BBC HomeExplore the BBC

28 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Other languages Languages

BBC Homepage
Languages
» European Languages
Languages
Countries
Family Tree
Definitions
Sources
Credits
 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Icelandic, Íslenska

Related languages Icelandic is part of the North Germanic branch of languages, and so is most closely related to Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Faroese.
European speakers 280,000 speakers
Territories Icelandic is spoken in Iceland, where it is the official language.
Alphabet Icelandic is based on the Latin alphabet, with the addition of Þ, ð, æ, á, é, í, ó, ú and ö.
First examples Icelandic developed into a distinct Scandinavian language around the 12th century. The texts that date from this period are religious manuscripts and records. In the 13th century, the first original Icelandic prose, the sagas, are produced.
Other facts Since 1925 Icelanders have been obliged by law to give their children patronyms: surnames created by the addition of -son (son) or -dóttir (daughter) to either the mother or the father's name. Therefore almost all Icelanders have a surname such as Benediiktsson (son of Benedict), Olafsdóttir (daughter of Olaf), Gudmundsdóttir (daughter of Gudmundar).

Key Phrases
Já.
Yes.
Nei.
No.
Velkomin!
Welcome!
Gaman að hitta þig.
Pleased to meet you.
Hallo.
Hello.
Bless.
Goodbye.
Takk fyrir.
Thank you.
Ég heiti ...
My name is ...
Talar þú ensku?
Do you speak English?
Því miður, ég tala ekki íslensku.
I'm sorry, I don't speak Icelandic.
Ég þarf hjálp.
I need help.
Fyrirgefðu, hvar er klósettið?
Where is the toilet, please?

These audio clips require Flash.


Countries of Europe Countries Languages of Europe Languages
 


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy