The famous Sagas of Iceland are hundreds of years old but locals can still easily read them today.

The famous Sagas of Iceland are hundreds of years old but locals can still easily read them today.

Y ou may well fault us for bragging all the time about the unworldly beauty of the landscape of Iceland but we know you´ll come around as soon as you yourself spend serious time on this fair island in the Atlantic.

Fact is, we should actually be bragging a lot more than we do. For where else do you find such tiny population with such remarkable history. History that has influenced events in much larger nations all across the globe. What respectable institution, college or university of note does not have the Sagas of Iceland on offer? How many other nations have held Norse mythology to such esteem. How many realize it was an Icelander and not Columbus that “discovered” North America? Et cetera, et cetera.

Yes, we do punch well above size and should you care to know more you would do well to learn but the very basics that sets the Icelandic alphabet apart from all others on the planet. You see, if we were somehow to meet the ancient Vikings again only Icelanders would be able to strike up a conversation right away. Norwegians, the Swedes and the Danes, where Viking history is also deeply rooted would today just mumble and sweat like a teenager getting the first kiss.

Thus we proudly list below a few local letters you can brag knowing about at the next party.

Þ / þ = This fine solid letter is sometimes mixed with the letter p by foreigners. They have nothing in common. Þ is pretty much the equivalent of the English TH. The word THORN goes pretty close to how you pronounce Þ but with less emphasis on the R. More like THONN.

Ð / ð = Another beautiful letter we have and is likewise close to the English TH. However, this is TH like you would use in words like father.

Ö / ö = This is another difficult letter for many but perhaps the simplest would be to compare it to the English word for rush. The Ö could substitute the U in rush and would be understandable like rösh.

Æ /æ = This is the local version of the English i. Instead of saying I want to… you could say Æ want to and it sound exactly the same.

We also have quite a lot of vowels with special accent like á, ó, é, ú and ý. These do NOT mean they are stressed like many think. Rather a and á mean two different things. For example, to say you have something in Icelandic it would suffice to say: Ég á (I have.) But á itself can also mean other markedly different things. “Á” on a local map would mean a river and this letter could in other circumstances mean a sheep to name but a few .

Well, this is not a language course so we will almost stop here. As a farewell gift take a look at the hotel booking box below. There you can look for hotels and other accommodations in the country of Iceland but this time we have made it in Icelandic. Take a look and see if there are some words or sentences you may well understand knowing rougly what they mean beforehand.