Public talk on the experiences of migrants in learning Faroese and the challenges they faced with respect to labour market access and participation
On Thursday evening, 18 March at 7 pm, Elisabeth Holm, the University of the Faroe Islands, will give a public presentation for English speakers that is based on her PhD thesis: “New Times in the Faroe Islands, New Speakers of Faroese and the Sociolinguistics of Labour Market Inclusion: Challenges and Opportunities”. Her research, which is ethnographic in nature, focuses on the lived experiences of migrants of non-Nordic origin in acquiring, using and becoming speakers of Faroese and the challenges they faced with regard to labour market access and participation. Particular attention will be on the challenges involved in acquiring small languages in a bilingual context in the context of migration and globalisation, the conditions for learning Faroese, the implications of limited language learning opportunities in blue-collar workplaces, and the barriers for newcomers in finding jobs commensurate with their qualifications. Findings show that the constraints that several participants faced appeared insuperable to them, even for those who were most committed to learn Faroese. Therefore, the researcher argues that calls are needed for pro-active policy initiatives to maximise, embed and harness the valuable human resources that newcomers bring to the Faroe Islands.