Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research17:2 (Fall 2007). Copyright ©2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A curious phonological feature of North American Icelandic is flámceli ("skewed speech"). The term refers to the apparent mergers of two sets of front vowels: on the one hand (1) and (E), and on the other hand (Y) and (ö). Flámceli was widespread in certainly one of the areas of Iceland that witnessed considerable emigration to North America in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and was brought to the New World in the speech of the immigrants. It was found in three regional dialects of Icelandic up until the last few decades when, through official efforts, it was eradicated since the mergers created homonyms that were considered to cause communication problems.