Icelandic Language Blog

Grammar vocabulary Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m starting to learn Swedish with the help of “Sænsk málfræði” (Swedish Grammar) by Sigrún Helgadóttir Hallbeck. I checked it out at the city library, and as I find grammar textbooks the easiest thing to read in Icelandic, I decided to put up a word list here.

The example sentences are actual sentences taken out of the Swedish textbook, so you can see how the words are used. If you go to Iceland to learn Icelandic in a serious class like the BA course at the University of Iceland, you’ll need to know these words because they’ll be teaching you entirely in Icelandic (and your textbooks will most likely be in Icelandic too).

Sérhljóð – vowel
Samhljóð – consonant
Samhljóðasamband – consonant combination
Áhersla – stress/emphasis as in “In Icelandic the stress is on the first syllable of a word”.
Nafnorð – noun
Kyn – gender. I’ve already showed this in an earlier post, with karlkyn (masculine gender), kvenkyn (feminine), and hvorugkyn (neuter).
Ákveðinn greinir – definite article (the word “the”). Indefinite article (the words “a, an”) is the same but “óákveðinn” instead.
Brottfall – elision and apocope. Example, “gamall – gamlar”. The second l involves apocope.
Beyging – “bending”, conjugating and declining. You can tell what “beygingarendingar” means.
Föll – cases.
Lýsingarorð – adjective.
Sagnorð – verb.
Atviksorð – adverb.
Aukafall – oblique case (þolfall, þágufall eða eignarfall). Nefnifall isn’t in the “aukafall” group.

There’s the main ones. Now for some example sentences:

Flest orð, sem eru karlkyns og kvenkyns í íslensku, eru samkynsorð í sænsku.
Most words that are masculine and feminine in Icelandic are common gender in Swedish. (samkyn is both masculine and feminine genders, but not neuter. I looked it up real quick and supposedly it’s called “common gender”?)

Nafnorðum er skipt niður í 5 beygingarflokka eftir því hvaða endingar þau fá í fleirtölu.
Nouns are divided into 5 declination groups according to which endings they get in (the) plural.

Ef nafnorðið er hvorugkynsorð, fær lýsingarorðið endinguna -t.
If the noun is a neuter word, the adjective gets the -t ending.

Skrifaðu í eyðurnar fleirtölumyndina af orðunum til vinstri.
Write in the blanks the plural form of the words to the left.

Swedish is a lot easier to learn than Icelandic in terms of grammar. For the most part there’s just two cases instead of four, and there’s two genders instead of three. Verbs don’t conjugate according to person. Scandinavian (Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian) are the easiest Nordic languages for English-speakers to learn, then Faroese, Icelandic, Finnish, and (hardest) Greenlandic. Greenlandic is partially the hardest because there’s almost no modern learning materials for it, most are in Danish and from before their orthography reform.

Here’s an in-complete (and in the case of Greenlandic and Faroese, possibly wrong) Swadesh list for the main Nordic languages. If you have corrections, let me know so I can fix it. The words chosen might not be the most common word used but are the ones that sound most similar (and still mean the same) as in the other languages.

Tags: ,
Keep learning Icelandic with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: sequoia

I try to write about two-thirds of the blog topics on cultural aspects and one-third on the language, because there's much more out there already on the language compared to daily life information. I try to stay away from touristy things because there's more of that out there than anything else on Iceland, and I feel like talking about that stuff gives you the wrong impression of Iceland.