You are on page 1of 4

Icelandic Alphabet Pronuciation

Upper case Lower case Name


a
A a a
B b be
D d de
D e
E e e
E e e
F I eII
G g ge
H h ha
I i i
I i i
J j jo
K k ka
L l ell
M m emm
N n enn
O o o
O o o
P p pe
R r err
S s ess
T t te
U u u
U u u
V v vaII
X x ex
Y y ypsilon y
Y y ypsilon y
orn



Letters which are not part oI the Icelandic alphabet, but are used in Ioreign words are:
Upper case Lower case Name
C c se
Q q ku
W w tvIalt vaII

The Iinal letter, Z, is no longer used in Icelandic. The only place you might Iind this letter is in historic
names oI structures, orginisations, and the like, such as Verzl (a school in Reykjavik), or in the
Icelandic newspaper, Morgunblai.
Upper case Lower case Name
Z z seta
[edit] How the letters are pronounced
Letter !planation
A is like "a" in "bar", "tar" and "car"
A is like "ou" in "house", "about" and "shout"
B same as in English (Brazil)
D same as in English (Diary)
D is like "th" in "Ieather", "Iather" and "that", but as the last letter oI a word it represents /.
E same as in English except that it's always short, like in "bed" and "end"
E
is like "ye" in "yet" (used to be spelled in Icelandic "je" and is pronounced the same, see "j" and "e"
in Icelandic)
F same as in English (From)
G
like "k" in "wick" at the beginning oI a word, between a vowel and -l, -n; / / aIter vowels, beIore a,
u, , r, and when it's the last character oI a word; like "ch" in Scottish "loch" aIter vowels and beIore
t, s; like "y" in "young" between vowel and -i, -j; dropped between a, a, o, u, u
H same as in English (Hello)
I is like the Iirst "i" in "inside" and "impossible"
I like an English "ee" and the "i" in "Maria" and the "y" in "diary"
J is like "y" in "yes", "Yahweh", "Yoda" and "yikes"
K same as in English (King)
L same as in English (Love)
M same as in English (Mom)
N same as in English (Never)
O like "a" in "all" and "o" in "bolt"
O is like "o" in "sole" and like "oa" in "goat" and "soap"
P
generally same as in English (Peter), but can be soIter, like somewhere between an English "b" and
"p"
R
non-existent in English except Scottish English, virtually identical to a Spanish "r", Irom the very
Iront oI the mouth
S same as in English
T same as in English
U virtually identical to a German "" ("oo" in "Ioot" or "good")
U like English "oo" as in "zoo"
V same as in English
X same as in English
Y exactly like Icelandic "i", it's only a matter oI spelling
Y exactly like Icelandic "i", it's only a matter oI spelling
like "th" in "thunder", "theatre" and "thong"

is like the name oI the letter "i" in English or in "icy" (hi/h & bye/b are the same in English and
Icelandic)
like German "" and English "u" in "urgent" or "Iur"
Notes"
# and $ are pronounced similarly. Also, Icelandic words never begin with D/, and no words
end with /.
I and % share the same pronunciation, as do & and ' also.
h( is pronounced as )(.
A double LL will sound very odd to a learner oI Icelandic. Say an English l, but then Ilatten
your tongue. It will sound like you are about to spit Irom the Iront oI your mouth. This sound
will be heard much harder in the northern part oI the country and a bit soIter in Reykjavik
Double LL. (An explanation Irom another person). II you say a word like Iceland (though this
may diIIer Irom person to person) there might Iorm a small clicking noise Irom the side oI your
cheek when you come to the L. Ice-*click*-land.. Well, it sounds very similar to the Icelandic
double LL to me, only the Icelandic one is slightly harder, and isn't accidental, as I suspect
people aren't trying to make this click sound when they say Iceland. Also note that LL isn't
always pronounced this way. It is equally often (even though I know nothing oI that)
pronounced similarly to the English double LL, as in hello or hell
Double LL is pronounced tl.
In Icelandic, the * is trilled, though not as much as Spanish or Italian. It is never pronounced
like a French r or a Scottish loch.
U is said like the English u except with rounded lips
V might be said like an English W at times. It is slightly soIter than the actual English V
There are no gutteral sounds in Icelandic
There are no silent letters in Icelandic. There are a Iew exceptions in spoken language where a
letter might produce a diIIerent sound than usual. Otherwise, Icelandic is a very phonetic
language
When there are double letters in a sentence, there is a slight glottal stop with a breath oI air. Try
saying the word, bottle but like baht-tle
II a + is Iollowed by a t, then the sound changes and becomes a soIt k, virtually the same as a
spanish j/g, gente (e.g. lukt - lantern)
Likewise, a P Iollowed by a t changes into an I sound (e.g. A skipta - to shiIt)
, in the middle oI a word is oIten pronounced as a v (e.g. A skaIa - to shave)
, Iollowed by an l will change to a b-sound (aIl is pronounced as abl
II you are not able to type in Icelandic letters, you can substitute # with d, $ with th, - with ae,
and ./ 0/ &/ 1/ 2/ 3/ ' with a, e, i, o, u, y
[edit] 4iphthon5s
A diphthong is not a type oI clothing. Instead, it is a combination oI two vowel sounds to make one
single sound. We have them in English too. In Icelandic, we have two essential diphthongs to be aware
oI. Let's take a look:
4iphthon5 6ound
au Pronounced as 7i
ei, ey like the ay in sta8
[edit] 6tress
Stress in Icelandic always Ialls on the Iirst syllable. There are no exceptions.
[edit] 4ialects o9 Icelandic
You might read in other books, websites, and other places that there are no signiIicant dialects oI
Icelandic. Actually, there are a Iew. People Irom Reykjavik tend to speak a little diIIerently than people
Irom Akureyri, Egilstair, IsaIjrur, and other countryside towns and villages. For example, the word
Ior hot dog in Icelandic is p8lsa. In Akureyri, they would say pil-sah, but in Reykjavik you will hear
pulsa. Another example is the word Ior to want, lan5ar. In IsaIjrur (the northwestern part oI
Iceland), you will hear lahng-ar. But in Reykjavik you will hear lngar.
The reason why some books might say that there are no dialects oI Icelandic is because they are not so
diIIerent where someone Irom Reykjavik might not be able to understand someone Irom Akureyri. This
book will teach Icelandic Irom a neutral point and will provide a dialect explanation when a word like
p8lsa comes up.