hypersleep asked: I've been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to say you post such wonderful pictures and articles. I have never been to Iceland but I love what I am seeing of this wonderful island and the language (sadly there are no courses as I would really like to learn it one day :)). Wish you a wonderful day and a cheerful christmas time! Flo
Thanks and I hope you do visit.
There are several online alternatives available to learn Icelandic as well as courses in Iceland and a few universities around the world. Check out these previous posts about Icelandic for some examples.
Today is „dagur íslenskrar tungu“ or “The day of the Icelandic tongue” (in Icelandic we use „…“ instead of “..” as quotation marks).
You can celebrate this day by learning a word in Icelandic.
Anonymous asked: Where can I find a english-icelandic dictionary?
There are two paid online alternatives. Snara is popular in Iceland, but appears to be only focused on Icelandic users. Orðabók.is is another alternative and is appears to be available with an English user interface. I have used neither.
There is an Icelandic Wiktionary. It is far from complete, but I use it every once in a while.
Just right now I stumbled across a new online dictionary. The University of Wisconsin has an Icelandic language site with an Icelandic-English/English-Icelandic dictionary.
If you want real books, then you can of course get them in Icelandic bookstores. There are a few available, both pocket and fullsize dictionaries.
Nammi.is sells a pocket dictionary online.
Forlagið is one of Iceland’s largest publishers. They have a bunch of dictionaries available on their website. Unfortunately their website is only in Icelandic, but I looked at their check out form and it offers worldwide shipping. This is their typical school English-Icelandic dictionary.
Iceland’s largest bookstore, Eymundsson, has a pretty awful website and not in English. But they have a few dictionaries and say the ship internationally. This one seems to be the most complete, this is one that’s been around forever and is popular, this is the same that Forlagið offers and here’s one more.
Mennt er máttur!
No that is not keysmash, that is a real word in Icelandic. Well kind of… In Icelandic you can create very long conjunctions of words. A simple example would be “apple tree”. In Icelandic you would say “eplatré” which is a conjunction of “epli” and “tré”. Conjunctions like these can generally be made longer. Let’s say you have a specific ladder only used to climb apple trees. This “apple tree ladder” could be called “eplatrésstigi” and if it were made of wood it you call it a “eplatréstréstigi”. I’m pretty sure nobody has ever said that word before, but it is a valid word.
That’s how what is often referred to as the longest word in Icelandic came about: “Vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur”. The meaning of the word is: “Key ring of the key chain of the outer door to the storage tool shed of the road workers on the Vaðlaheiði plateau”. You could easily lengthen the word by being even more specific.
halcyonstorm asked: Hello :) I was wondering, how much trouble would someone have either visiting long term or moving to live in Iceland permanently if they spoke only English and no Icelandic?
Pretty much everybody in Iceland speaks good English, so getting by on English alone is generally easy. Of course if you are thinking within the workplace, then that varies. Depending on your line of work, there are plenty of companies that have non-Icelandic speaking employees. Tourism, software as well as plenty of labor jobs.
You might also want to check out several answers to questions regarding moving to Iceland.
Anonymous asked: I'm looking to travel to Iceland in the summer of 2013 and one of my main concerns is not speaking the language. I speak English and German and have some foundation level Polish, but hailing from Australia I have no exposure to any of the scandinavian tongues. If I want to travel independently will this be a problem? Should I put in the time to learning some Icelandic, or after just one year would I be no better off? Thanks for your help, I love your blog.
Don’t worry about language at all. Virtually all Icelanders are fluent in English.
Still it is possible to learn Icelandic like this guy did. But for you it would be plenty to learn a few friendly phrases. You could also learn “every single word in Icelandic”.
Anonymous asked: What language do the people spek there
We speak Icelandic.
Anonymous asked: Hae! May I ask you to tell me that is the word áttavitar related with the number 8? btw tuttugu is a funny number but níutíu is almost as töff Takk Fyrir!
Áttavitar is the plural of áttaviti, which means compass. Áttaviti is a conjunction of two words, átt (direction) and viti knower/teller/indicator), thus “direction indicator”. If you were to spell out the number eight in Icelandic, it would be átta. I actually don’t think there is any relation between the átta (8) and átt (direction).
If you on the other hand think about the relations between the Icelandic words and their English counterparts you can find connections. “Eight” and “átta” are clearly related although quite different, just as most if not all of the numbers. Einn = one, tveir = two, þrír = three, fjórir = four, fimm = five, sex = six, sjö = seven, átta = eight, níu = nine and tíu = ten. The two languages lie on two different branches of the Germanic language tree.
Tuttugu (20) is a pretty funny sounding number I suppose. Níutíu simply means “nine ten”. You might like “þrettán” (13) as well, pronounced something like “threat-town” with a strong th beginning and a strong rolling r. “Þrettánhundruðsextíu og tvö” is the year that “tíu þúsund” cubic kilometers of ash erupted from Öræfajökull.
"Blindur er bóklaus maður.
[Blind is a man without a book.]"
— Icelandic Proverb (via nicelandic)