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Icelandic: The official language of the smallest country

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10 facts about the Icelandic language

01

Icelandic is a North Germanic language that is a native language of most citizens in Iceland, and it is spoken by around 314,000 people, primarily the residents of Iceland.

02

Icelandic is most strongly connected to the Faroese, the now extinct Norn, and Western Norwegian languages.

03

Unlike most other Germanic languages, Icelandic is more traditional to its Indo-European language roots.

04

Icelandic preserves a four-case synthesized grammar and features a large number of unusual conjugations.

05

Icelanders can comprehend traditional Old Norse writings from the 10th to 13th centuries because the written language has not altered significantly.

06

Icelandic is significantly closely related to Faroese. Both languages have nearly identical phrases, but their speaking forms are not comparable.

07

Icelandic is also spoken by 5,000 people in the USA, 8,000 in Denmark, and over 1,400 people in Canada.

08

Several of the writings found in Icelandic were centered on literature and legislation that was passed down verbally for generations.

09

The well-known Icelandic Sagas are renowned for the literature produced from the twelfth century and on.

10

Ancient Icelandic was a western dialect of Old Norse; it was used for the well-known Icelandic Sagas.

Iceland

Origin of the language

The Icelandic language originated in Norway.

Iceland

History of the language

It is thought that the Icelandic language came into existence in the 9th century.

Iceland

Learning the language

An English speaker will need about 1100 hours to learn Icelandic.

Icelandic language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Icelandic:
Hello: Halló
Good: góður
Bad: slæmt
New: nýtt
Old: gamall
Goodbye: bless
Boring: leiðinlegur
Beautiful: falleg
Happy: ánægður
Sad: dapur

Quotes

The thing about Iceland is that we are trapped there anyway, all of us. We have been trapped there for thousands of years.

Baltasar Kormákur

Actor, producer and writer

We thought it was drops of dew and kissed, cold tears from the cross grass.

Jónas Hallgrímsson

Folklore writer and poet

It’s a pity we don’t whistle at one another, like birds. Words are misleading. I am always trying to forget words.

Halldór Laxness

Writer and Nobel Prize winner

Fun facts about the Icelandic language

Alphabet in Icelandic

The Icelandic language has 32 letters; it contains the same Latin letters of the English alphabet as well as letters unique to the Icelandic language: á, æ, ð, é, í, ó, ö, þ, ú, and ý

Inhaling sentences

It is fairly typical to hear a sentence in Icelandic uttered on the inhalation rather than pausing in speech.

Terms and phrases not recognized in English

In Icelandic, numerous terms and expressions are not available in and difficult to translate into English, such as gluggaveður, which means "window weather."

Altered language

Icelandic is a modulated language with altering terms such as an article, person, accent, case or numeral.

Original language

Rather than use foreign terms for objects, a new word is created by repurposing an old one. For example, "computer" is called tölva, which means number oracle.

No similarity with English

In Icelandic, the suffix “-s” is frequently used to indicate the genitive, but not the plural, of a word.

Importance of language

The Icelandic language has persisted for a very long time without being influenced by other languages which highlights the value of language.

Identity of one of the smallest countries

The language is distinctive in that it embodies the identity of one of the world's smallest countries.

Confusing sounds of letters

Non-Icelandic people confuse the letters "Þ þ" with "p," but it is supposed to sound like "th" as in path.

Complex grammar

Icelandic's complicated grammar is another distinguishing aspect of the language. In addition to the active and passive voices, there is a middle voice.

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