists work actively to translate each specialist term in their area, in so-called word-clusters. Many people think this language policy is going too far, often talk of a “language police” in this respect, and point out that the finest people do not dare to open their mouths in the fear of speaking incorrectly and at risk of being admonished by more qualified speakers.
It is safe to suggest that most agree that the Icelandic language should be preserved with as little change as possible, whilst they realize how difficult it can prove to prevent the use of loan words in a period of computer growth and technological development. Technology brings an English language influence which people find concerning and against which opposition is attempted, but it is perhaps more difficult still to stand in the way of cultural influences which, in the opinion of some, have become substantial.
Some new word formations (Neologisms)
Sjónvarp: television (lit. vision-cast);
útvarp: radio (lit. out-cast);
tölva: computer (lit. counter);
helgi: weekend (lit. holy)
A few loan words
Djús is used for the ‘proper’ Icelandic ávaxtasafi (“juice”),
að fila e-ð for að njóta e-s (“to feel something”),
bæ-bæ for bless (“bye-bye”), and
okei for allt í lagi (“okay”).