Scandinavian Studies in Germany with a Special Focus on the Position of Old and Modern Icelandic

Scandinavian Studies today are divided into (at least) three areas, which should ideally also be represented by their own chairs at the universities, if one wants to cover the subject as broadly as possible. Likewise, the four languages, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, should be offered to a certain extent. Scandinavian Studies, however, belong to the so-called “small subjects”, and financial and personnel resources are often limited. In addition, the federal states (Bundesländer) have an influence on the equipment of the universities. The subject of Scandinavian Studies can therefore be structured very differently at the individual universities. It is largely undisputed that foreign language skills are an important factor in promoting international understanding. As well, language skills are an absolute foundation in all aspects of a philological subject. Nevertheless, language teaching at universities is generally under pressure, and questions arise about its justification. This is true for both modern and ancient languages. In our article, we mainly describe the positions of Old and modern Icelandic within Scandinavian Studies, which differ greatly. This is mainly due to traditions within Scandinavian Studies and the institutions at which they are taught. Considerations are made regarding the legitimacy of these areas and their connections with other parts of the subject.

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