|See you later
|Thanks a lot
|Thanks a lot
|Þakka þér kærlega fyrir
|Thank you for your help
|Takk fyrir hjálpina
|Don't mention it
|Minnstu ekki á það
|Don't mention it
|Ekki málið / Ekkert mál
|Allt í lagi
|How much is it?
|Hvað kostar þetta?
|I don't understand
|Ég skil ekki
|I get it
|I don't know
|Ég veit ekki
|Excuse me, where are the toilets?
|Fyrirgefðu, hvar eru klósettin?
|Excuse me, where are the toilets?
|Afsakið, hvar eru klósettin?
|Happy New Year!
|Gleðilegt nýtt ár!
|Til hamingju með afmælið!
Welcome to this enhanced conversation guide. We've taken a practical approach to help you learn the basics of a language quickly.
We suggest that you start by memorizing practical words and phrases that you can use every day at home and then use when traveling. Practicing saying vocabulary out loud, numbers for example, is a good exercise that can be practiced at any time of the day.
This will get you used to the sounds of a language. And once your vacation begins in Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Akureyri, Reykjanesbær, or anywhere else on this unique and bewitching island, you'll be surprised at how familiar and easy it will already be to understand.
How to learn Icelandic in 10 steps
- Learn the alphabet and pronunciation of sounds. Start by learning the Icelandic alphabet and the pronunciation of letters. This will help you read and pronounce Icelandic words correctly.
- Learn the basics of vocabulary. Start by learning common words and phrases that you can use in everyday conversation. Mastering the specific vocabulary of the language will help you understand the words you hear or see written.
- Practice speaking.One of the best ways to learn a language is to listen to native speakers speak it. Watch YouTube videos, movies, and TV shows. Then repeat the words and phrases to improve your pronunciation. Even just talking to yourself, this exercise practiced regularly will make you progress dramatically (we created a unique tool dedicated to this training).
- Learn the basics of grammar. Like all languages, Icelandic has its own grammatical rules. Learn the basics of Icelandic grammar, such as verbs, nouns, articles and pronouns. This will help you construct simple correct sentences in Icelandic.
- Find a conversation partner. Practice speaking with native speakers or other learners. Use the words and phrases you've learned to introduce yourself, talk about your interests, ask questions, etc. The more you practice, the more you will improve your comprehension and expression.
- Read in Icelandic. Read books, newspapers and magazines in Icelandic to help you better understand the language.
- Find the right teaching resources. There are many books, online courses, apps and websites that can help you learn Icelandic. Choose the resources that suit you and that you feel are appropriate for your level and goals.
- Join a language class with a teacher. Taking a class with a qualified teacher can help you learn the language faster. There are many sites that help you find qualified teachers.
- Anticipate periods of stagnation. After a few months, you'll feel like you're not making any progress: there are always periods of rapid, visible progress, followed by periods when progress is no longer noticeable. The best way to get through these difficult periods is to continue to improve by diversifying your learning sources.
- Be regular and consistent. It is better to spend a few minutes a day practicing than an hour once a week. Learning a new language can take time and patience, but by persevering, you will eventually reach your goal of mastering Icelandic. Keep studying and practicing to improve your skills and reach your learning goals. And never lose sight of this: fun is the best driver of any learning process.
About the language
Icelandic is one of the oldest languages in the world and has remained virtually unchanged since the 9th century. Icelandic originated from Old Norse, which then heavily influenced Old English, and has remained more or less the same for all these centuries. The geographical nature of Iceland has essentially isolated the language, while the other Scandinavian languages have influenced each other and developed quite far from Old Norse.
You'll find that Icelandic has retained many words from Old Norse rather than borrowing words from neighboring languages, so you'll sort of get two languages for the price of one if you decide to study Icelandic!
This is why you will be pleasantly surprised to find many similarities between Icelandic and English. For example, the English word "grass" translates to "fat", "plant" translates to "planta" and the color "green" translates to "grænn".
Learning Icelandic may seem like a daunting task, but you'll find that learning a few basic words and starting to build your vocabulary is easier than you might have imagined. Icelanders take great pride in their language and will be more than happy to help you when you decide to test your Icelandic skills with native speakers!
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the Icelandic language is the dependence of words on context. Are you speaking to a man or a woman? To a stranger or to your best friend? Are you talking about a specific object or about the object in general? The words you use will be different in all of these scenarios.
For example, the word "hestur" (meaning "horse") has 16 different variants, all of which depend on context. Hesturinn, hestarnir, hestinum, hestarnir, hestsins. To make it easier, focus on learning the root words ("hestur" for example) first before learning all the variants.
Once you arrive in Reykjavík, people will understand you perfectly, even if you only know the basic versions of words. As mentioned above, Icelanders love to talk about their language and teach words to foreigners. So they'll be happy to help you expand your vocabulary and add those variants to your arsenal.
Why speak Icelandic when traveling?
Speaking the same language as the locals is always a plus when you travel. So how about speaking Icelandic to visit this country also known as the "Land of Ice and Fire"? A phrase full of promise.
The beautiful scenery, the breathtaking waterfalls, the seemingly endless millennia-old lava fields, the natural hot springs in which you can bathe even on the coldest winter days. The list of reasons to visit Iceland is long. Visiting Iceland is an experience you will never forget, and having a basic understanding of the language before visiting Iceland will make your experience even better. Iceland not only offers incredible nature, it also has a rich and distinct history. Settled in the country around 874, Icelanders have carried on their traditions for about 1,000 years. Heavily influenced by Norse mythology, much of the language comes directly from religion and the traditions that flow from it. A basic knowledge of the language will therefore give you a better understanding of the country's culture and traditions.
The best spot to view the Northern Lights
Iceland is the place to go to see the unique spectacle that is the Northern Lights. The light is beautiful all year round, but these celestial gifts are particularly visible from September to April. Some travelers come to Iceland only for that. What a shame! The country has so much more to offer.
Iceland, lands of serenity
It's hard to make it more exotic! The landscapes are superb as far as the eye can see: nothing better to seem to be alone on Earth, to refocus and feel the midnight sun, so special.
Glacier, mountains, volcanoes, hot springs are also a real treat.
Don't forget to take a little selfie with the cute Icelandic horses, brought by the early Vikings and major assets of the island's culture and history.
Don't leave the country without trying skyr, Iceland's famous sweet-tasting yogurt. Consider trying kjötsúpa, a lamb soup. In addition, the country is famous for its fish, both dried and raw, rye bread and fermented shark.
How to get good Icelandic pronunciation within a week to a month
To get started, use our list of helpful phrases and repeat them several times a day.
Then, dedicate time each day to your learning. Being diligent and consistent is crucial to making rapid progress. Don't hesitate to review what you've learned regularly to better memorize it.
To improve your pronunciation, practice listening and repeating words and phrases with our unique "Read Aloud" tool.
Here are some tips on how to pronounce Icelandic correctly:
the unaccented A is pronounced a, but should be pronounced ao when it has an accent;
- the Ɖ/ð is pronounced th;
- the E is pronounced é;
- e Ö is pronounced eu, while Ó is pronounced au;
- the R is pronounced rolled and becomes rt when placed before an L or N;
- the Ú shall be said or;
- the þ is pronounced th;
- the Æ is pronounced aï.
Alphabet > Icelandic
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