Icelandic FAQs

A list of frequently asked questions concerning Icelandic and learning Icelandic. If you don't find the answer to your question, please get in touch, we're happy to help!

Where is Icelandic spoken?

Icelandic is the official language of Iceland. Other communities of Icelandic-speaking people can be found in Denmark, the USA, and Canada.

Being a conservative language, spoken on a relatively remote island, that used to be quite isolated, Icelandic is not spread very wide outside Iceland.

How many people speak Icelandic?

Aside from a little over 300,000 Icelandic speakers in Iceland, it is spoken by about 8,000 people in Denmark, 5,000 people in the United States, and more than 1,400 people in Canada, notably in the region known as New Iceland in Manitoba which was settled by Icelanders beginning in the 1880s. Unfortunately, no data is available on the number of people learning Icelandic as a second language.

What makes Icelandic difficult to learn?

Icelandic is often considered to be one of the hardest languages to learn. While the difficulty of the language is somewhat exaggerated, there are a few peculiarities that can make it hard to learn.

The more challenging aspects include the noun and adjective inflections (3 genders and 4 cases, irregular morphology), and some finer points of Icelandic pronunciation. The complex system of inflections is typical to other Scandinavian languages and can seem daunting but can be mastered if you put in the work.

Is Icelandic similar to Norwegian?

Icelandic is an ancient Norse Viking language. It's an old Germanic language that Norwegians used to speak in the past. The Norwegian language has developed, changed and was extensively influenced by other languages over the past thousand years. Icelandic has not. In fact, Icelanders are often asked to read old Norse script to translate as the old language is so far away from the current Norwegian language.

The two languages still share quite a lot of similarities, and speakers of Icelandic and Norwegian can understand each other in every-day situations if they speak slowly and clearly.

Is Icelandic a Germanic language?

Icelandic belongs to the North-Germanic languages, which is a subgroup of the Germanic languages.

This subgroup is also often called the Scandinavian languages, in which Icelandic forms the western group together with Faroese and Norwegian (in particular, spoken Norwegian dialects). Based on the geographical classification, Icelandic belongs to the Insular Scandinavian language together with Faroese.

Icelandic Vocabulary Books

Learn Icelandic - Quick / Easy / Efficient

Learn Icelandic - Quick / Easy / Efficient

This vocabulary book is a curated Icelandic word frequency list with 2000 of the most common Icelandic words and phrases. Following the Pareto principle (80/20 rule), this book is built to streamline the learning process by concentrating on the core words and sentence structures. The result is a unique book ideal for driven learners and language hackers.
Icelandic Vocabulary Book

Icelandic Vocabulary Book

This Icelandic vocabulary book contains more than 3000 words and phrases and is organized by topic to make it easier for you to pick what to learn first. It is well suited for learners of all levels who are looking for an extensive resource to improve their vocabulary or are interested in learning vocabularies in one particular area of interest.

Icelandic Flashcards

Flashcardo is our new flashcard website which we will improve step by step over the coming months and years. If you want to get notified when we make major changes, please sign up using this link. To check out the flashcards, click on the link below.

Free Learning Resources