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Icelandic

Photo courtesy of Diego Cupolo

Quick Facts

 

Total Worldwide Speakers: 243,840

 

Language Family: Indo-European, Germanic, Scandinavian

 

Spoken in:
 
Iceland

 

History:
 

Icelandic is the closest of the Northern Germanic languages to Old Norse and it is possible for Icelandic speakers to read the Old Norse sagas in the original without too much difficulty. The first permanent settlement in Iceland was established by Vikings from Norway and Celts from the British Isles in 870 AD. The main language of the settlers was Old Norse or the Dǫnsk tunga (Danish tongue). A number of great literary works - the sagas - were written by Icelanders during the 12th and 13th centuries. These sagas, many of which were the work of unknown authors, were written in a language very much like Old Norse. The greatest known authors from this period were Ari the Learned (1068-1148) and Snorri Sturlson (1179-1241). From 1262 until the 15th century, Iceland was governed by Norway, then the Danes took over. During the periods of Norwegian and Danish rule, Norwegian and Danish were used in Iceland, to some extent. In 1944 Iceland gained its independence and Icelandic was revived as an official and literary language.

 

 

Sources: TheEthnologue & Omniglot

Web-Based Resources

Web-Based Software

Mango Languages LogoMango Languages is available free to all Saint Michael's students, faculty, and staff in a number of languages. Each Mango lesson is focused on practical, common conversation skills and includes instruction on vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture.

For assistance with Mango, please see the Getting Started with Mango Languages guide.

 

 

Web-Based Links

 
BBC Languages — Icelandic

BBC Language is an online base language learning software that offers resources for Chinese, Spanish, French, English, and many more languages. Learn the basics of 36 different languages and the culture as well!