Icelandic Language Basics

Icelandic For Beginners

The language of Iceland is called Icelandic. Related to the other Scandinavian languages, Icelandic is usually considered the closest living relative of Old Norse, which is where they all come from. This is because Iceland has been so incredibly isolated through the centuries, and so the language has not been influenced to the same extent by other languages.

Icelanders take great pride in their language, for instance there is a great effort to invent Icelandic names for new things, such as tölva, the word for computer, or körfubolti, for basketball.

Almost all Icelanders speak pretty good English, especially the younger generation, but they do enjoy it when you learn a phrase or two of Icelandic.


Icelandic phrases

Here are some fun Icelandic phrases you can try to learn:


Good day! - Góðann daginn! (Gouwthann dayinn!)

thanks. - Takk. (Tack.)

How much is this? - Hvað kostar þetta? (Kvath kostar thetta?) 

[While gesturing] I will have one of these. - Ég ætla að fá einn svona. (Yeg aetla ath fauw eidn svona.)

Excuse me/ I'm sorry - Fyrirgefðu. (Firir-gev thu)

One. Two. Three. Many - Einn. Tveir. Þrír. Margir. (Eidn. Tveyr. Threer. Mar-gir)

Where is ... ? - Hvar er .... ? (Kvar ar ... ?)

Coach - Rúta (Rootah)

Food - Matur (matur)

Oh look, that volcano there is erupting - If you find yourself in this situation just run away screaming. They'll get it.