Faroese and Icelandic began to be recognized as separate from their Old Norse mother language after the writing of the sagas (the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries), but at first they were considered as one, both called ‘Icelandic’. After the Protestant Reformation arrived in the Faroes around 1540, Danish became the primary language of the Faroes, used in government, church, and school. Faroese writings (never extensive) ceased to exist, and the spoken language retreated to the farms and fishing villages. In 1846 Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb, in his work Færøsk Anthologi, rescued Faroese from anonymity and christened it det færøske sprog ‘the Faroese language’. In 1948, the Danish Folketing ‘Parliament’ granted home rule to the Faroese Islands (still part of the Kingdom of Denmark), and Faroese became the official language, Danish the first foreign language.
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