The Icelandic Language

Icelandic belongs to the Indo-European (North Germanic or Nordic) languages and is spoken in Iceland. Outside of Iceland, Icelandic is spoken by roughly 8,000 speakers living in Denmark, just over 5,000 speakers in the USA and more than 2,000 speakers in Canada. Its closest relatives are the Nordic languages Faroese, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish, but Icelandic has retained more of the inflection of its ancestor, Old Icelandic or Old Norse. For instance, Icelandic has four cases of noun declension and three genders, and a considerable amount of irregular declensions.


Icelandic is spoken by 320 000 Icelanders

Icelandic is not mentioned as the official language of the country in the Icelandic constitution. However, it enjoys a de facto status as such and is the primary language of 97% of the population, which amounts to 320,000 people. Language policy is quite strict, considered a necessity given the small population of speakers. Icelandic is a rather conservative language and does not willingly borrow foreign words; instead the coining of new words has been a strong factor in adapting the language to the evolution of new concepts since the 18th century.


Icelandic belongs to the
Indo-European languages
and is spoken in Iceland.