Iceland4Me

The Icelandic Language

Iceladic is one of the Germanic languages. It developed from the Norse speech brought to Iceland by settlers from western Norway in the 9th – 10th centuries. Old Icelandic is the language of the sagas and other medieval poems. In grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, modern Icelandic is the most conservative of the Scandinavian languages; modern Icelanders can still read Old Norse sagas. Icelandic once borrowed words from Danish, Latin, and the Celtic and Romance languages, but a purist movement that began in the early 19th century has replaced most of these loanwords with words formed only from Icelandic elements.

Pronunciation:
Icelandic has characters in its alphabet that may seem quite foreign to some. Here’s a quick guide to help with your pronunciation

  • Ð (capitalized)/ ð (lower case): called “eth” and pronounced like the “th” in there.
  • Æ/æ: called, “aye” and pronounced like the “i” in Iceland.
  • Ö/ö: pronounced like the “u” in further or murky.
  • Þ/þ: called “thorn” and pronounced like the “th” in thin.
  • Á/á: pronounced like the “ou” in ouch.
  • É/é: is like a normal “e,” but with a subtle “y” before it. For instance, the Icelandic word for company is, “félag” and is pronounced like “fyelag.”
  • Í/í: pronounced like the “ee” in eat.
  • J/j: are pronounced like a y in ‘yell’. Example, Jon in Icelandic sounds like “Yone”
  • Ó/ó: pronounced like the “o” in open.
  • Ú/ú: pronounced like the “o” in move.

Icelandic phrases

EnglishÍslenska (Icelandic)
WelcomeVelkomin(n)
HelloHalló, Góðan dag(inn) Sæll (>m) Sæl (>f)
How are you?
I’m fine.
Hvað segir þú? Hvernig hefur þú það?
Allt fínt, ,Bara fínt
Long time no seeLangt síðan við höfum sést
What’s your name?
My name is …
Hvað heitir þú?
Ég heiti …
Where are you from?
I’m from …
Hvaðan ertu? Hvaðan kemur þú?
Ég er frá …
Pleased to meet youGaman að kynnast þér / Gaman að hitta þig
Good morning/afternoonGóðan daginn, Góðan dag
Good eveningGóða kvöldið
Good nightGóða nótt
GoodbyeVertu blessaður (>m) Vertu blessuð (>f), Bless (inf), bæ
Good luckGangi þér vel!
Cheers!Skál!
Have a nice dayHafðu það gott
Bon appetit (Have a good meal)Verði þér að góðu
Bon voyage (Have a good journey)Góða ferð
I don’t understandÉg skil það ekki
Please say that againGætirðu sagt þetta aftur? Gætirðu endurtekið þetta?
Please speak more slowlyGætirðu talað hægar?
Please write it downGætirðu skrifað þetta niður
Do you speak Icelandic?
Yes, a little
Talar þú íslensku?
Já, smávegis
Excuse meAfsakið! Fyrirgefðu!
How much is this?Hvað kostar þetta?
SorryFyrirgefðu
Thank youtakk (inf), þakka þér fyrir
Where’s the toilet?Hvar er klósettið?
Will you dance with me?Viltu dansa við mig?
I love youÉg elska þig
Get well soonLáttu þér batna
How do you say … in Icelandic?Hvernig segir maður … á íslensku?
Leave me alone!Láttu mig í friði!
Help! Fire! Stop!Hjálp! Eldur! Hættu!
Call the police!Náið í lögregluna!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New YearGleðileg jól og farsælt komandi ár
Happy EasterGleðilega páska
Happy BirthdayTil hamingju með afmælið
One language is never enoughEitt tungumál er aldrei nóg

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