I need some help learning a new language (Icelandic)

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Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bowien" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1411645">Bowien</a>
Joined: 06.02.2019
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I would love to learn Icelandic,
but I have no idea how to start.

Does anyone of you have some tips for either starting a new language or how to learn Icelandic?
Please let me know! I would really appreciate it.

Thank you in advance


Editor ♥
<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

Hej Bowien! This is usually where I recommend people to start with Duolingo, but Duolingo doesn't have Icelandic. Maybe a good place to start would be watching the basics on youtube.

I've found some good videos for you:

And this channel seems okay too.

Editor ♥
<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

You might also be able to find some lessons on Memrise, and there may even be some teachers on iTalki, though this isn't free.

I also found this site, but I didn't check it out too much.

This site was recommended to someone on a Duolingo forum post about learning Icelandic

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/bowien" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1411645">Bowien</a>
Joined: 06.02.2019

Thank you so much!
I'll check it out for sure!

Moderator and earthbound misfit
<a href="/en/translator/icey" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1172336">Icey</a>
Joined: 05.04.2013

Icelandic online, linked by Sam, is usually the most recommended site to learn Icelandic. It's shaped by the University of Reykiavík, in collaboration with the government and it's used by many universities as some sort of language certification of basic knowledge (e.g. there are a few programs for foreigners held in the university of Reykiavík to which you can't access if you haven't passed the first 1 or 2 levels of that website). So that would be a great starting point.

As you speak Swedish, I also link you this vocabulary:
It's the best online resource I've found so far for Icelandic, and it's linked to this website: which shows all declinations and conjugations for every word.

Editor ♥
<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

Everywhere I looked recommended Icelandic online. I’m not interested in learning Icelandic but I did look it over and it does look very useful.

Of course, visiting Iceland and immersing yourself in the language helps too but I understand financial constraints Regular smile

Master of none
<a href="/en/translator/kimmoo" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1213387">Ambroisie</a>
Joined: 16.07.2014

Halló! As someone who's been self-studying Icelandic since 2016, I feel like I can provide some insight. This is by no means the best approach (and I'm still far from fluent, so I think that proves that it's certainly not the best approach), but this is an approach that worked for me. Prepare for a wall of text.

Vocab building, grammar exercises
I started out with vocab on Memrise. However, a couple of years later, I've come to the conclusion that Memrise is okay for building some basic vocab. I can now say that I prefer this one. It's free and offered by the University of Iceland. It's not perfect, but in my experience, it's the best one out there. It offers exercises and links to an Icelandic dictionary, a grammar tool and an Icelandic-English dictionary on the side, so you can always look up things if you're stuck. They also link to a resource centre, where you can find different things, such as a pretty detailed PDF on grammar. Also, to help with vocab building, I've been keeping a notebook in which I write down every Icelandic word I did not know before with its translation. A recent example: as I was translating X by Hatari, I came across the word holskefla, which I did not know. I came to learn that it means something like 'breaker', so I went and wrote that down in my notebook so I'll never forget. 

Also worth noting: Icelandic has a lot of inflection. So, erm, be prepared for that. I find this tool particularly helpful. It conjugates both verbs and tells you the declensions of nouns and adjectives. It's a really handy tool.

Listening comprehension
Icelanders speak fast. Plus, their enunciation is often virtually non-existent, so you want to start out with simple, slow shows and go from there. If you go to the website of Iceland's public broadcast, you'll find a section called "KrakkaRÚV", which is basically the kid's section, where they tend to speak slower, more clearly and in simpler terms, which is great for a learner. Now, I can imagine that as an adult, you don't really want to watch kiddie shows, but there are a couple of shows that aren't as childish. Take for example Krakkafréttir, which is the news in Icelandic, explained in simpler terms for children. Under most of their videos, they have a transcript of the script the anchor is reading,which is just great and I appreciate that a lot. Also, those scripts are excellent for vocabulary building. After looking it up in the dictionary, you get the pronunciation and an example sentence with it. Sometimes I look up a word and still don't know how to use/pronounce it, so having context is wonderful.

I haven't figured that one out yet either, really. I've been self-studying Icelandic for all this time and I don't know anyone who speaks Icelandic, so I can't really get feedback on my spoken or written Icelandic. However, that doesn't mean you can't practise your pronunciation. I've been using a method of which I don't even know if it's a legitimate method, but it works for me. Basically, I take a transcript of some sort of spoken Icelandic. That could be the transcript from Krakkafréttir or just a song in Icelandic. I first read along to what they're saying and I try to 'mirror' their accent. Not repeat, but I want to achieve the same pronunciation and intonation. Preferably, I also record myself reading out the transcript and listening back to it to spot any mistakes. With this method, I noticed that I pronounced my Rs in words like hreinn weird and I've been working on improving that. I don't know my success rate for that in Icelandic, but I've been doing the same for Swedish in uni and French in high school and I definitely noticed that my grades improved by using that method.

That's just how I go about learning Icelandic. You can get some tips to start off, but ultimately, you need to adopt a method that works best for you. Gangi þér vel! 

<a href="/en/translator/hcol" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1420950">Hcol</a>
Joined: 08.05.2019

I work in a similar way to Ambroisie and have been learning Icelandic since 2015 starting before my visit to Iceland in 2016. I have used and re-used Icelandic Online, their dictionary and resource centre, Memrise and these video lessons:
I also use an Icelandic dictionary here (not really for beginners):; where you find definitions in Icelandic + pronunciation. there are several videos for beginners on You tube also.
In addition I have joined an Icelandic knitting group on face book where I learn lots of everyday expressions and can practise a little communication with the other members.
I also use the Word reference Forum where i can find native speakers to help with things I can't find out for myself.
Of course it's not easy to practise speaking, it's not an easy language either but it helps to practise using a centre of interest like music, TV etc. It depends how much time you want to devote to learning.

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