How do you like Iceland(ic)?

Attitudes towards language (use) are omnipresent but often unnoticed. Yet they influence our daily lives. Be it that we call the sound of one language beautiful or not, we lament over the decay of language or that we (unnoticeably) experience advantages and disadvantages by means of certain forms of speaking (Garrett, 2010).

The study of language attitudes is a vital component of sociolinguistics and a “key component of sociolinguistic theory-building” (Garrett, 2001). It can help to find explanations for the underlying motivations of language variation and change and reveal prejudices against or in favor of certain styles of speaking and varieties, stereotypes regarding such varieties, as well as feelings and attitudes towards one’s own way of speaking (Garrett, Coupland, & Williams, 2003; Labov, 1984).

In this session, three language attitudes studies are presented which were conducted as part of the bigger research project Dulin viðhorf – mat á málnotkun. The Dulin viðhorf project started from the notion that conscious and subconscious language attitudes do not necessarily coincide (Kristiansen, 2010). The aims of this project were the examination of subconscious language attitudes of Icelanders towards different aspects of language including two phonological variants (“harðmæli”/”linmæli”), foreign accented speech, and linguistic practices in online environments.


Garrett, P. (2001). Language attitudes and sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 5(4), 626-631.

Garrett, P. (2010). Attitudes to Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garrett, P., Coupland, N., & Williams, A. (2003). Investigating Language Attitudes. Social Meanings of Dialect, Ethnicity and Performance. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Kristiansen, T. (2010). Attitudes, ideology and awareness. In R. Wodak, B. Johnston, & P. Kerswill (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Sociolinguistics (pp. 265-278). London: Sage Publications.

Labov, W. (1984). Field methods of the project on linguistic change and variation. In J. Baugh & J. Sherzer (Eds.), Language in Use (pp. 28-53). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


  • Stefanie Bade: Perception of native and non-native accent in the light of multiculturalism and linguistic purism in Iceland
  • Kristín Ingibjörg Hlynsdóttir & Margrét Guðmundsdóttir: Beauty and the North: Attitudes towards phonological variants in North Iceland
  • Vanessa Isenmann: “Endilega læka fyrir mig :)” – Unconscious attitudes towards informal language use on Facebook

Kontaktperson: Margrét Guðmundsdóttir (