Icelandic belongs to the Germanic language family, which includes German, English, Dutch and all the Scandinavian languages except Finnish. Most Icelanders speak English, so you’ll have no problems if you don’t know any Icelandic. However, any attempts to speak the local language will be much appreciated. Useful Icelandic Words, right here!

Here are some basic Icelandic words and phrases to get you started during your stay in Iceland. For those who are eager to learn even more, check out the University of Iceland’s free online Icelandic course. First let’s start with some pronunciation tips:

a » like a in father
e » like ai in air
i, y » like i in middle
u » like French eux in deux
ö » like German ö in höher or u in murder
æ » sounds like eye, like i in might
ð » like th in the
þ » like th in thing

Useful words and phrases:
(f » female, m » masculine , p » plural)

Useful Icelandic Words

Where am I? / Hvar er ég?
Welcome / Velkominn (m) Velkomin (f,p)
Hello / Hæ , Halló
How are you? / Hvernig hefur þú það? or Hvað segir þú?
What’s your name? / Hvað heitir þú/þið (p)?
I’m from … / Ég er frá…
Pleased to meet you / Gaman að kynnast þér
Good morning / Góðan daginn
Good night/evening / Gott kvöld
Goodbye / Bless, bæ
Good luck / Gangi þér vel, gangi ykkur vel (p)
Cheers! / Skál! (skaoul)
Have a nice day / Eigðu góðan dag
See ya! / Sjáumst
I don’t understand / Ég skil ekki
Yes /
No / Nei

Greetings in Icelandic

Please speak more slowly / Viltu tala hægar
How do you say …? / Hvernig segir maður…?
How much is this? / Hvað kostar þetta?
Where is…? / Hvar er…?
Excuse me, Sorry / Afsakið, Fyrirgefðu
Thank you / Takk
My pleasure / Mín er ánægjan
Of course / Auðvitað

I love you / Ég elska þig
Where are you going? / Hvert ertu að fara?
Leave me alone! / Láttu mig vera
Help! / Hjálp!
Happy Birthday / Til hamingju með afmælið
What’s your phone number? / Hvað er símanúmerið þitt?
I like you / Ég kann vel við þig, ég fíla þig (slang)
You are cute / Þú ert sæt (f), sætur (m)
Beer! / Bjór!
I am hungover / Ég er þunnur (m), þunn (f)

How much does this cost? / Hvað kostar þetta (mikið)
I would like to buy… / Ég mundi vilja kaupa …
Do you accept credit cards? / Takið þið við krítarkortum?
Open / Opið
Closed / Lokað

Other Icelandic words, phrases and slang:  

Jæja – Useful during awkward silences. Wraps up a conversation fast.

Hæ, hvað segirðu? – Hi, how are you? or What’s up? When you run into someone.

Sko, þú veist – Well, you know (pretty useless filler words but people say them a lot in conversations)  Að djamma – To party

Djammið – This word sums up: going out, meeting people, drinking, partying, clubbing, dancing and so forth.

Þetta reddast! – A typical Icelandic phrase, used in dire situations when things are looking less than great. It means: Everything will be OK! Usually preceded or followed by “já, já” as in yup!

Rúnturinn – Loosely translated: The Roundabout. When people drive around a certain part of the city in a predetermined circle, checking out people and places. Popular among those not who are not old enough to drink or get into clubs.

Borg óttans – The city of fear AKA Reykjavík

Ein með öllu – One with everything: is what you ask for when you order a hot dog in Iceland. This will include ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw and crispy fried onions. Yum!

Namm! – Yum!

Trúnó – The act of drinking and consequently sharing your deepest secrets and sacred feelings with a chosen someone during a night out. We’ve all done it. And yes, it was special.

For more information or questions about specific Icelandic words and/or phrases please use the comment section.

Check this mp3 file and practice what you have learn with this article 😉

You can also check this funny useful phrases with Auður Ösp:

Peter, Iceland24
August 2013