What do Icelanders speak?

Icelandic Trivia

If you mean content then we mostly talk about ourselves, how fresh our water is, how clean our air is, how strong our men are, how beautiful our women are or how ultra badass the Mountain is on Game of Thrones. He is, by the way. But, if you mean language then the answer you seek is Icelandic.

 

What do Icelanders speak?

We speak Icelandic

Icelandic is one of the oldest languages still spoken in Europe and has undergone only slight change from its origin as Old Norse allowing every literate Icelander to be able to read the old viking sagas with ease. It’s a Germanic language that is considered both ancient and modern, and is the official language of the Republic of Iceland.

 

How many people speak Icelandic?

Over 97% or about 310.000 of the inhabitants of Iceland speak Icelandic as a primary language. Additionally, Icelandic is spoken by several thousand people in the other Nordic countries, as well as about 20.000 people in the United States and Canada. It is an endangered language but Iceland has continued restless efforts to preserve it by translating the majority of all major written works published to Icelandic, such as all major texts by William Shakespeare, educational texts and even modern literature such as A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The Icelandic government is also active in stimulating the invention of new modern words such as “snjallsími”(smartphone) or even “geimgengill”(skywalker).

 

What does Icelandic sound like?

I like to think of my own speech as romantic, charming, soothing and even inspiring but, according to what I’ve heard from foreign visitors, I sound more like I’ve taken Spanish and Swedish, mashed it together and thrown it through a meatgrinder before preparing with a dash of Finnish. It’s a much harder tongue compared to the more melodic speech of the other Nordic countries.

 

Can you teach me Icelandic?

No, I don’t think either of us have the time or patience for that. But what I can do is show you a few words and phrases that might give you an edge over the other visitors when you do travel to Iceland.

 

Greetings

Halló (Hal-lo) - You can probably figure out what this means.
Góðan Daginn (Go-than-dye-in) - Good Day
Gott Kvöld (Got-Kvauld) - Good Evening
Blessaður (Bless-ath-err) - Used for greeting a male friend
Blessuð (Bless-uth) - Used for greeting a female friend

 

Farewells

Bless (Bless) - Bye
Bæ (Bye) - Bye
Sjáumst (Sh-ao-um-st) - See you later

 

Useful Words & Phrases

Matur (Ma-tour) - Food
Viltu koma djamma? (Vill-tu-kom-a-de-yam-a) - Do you want to come party?
Get ég fengið reikninginn? (Get-Yea-g-fang-ith-rayk-nin-ginn) - Can I have the bill?
Afsakið (Af-sah-kith) - Excuse me
Takk fyrir (Taak-fyr-ir) - Thank you

 

I'm going to stop here cause I'm starting to doubt my ability to write the pronunciation correctly. If you do want to learn more Icelandic online then I recommend these sites:

Icelandic Online - An Icelandic website established and maintained by the University of Iceland

101 Languages

 

Góða skemmtun!

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What do Icelanders speak?