Your Trip to Iceland: The Complete Guide SEE FULL GUIDE prev next Best Tours in Iceland Top Northern Lights Tours Seven-Day Iceland Itinerary 48 Hours in Reykjavik Day Trips From Reykjavik Top Things to Do in Iceland Best Beaches in Iceland Hiking in Iceland How to See the Northern Lights Best Icelandic Hot Springs Skiing in Iceland Top Things to Do in Reykjavik Free Things to Do in Reykjavik Reykjavik's Best Museums Shopping in Reykjavik Guide to the Blue Lagoon Food to Try in Iceland Best Restaurants in Reykjavik Top Reykjavik Bars Craft Beer in Iceland Best Time to Visit Weather & Climate Top Places to Visit in Iceland Keflavik International Airport Guide Best Hotels in Reykjavik Driving in Iceland Tipping in Iceland Staying Safe in Iceland Helpful Words and Phrases Your Trip to Iceland: The Complete Guide close Overview Europe Iceland Icelandic Phrases for Travelers Written by Terri Mapes Facebook Twitter Terri Mapes specializes in giving first-time Scandinavia visitors practical tips for their travels. Tripsavvy's Editorial Guidelines Terri Mapes Updated 05/01/20 Fact-Checked by Reviewed on 05/01/20 Jillian Dara Facebook Twitter Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today 10Best, Michelin Guide, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Jetsetter. About TripSavvy Fact-Checking Jillian Dara Share Pin Email Arctic-Images / Getty Images There is virtually no language barrier for English-speaking visitors to Iceland. Icelandic business executives and government officials are fluent in English and almost all Icelanders speak English to some degree. However, if you want to flatter some Icelanders with a modest attempt at a few words, check out the following common words you might want to use or need on your trip. Before You Begin Icelandic is a Germanic language, like other Scandinavian languages, and is closely related to Norwegian and Faroese. Icelandic is more distantly related to German, Dutch, and English. As it shares ancestry with English, there are many cognate words in both languages; which means each has the same or similar meaning and are derived from a common root. The possessive, though not the plural, of a noun, is often signified with the ending -s, as in English. The vast majority of Icelandic speakers—about 330,000—live in Iceland. More than 8,000 Icelandic speakers live in Denmark. The language is also spoken by about 5,000 people in the United States and by more than 1,400 people in Canada. Pronunciation Guide When trying to pronounce words in Icelandic, some knowledge of a Scandinavian language is useful. Compared to English, the vowels are different, however, most consonants are pronounced similar to English. The Icelandic alphabet has kept two old letters which no longer exist in the English alphabet: Þ, þ (þorn, modern English "thorn") and Ð, ð (eð, anglicised as "eth" or "edh"), representing the voiceless and voiced "th" sounds (as in English "thin" and "this"), respectively. Below is a guide to pronunciation. Letter Pronunciation in English A "a" sound in father E "e" sound in bed I, Y "i" sound in little U "ü" sound in German für or "u" sound in French tu Æ "æ" sound in eye ö "ö" sound in German höher or "eu" sound in French neuf ð "th" sound in weather (voiced th) þ "th" sound in thord (unvoiced th) Common Words and Greetings Iceland is not a society with many cultural rules, and Icelanders are generally informal with each other even in a business setting. That said, here are some common words any "outlander" might want to learn: English Word/Phrase Icelandic Word/Phrase Yes Já No Nei Thank you Takk Thank you very much Takk fyrir You're welcome þú ert velkominn/Gerðu svo vel Please Vinsamlegast/Takk Excuse me Fyrirgefðu Hello Halló/Góðan daginn Goodbye Bless What is your name? Hvað heitir þú? Nice to meet you Gaman að kynnast þér How are you? vernig hefur þú það? Good Góður/Góð (male/fem.) Bad Vondur/Vond (male/fem.) Words for Getting Renting a car to see the land is a popular way to sightsee. However, do not drive recklessly or show off your driving skills. The locals will not be impressed. Also, do not drive too slowly as this can also create a dangerous situation. And whatever you do, do not stop in the middle of the road if you want to take a picture. Pull over first. English Word/Phrase Icelandic Word/Phrase Where is ...? Hvor er ...? One ticket to ..., please Einn miða til ..., (takk fyrir). Where are you going? Hvert ertu að fara? Bus Strætisvagn Bus station Umferðarmiðstöð Airport Flugvöllur Departure Brottför Arrival Koma Car rental agency Bílaleiga Hotel Hótel Room Herbergi Reservation Bókun Spending Money Instead of a generic Iceland mug or t-shirt, a nice souvenir from Iceland could be hand-hewn volcanic rock jewelry or a bottle of Brennivin hard liquor. Also, keep in mind that tipping in Iceland is not expected and in some cases can be insulting. Service is factored into the cost already. English Word/Phrase Icelandic Word/Phrase How much does this cost? Hvað kostar þetta (mikið) Open Opið Closed Lokað I would like to buy ... Ég mundi vilja kaupa ... Do you accept credit cards? Takið þið við krítarkortum? One einn Two tveir Three þrír Four fjórir Five fimm Six sex Seven sjö Eight átta Nine níu Ten tíu zero núll The 9 Best Iceland Tours of 2021 Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Going to Norway? 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