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Pronunciation Guide

Icelandic inflections are difficult to get the hang of, but rules of pronunciation are relatively straightforward. Stress usually falls on the first syllable of each word. The Icelandic alphabet has 36 letters, with 12 vowels. Two consonants, the eth (ð) and the thorn (þ,), were borrowed from Old English. For the most part, Icelandic letters are pronounced as in English; the most notable exceptions are listed below. For a free online lesson in Icelandic pronunciation, visit www.travlang.com/languages.

Vowels

á ow as in plow

é ye as in yellow

i, y i as in big

í, ý ee as in teen

ó o as in tone

ö i as in whirl

ú oo as in pool

æ i as in wine

au uh-ee, as in hurry(without the h or rr)

Consonants

ð th as in bathe

þ th as in thought

dj j as in junk

hv kv as in kvetch, but softer

j y as in yes

ll ddl as in cuddle

r rolled, as in Spanish

Basic Vocabulary & Phrases

Yes --

No -- Nei

Hello -- Hallo or Góðan daginn

Goodbye -- Bless

Excuse me -- Fyrirgefðu

Please -- Vinsamlegast or Takk

Thank you -- Takk or Takk fyrir

You're welcome -- Þú ert velkominn

Do you speak English? -- Talar þú ensku?

I don't understand -- Ég skil ekki

My name is . . . -- Ég heiti . . .

What is your name? -- Hvað heitir þú?

Nice to meet you -- Gaman að kynnast þér

Cheers! -- Skál!

Where is the . . . ? -- Hvar er . . . ?

Tourist information office -- Upplýsingaþjónustu fyrir ferðafólk

Toilet -- Snyrting

Bank -- Banki

ATM -- Hraðbanki

Restaurant -- Veitingahús

Bus -- Strætisvagn or Rúta

Airport -- Flugvöllur

Post office -- Pósthús

Police station -- Lögureglustöð

Pharmacy -- Apótek

Hospital -- Sjúkrahús

Doctor -- Læknir

Help -- Hjálp

Left -- Vinstri

Right -- Hægri

North -- Norður

South -- Suður

East -- Austur

West -- Vestur

Map -- Kort

Passport -- Vegabréf

How much is it? -- Hvar koster þetta?

Do you have . . . -- Hefur þú . . .

Do you have any vacancies? -- Eru herbergi laus?

Room -- Herbergi

Reservation -- Bókun

Sleeping bag/sleeping bag accommodation -- Svefnpoka/svefnpoka gisting

Today -- Í dag

Tomorrow -- A morgun

Open -- Opið

Closed -- Lókað

Numbers, Days & Months

Zero -- Núll

One -- Einn

Two -- Tveir

Three -- Þrír

Four -- Fjórir

Five -- Fimm

Six -- Sex

Seven -- Sjö

Eight -- Átta

Nine -- Níu

Ten -- Tíu

One hundred -- Eitt hundrað

One thousand -- Eitt þúsund

Monday -- Mánudagur

Tuesday -- Þriðjudagur

Wednesday -- Miðvikudagur

Thursday -- Fimmtudagur

Friday -- Föstudagur

Saturday -- Laugardagur

Sunday -- Sunnudagur

January -- Janúar

February -- Febrúar

March -- Mars

April -- Apríl

May -- Maí

June -- Júní

July -- Júlí

August -- Ágúst

September -- September

October -- Október

November -- Nóvember

December -- Desember

Glossary of Geographical Terms

Icelandic place names are usually pieced together from local geographical features and other landmarks. The village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, for example, means "Church Farm Cloister," while Jökulsárgljúfur is "Glacial River Canyon." Farm names are usually inspired by nearby topography; Rauðaskriða, for instance, is surrounded by slopes of red scree (rauða skriða). Identifying the components of place names provides a key to local environments, both scenically and historically, as you travel through Iceland.

á -- river

alda -- ridge of several hills

bær -- farm, small settlement

bakki -- riverbank

berg -- rock, cliff

bjarg -- cliff

brekka -- slope, scree

brú -- bridge

bruni -- lava

dalur -- valley

djúp -- long coastal inlet

eiði -- isthmus

ey -- island (plural eyjar)

eyri -- spit of land, point

fell -- hill, mountain

fjall -- mountain, (plural fjöll)

fjörður -- broad inlet or fjord

fljót -- wide river

flói -- large bay

foss -- waterfall

gil -- gorge

gjá -- fissure

gljúfur -- canyon

gnúpur -- steep mountain, promontory

hæð -- hill

háls -- ridge

heiði -- heath, moor

hlíð -- mountainside

höfði -- promontory, headland

höfn -- harbor

hóll -- rounded hill (plural hólar)

hólmur -- small island

hraun -- lava flow

hver -- hot spring

jökull -- glacier

jökulsá -- glacial river

kirkja -- church

klauster -- cloister

klettur -- cliff, crag (plural klettar)

laug -- hot spring (plural laugar)

múli -- headland

nes -- headland, peninsula, point

ós -- estuary, mouth of river

reykur -- smoke, steam

sandur -- sands, beach

sjór -- ocean, sea

skagi -- peninsula, cape, headland

skarð -- mountain pass

sker -- rocky islet, reef, skerry

skógur -- woodland, scrubland

skriða -- scree, rockslide

staður -- place, stead (plural staðir)

stapi -- crag

tangi -- spit of land, point

tindur -- peak

tjörn -- small lake, pond

tunga -- spit of land, point

vað -- ford

vatn -- lake, water (plural vötn)

vegur -- path, road, way

vellir -- plains (singular völlur)

vík -- small inlet, bay, cove

vogur -- inlet, creek, cove

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.