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The official language in the Faroe Islands is Faroese. Faroese derives from Old Norse and is closely related to Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish.
Danish is the second language in the Faroe Islands and practically everyone can speak and write Danish. Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish are understood and spoken by many Faroese, and most people are capable of communicating in English too.
It is possible to carry out research work and give lessons to bachelor students in the Faroe Islands without acquiring knowledge of Faroese. However, Faroese is the working language at all research institutions, and learning Faroese will help you to integrate more easily professionally and privately.
Evening schools around the country administrated by the municipalities offer classes in Faroese for foreigners.
All foreigners with a residence and work permit have the right to participate in a 20 hours course in Faroese at an evening school free of charge.
In Tórshavn courses in Faroese free of charge are offered for Scandinavians and for residents from countries outside Scandinavia.
The Evening School in Tórshavn also offers a continuation course of 40 hours for English-speaking foreigners. This course is not free of charge.
Not all municipalities offer classes in Faroese for foreigners.
Further information on courses for foreigners in Tórshavn: The Evening School in Tórshavn.
The University of the Faroe Islands (Fróðskaparsetur Føroya) offers two continuous bachelor level courses in Faroese language for foreigners.
The aim of the courses is to give students insight in the Faroese language and language use. Focus is mainly on speaking, listening and reading, and partly also on writing.
The courses are designed as distance education but the students have the opportunity to meet at the beginning, halfway through and towards the end of the course.
Two BA level courses are available. Entry requirements for the first level are an upper secondary education diploma or equivalent qualification. Applicants for the second level must have completed the first level or a summer course in Faroese. Each course lasts one semester.
Further information: Faroese for Foreigners.
International Summer Institute
An International Summer Institute in Faroese language and culture is held at the University of the Faroe Islands every second year in August. The duration of the course is three weeks.
The participants in the summer institute are students and others with a general interest in the Faroe Islands. An upper secondary education diploma or equivalent qualification is required.
The academic programme includes lessons of Faroese grammar and language exercise in addition to lectures on linguistic subjects, culture, oral poetry, modern literature, society and nature.
The next International Summer Institute in Faroese will be in August 2016.
Further information: Faroese Summer Institute 2014.
Nordic Summer Course
A Nordic Summer Course in Faroese language and literature is held at the University of the Faroe Islands in June most years. The course if offered by Nordkurs, an institution run by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The course is intended for students of Nordic languages at Nordic universities.
The course includes lessons of Faroese language, literature and culture. The duration of the course is three weeks.
The next Nordic Summer Course will be in June 2016.
Further information: Nordkurs (in Swedish).
It is possible to attend private courses in Faroese language arranged by linguistic experts. Private courses may be arranged for groups of foreigners with the same background or for individuals.
Host institutions can provide inform you about lingage teachers offering private courses for foreigners and in some cases the institution will pay for the course.
The Faroese publishing firm Stiðin has developed a language course presented in English, “Faroese – A Language Course for beginners”, consisting of a textbook, a CD and a grammar book. The material can be purchased in bookshops. The audio material is freely available here: Faroese Course.
A pictorial dictionary developed by the Faroese school book publisher Nám can be downloaded here: Pictorial Dictionary.
An online encyclopedia with interactive pictures and audio material that can translate between Faroese and a number of other languages is available here: Lexin.