The Faroese language is a North Germanic language, which means that it belongs to one of the three branches of Germanic languages. This language group is also sometimes referred to as the Nordic or Scandinavian languages. Faroese is spoken as a native language by about 66,000 people. Of this total, 45,000 reside on the Faroe Islands and 21,000 in other areas, mainly Denmark. Faroese is one of the four languages that descended from the Old West Norse spoken in the Middle Ages, with the other three being Norwegian, Icelandic, and the extinct language Norm.
Faroese and Icelandic are close relatives - while not mutually intelligible in speech, their written languages largely resemble each other. The Faroese alphabet consists of 29 letters that are derived from the Latin script. In terms of phonology, Faroese language closely follows several other Germanic languages. Stressed vowels are long when not followed by two or more consonants, whereas two consonants or a consonant cluster usually indicates a short vowel. Like English, Faroese also feature very atypical pronunciations of its vowels. Grammatically, Faroese is very similar to modern Icelandic and Old Norse, as it is an inflected language with three grammatical genders and four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive.