Iceland's mother tongue has a major tech problem.
Many new computer devices do not understand Icelandic, a unique descendant of the Old Norse language filled with ultra-descriptive words such as Hundslappadrifa, or "heavy snowfall with large flakes occurring in calm wind."
This omission is compounding a bigger issue on the North Atlantic island of about 340,000 people.
Icelandic, seen by residents as a source of identity and pride, is losing ground as English becomes the lingua franca of mass tourism and voice-activated devices, the Associated Press reported.
Linguistic experts have warned the language is at risk of dying out in the modern world, particularly as tourism booms and foreign workers find more jobs on the rugged island. Unless the government, educators, families, and tech developers make a concerted effort to preserve Icelandic, it could easily be relegated to history books.
"The less useful Icelandic becomes in people's daily life, the closer we as a nation get to the threshold of giving up its use," Eirikur Rognvaldsson, a language professor at the University of Iceland, told the AP.
When it comes to digital technology, Icelandic is among Europe's least-supported languages, according to a report by the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance. Other tongues at the bottom of the digital heap include Irish Gaelic, Latvian, Maltese, and Lithuanian.
Vehicle GPS units stumble over Icelandic names for streets and highways. So-called digital assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa don't understand the language — though Amazon is apparently looking to hire a linguist who can help develop speech recognition software for Icelandic.
Without these tools, Icelanders will likely resort to speaking English, diminishing the role of Icelandic in their day-to-day speech.
"Not being able to speak Icelandic to voice-activated fridges, interactive robots, and similar devices would be yet another lost field," Asgeir Jonsson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland, told the AP.
Iceland's Ministry of Education estimated it would cost about 1 billion Icelandic krona, or $8.8 million, to create an open-access database that allows tech developers to adapt Icelandic as a language option.
Without such an effort, "Icelandic will end in the Latin bin," former President Vigdis Finnbogadotti told the news agency.