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faroese (z/ or z/; faroese: føroyskt mál, pronounced [ˈføːɹɪst mɔaːl]) is a north germanic language spoken as a first language by about 72,000 people, around 49,000 of whom reside on the faroe islands and 23,000 in other areas, mainly denmark. it is one of five languages descended from old west norse spoken in the middle ages, the others being norwegian, icelandic, and the extinct norn and greenlandic norse. faroese and icelandic, its closest extant relative, are not mutually intelligible in speech, but the written languages resemble each other quite closely, largely owing to faroese's etymological orthography.