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The most obsure question ever?? Icelandic pronunciation

The most obsure question ever?? Icelandic pronunciation

May 20th, 2004, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 309
The most obsure question ever?? Icelandic pronunciation


This may be the most obscure question ever posted on the site! I was wondering if anyone out there could help me with the pronunciations of some basic words and expressions in Icelandic--please, thank you, do you speak English, etc.

Please: afsakid (d is not really a d but looks like a cross between a d and an a with a short diagonal line cutting across the top)

Thank you: takk fyrir

Excuse me: fyrirgefou (accent grave over the o)

Do you speak english?: Talardu ensku (d in talardu as above)

I don't understand: Eg skil ekki

I have a pronunciation guide to the letters in my guidebook, but I'd like to know about emphasis, etc.

Amy, are you out there?


Patti is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,701
Hi, Patti!

The only Icelandic I know is that the "pregnant P" is pronounced as a th sound; that's about all I've needed as English is spoken fluently. As Icelandic is an old and "pure" language, the Icelanders seem quite resigned to no one else--not Finns, Swedes, or Norse, let alone Americans, knowing it. (Not that I wouldn't like to learn it, but I haven't really heard much of it spoken...)

Oh, Iceland itself--Island--is pronounced as Ees-luhnd, as is the Reykjavik hotel of the same name.

Sorry I couldn't help...maybe someone less phonetically challenged will be able to!

Amy is online now  
May 20th, 2004, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Here's a page that explains the pronunciation of the thorn (pregnant p) and eth (crossed d) letters:


Icelandic has some similarities to Old English, and also to current Scandinavian languages.
WillTravel is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,954

The TravLang website has Icelandic for travelers that you can hear on your computer. In my experience the voices they use are authentic native speakers, though I wouldn't be able to verify how authentic the Icelandic is.

Go to http://www.travlang.com/languages/#
StCirq is online now  
May 20th, 2004, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 725

Amy is right- you don't need to speak any Icelandic to get by. I spent one week there with absolutely no problems. Usually, when I travel to Europe I want to at least know the polite words. That said, I have some Icelandic CD's of folk music - don't know the words but I enjoy the beautiful voices!
rj007 is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 05:23 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 309

Thanks Amy for your help yet again on all things Icelandic. Their tourism board should be paying you!

Thanks WillTravel and St. Cirq--I'll check out those websites.

I'm the same as you rj007--I'd just like to know how to say please and thank you as a courtesy, and I don't want to mangle pronunciation too much.

I'm leaving for Iceland on July 1. I can't wait! I'll post a trip report when I get back.


Patti is offline  
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