Expressing the Five Senses In Icelandic Posted by Meg on Feb 28, 2018 in Icelandic grammar
In Icelandic, the “five senses” are called “skilningarvitin fimm,” which is, lovely enough, “the understanding/perception senses”.
The five senses are unchanged in Icelandic (although one might argue that the natives have a flair for seeing those pesky elves we talked about). They are:
- Sjónskyn – Sight
- Heyrnarskyn – Hearing, auditory
- Snertiskyn – Touch
- Efnaskyn – Sense of smell and the sense of taste (“the chemical senses”)
With these sense you can:
Að sjá – to see
Að horfa á – to watch
að stara á – to stare at
að líta á – look at
að blikka – to blink
að líta einhvern (accusative) hornauga – look askance at something
Að heyra – to hear
að hlusta [á eitthvað (accusative)] – to listen [to somebody]
hár – loud
hljóð – NOUN – noise/sound and quiet – this is a peculiar word because it can mean either sound or quiet depending on the context.
hávaði – noise (noisiness)
Að snerta – to touch
This one is fairly straightforward, though often used with the preposition ‘á’. As you see below, one most often uses á when touching an object rather than a person.
— að snerta á einhverju (dative) is to touch something.
–að snerta einhvern is to touch somebody)
að þreifa á e-u – to touch something
mjúkur – soft
hjúfur – rough
Að finna bragð af – to taste of something
This one is a bit strange because taste is expressed indirectly. So one doesn´t “taste” something so much as one finds/perceives a type of taste .
–Þeir finni beiskt og vont bragð af gúrkum
–Ég finn ekkert bragð af matnum.
Að bragðast – something tastes of (e.g., mjólkur bragðast súr – the milk tastes sour)
Súr – sour
Sætur – sweet
Saltur – salty
Hvernig smakkast þetta? – How does that taste?
Smakkar! – it´s good!
Að finna lykt af e-u, að þefa af e-u – to smell something
–Ég finn stanslaust lykt af salti! – I keep tasting salt!
–Hann finnur lykt af blóði – He tasted blood.
Einhverju (dative) lyktar vel/illa – something smells good-bad
— Blómið lyktar vel. – The flower smells good.
Lykt – F – smell
Ólykt – F – stench, odor
Angan – F – pleasant smell
Ilmur – M – aroma
–ilmvatn -N – perfume
Þefur – M – scent
Daunn – M – stench
Stækja – F – a powerful, unpleasant odor
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This is Great. Thank you for sharing.
thank you for this very interesting post. Really good idea to look at words and expressions related to the five senses. Very useful.
I enjoy reading your posts as they cover various aspect of the Icelandic language and culture and help in my learning process.
I am looking forward to reading your future posts !
Þórir Pétur Pétursson:
One mistake I noticed: að hlusta á takes accusative, not dative (e.g. að hlusta á eitthvað, ég hlustaði á hann, etc.)
Just letting you know. Have a nice day 😀
@Þórir Pétur Pétursson Ah, my apologies for the miss! Thank you!