Icelandic Language and Literature

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course is an introduction to the study of the Icelandic language and literature. The linguistic part focuses on basic notions of Icelandic grammar, vocabulary and language use. The literary part offers an overview of Icelandic literary history with special focus on significant authors, works and genres.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will develop basic communicative skills in Icelandic. They will be able to understand and use simple sentences in everyday contexts. They will know the most important aspects of the Icelandic literary history, will be able to analyse texts in the Italian translation and discuss them with reference to the historical and cultural background.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
According to the norms applied in second semester, lessons can be held either in classroom and/or on the web, live and/or registered, through Teams and Ariel, according to the timetable. The calendar will be defined and published on Ariel before the course starts. An active participation from students is highly recommended.
Course syllabus
Aimed at absolute beginners, the course consists in two sections, dedicated respectively to Icelandic literature (part A) and to Icelandic language (parts B and C). Part A consists of 10 lessons in the course of the term. Part B and C are one after the other, with two lessons per week (10 lessons for each part).
Students will attend parts A+B for 6 ECTS; they will add part C for 9 ECTS. MA students who take the course for the second time are required to contact the teacher for an individual syllabus.
Part A is conceived as an introduction and provides a general overview of the social, cultural and literary development of Iceland, from the Age of Settlement to the present day with particular emphasis on the aspect of urbanization and the transition from a rural, sparsely inhabitated country to a þéttbýli (a densely populated area), that left a deep mark on the Icelandic people.
Parts B and C aim to present the morphological, grammatical and syntactic aspects of Icelandic, to stimulate linguistic understanding in the reading process and build an essential vocabulary for everyday usage.
This course programme is valid until February 2022.
Prerequisites for admission
None. Classes and exams are in Italian. The reading list is partially in English.
Teaching methods
Teaching methodologies: frontal and online lessons; short home assignments; reading and analysis of literary works both during classes and individually; individual study of critical contributions.
Teaching Resources
Reading list and materials for part A:
NB Detailed and complete information will be available on the Ariel platform at the beginning of the course.
- M. Ciaravolo (ed.), "Storia delle letterature scandinave", Iperborea 2019, all the paragraphs on Iceland: pp.19-104; 132-137; 195-201; 238-247; 371-377; 489-510; 719-729; 842-844; 881-884; 936-940.
Primary texts:
- Gestur Pálsson, Promessi sposi, from Sole di mezzanotte, La Spiga, Milan 1930, pagg.135-193 (available in pdf on Ariel)
- Halldór Laxness, Il concerto dei pesci, Milan, Iperborea, 2007
- Sjón, Mánasteinn. Il ragazzo che non è mai stato, Federico Tozzi editore, Saluzzo, 2019
- Halldór Laxness, La base atomica, Milan, Iperborea, 2014
- Hallgrímur Helgason, 101 Reykjavík (film)

One article to choose from
- Nannini Sofia, The City as a Gravel Pile: Building Codes, Concrete, and Urban Dwellings in Reykjavík (1903-45), in corso di pubblicazione (available in pdf on Ariel)
- Bjarni Reynarsson, The planning of Reykjavik, Iceland: three ideological waves - a historical overview, in «Planning Perspectives» 14:1, 1999, pp. 49-67 (available in pdf on Ariel)
- Heiða Jóhannsdóttir, Under the Tourist Gaze: Reykjavik as the City that Never Sleeps, in The Cultural Reconstruction of Places, Ástráður Eysteinsson ed., University of Iceland Press 2006, pp. 111-121 (available in pdf on Ariel)
Reading list and materials for parts B and C:
- A. Einarsdóttir, G. Theodórsdóttir, M. Garðarsdóttir e S. Þorvaldsdóttir, Learning Icelandic, Reykjavík, Mál og menning 2001 (and reprints), + exercise book
Part B: chapters 1-8; Part C: chapters 9-15
- Additional materials available on the Ariel platform

The complete reading list will be available on the Ariel platform at the beginning of the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an individual discussion with questions by the teacher, student/teacher interaction, and comment and analysis of texts included in the reading list and materials.
Before the oral exam, there will be a short preliminary written test in order to assess the student's knowledge of the Icelandic language. The written test lasts ca. 90 minutes and consists of a reading comprehension test, a short composition (max 200 words) and/or question/answer exercises to assess linguistic skills at level A1.
The written test will take place during the course (at the end of units B and C; exact dates will be made known during the course) or immediately before the oral exam, on the same day. Students must pass the written test (18/30) in order to access the oral exam. Students can reject the mark of the written test and repeat it on a following occasion.
In case a written test in class is not feasible, students will be tested orally also in the language part (Units B and C).
The discussion is in Italian and its duration varies according to the number of didactic units. The aim of the discussion is to ascertain: 1) that the student knows the Icelandic literary history and distinguisches the various aspects of Icelandic history, culture and society presented during classes, as well as being able to analyse the literary texts of the syllabus with reference to their authors and contexts; 2) that the student possesses adequate presentation and discussion skills, uses technical terminology correctly, is able to discuss themes critically and in a personal way.
The final mark follows the 30-point system and is calculated on the basis of the results of the written test and the oral exam, approximately in the following ratio:
exam for 6 ECTS: 30% written test, 70% oral exam.
exam for 9 ECTS: 50% written test, 50% oral exam.
The student can reject the final mark (which will be registered as "ritirato" in this case).

International or Erasmus incoming students are required to contact the teacher as soon as possible. Students with SLD are required to contact the teacher to plan specific exam activities according to the instructions of the office in charge.
Unita' didattica A
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)
on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:00 to 13:30
to be defined