Alternative name(s): IJslands (nl), isländska (sv)
Language family: Indo-European
Language Group: Germanic
Geographical use: Iceland
Information: Icelandic developed from Old Norwegian, the language of the vikings who visited Iceland in the 9th century. Despite Danish rule between 1380 and 1918, the Icelandic language was little or not influenced. Even today Icelandic differs little from Old Norwegian. Only the pronunciation has changed. Icelandic people can speak and understand Old Icelandic without any problem. The Roman alphabet was borrowed together with christianity around the year 1000. The letters ð and þ as well as æ and ö were maintained.
Modern Icelandic is the most conservative of all Scandinavian
languages. It has three genders and four cases (nominative, accusative,
genitive and dative). The verbs have three persons. Also in vocabulary,
Icelandic is conservative. New scientific and technical terms were not
borrowed. Instead new Icelandic compounds were created. New words are
also created, but always based on original Icelandic words.
There are around 250,000 speakers.