Can I speak English in Iceland

What languages ​​are spoken in Iceland?

The Icelandic language

Icelandic, the official language of Iceland, is an Indo-European language of the North Germanic languages. The language is closely related to Faroese and Norwegian, with minor differences resulting from Celtic influence in ancient Icelandic literature. Iceland as a country is isolated and has linguistic homogeneity. It never had multiple languages. In the past, Gaelic was the native language of early Icelanders. Icelandic is not only the national identity of Icelanders, but also the official language of the country as adopted, but their constitution in 2011. Also, Icelandic Sign Language, as in 2011, is the official minority language.

Origin of Icelandic

The Icelandic language is one of the Germanic languages. This northern German subgroup had five languages: Norwegian, Faroese, the extinct language of Norn, Greenland Nordic, and Icelandic. However, Icelandic is more Faroese than Norwegian, and the Faroese spelling is similar to Icelandic.


Icelandic is a fairly insular language, so other languages ​​didn't affect it. The language had barely changed by the 9th and 10th centuries when Iceland settled. Norwegian was similar to Icelandic, but from the 14th century onwards it was increasingly influenced by neighboring languages ​​such as Swedish and Danish. The resistance of language to change is so exclusive that today's speakers can understand texts and scripts like sagas from the 12th century.

In the 18th century, Danish influence almost threatened the integrity of the language. Under Danish rule, Danish became a minority language in the country. The Icelanders, however, dispelled the threat by continuing to use Icelandic for literary purposes. Other factors that contributed to the Icelanders' victory over Danish were: Icelanders were scattered all over the place. As much as Danish ruled Iceland, the country's geographical remoteness has long discouraged the settlement of Danish, and the Danish language is linguistically different from Icelandic.

Even as the Scandinavian languages ​​began to decline in influence in Europe, Icelandic kept the old Scandinavian grammar in an almost authentic form. The native Bible developed Icelandic further. However, the language was restricted until the 19th century when Iceland came together as a nation and Scandinavian scholars rediscovered it. A strict orthography along etymological lines was established and today Icelandic is very different from other Scandinavian languages.

Modern Icelandic

In terms of grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, modern Icelandic has preserved the Scandinavian language in the best possible way. The language has retained its three genders: male, female and neutral. The four cases for nouns; Accusative, dative, nominative and genitive still exist. Although the language borrowed some terms from Celtic, Latin, Danish, and Roma, the 19th century linguistic purism replaced foreign words with Icelandic forms. Icelanders prefer to choose new words rather than foreigners. For example "Tolva", computer in Icelandic was made up of two words "Tala", the number and "Volva" conjuring up a witch or fortune teller, so computer to Icelanders means a witch of the numbers "Islenska" invented in the 16th century describes Icelandic mother tongue.

Origin of the foreign languages ​​of Iceland

Icelandic has survived unchanged for many centuries, although some features were carried over from the Gaelic language. The country maintained linguistic homogeneity for a long time, but with the advent of the northern trade routes, the linguistic environment was to change. The traders, merchants and clergymen introduced English, German, French, Dutch and Basque to Iceland. Swedish and Danish are not actually foreign languages ​​as they are close to eastern Scandinavia.

Iceland has a population of approximately 332,529. About 93.2% of this population speaks Icelandic. Despite the purism of language, Icelanders know what is critical about international and foreign languages. Therefore, English and any other Scandinavian language are compulsory in the Icelandic education system. Danish is standard due to its historical connections with Iceland and today 0.31% of the total population is Danish. English, the second choice, is valued for its status as an international language. About 0.32% of the population speaks English. German is usually the third language in which 0.31% of the population converse in it. The local Polish community is the largest minority in Iceland, with 2.71% of the people in Iceland speaking Polish.

rankLanguage% Of the population speaks the language

Author: Tracy Montgomery

Tracy Montgomery is a 27 year old journalist. Communicator. Analyst. Twitter lover. Thinker. Beer fanatic. Proud organizer. Devoted zombie fan.