Learning Icelandic

Ask IR

Learning Icelandic


Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Q: What resources do you recommend for learning Icelandic?

Can you suggest some resources (website, books, tutorial session, etc.) that will help me develop my writing and speaking Icelandic skills. My aim is to be reasonably fluent (speaking, listening, writing and reading) in Icelandic within six months.



A: Here are a few suggestions:

Icelandic Online is a free resource available via the University of Iceland’s website. The resource is a collaboration of the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies, the Vigdís Finnbogadóttur Institute for Foreign Languages, the University of Bergen, the University of Helsinki and the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.

The Database of Modern Icelandic Inflection (DMII or BÍN) is a collection of paradigms accessible on the website of The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.

By selecting “Search for inflectional form” (Leit að beygingarmynd), any inflectional form can be searched for; e.g., kött, ketti, kattarins, kettirnir, köttunum, kattanna, etc., will return the paradigm for köttur ‘cat,’ and góður, gott, betri, bestur, etc., will return the paradigm for góður ‘good.’

The university runs a number of programs in Icelandic as a Second Language. See here for more information.

You’ll find a comprehensive list of other language courses here. Among them is a three-week intensive course in the West Fjords, held during summer.

Learning Icelandic (text book & grammar exercises) by Auður Einarsdóttir, Guðrún Theodórsdóttir, María Garðarsdóttir and Sigríður Þorvaldsdóttir is a popular resource. Some others are listed here.

Viltu læra íslensku? (‘Do you want to learn Icelandic?’) is a series of 21 television episodes of Icelandic lessons. Each episode deals with daily life and common situations in Iceland. Accompanying every episode is a thorough summary, explaining the subject of the episode.

If you’re abroad, you could try finding a teacher who offers lessons via Skype.

Gangi þér vel!