Icelandic (slenska) is the official language of Iceland, which is extremely close to, but not identical to, 13th-century Norse. Icelandic lettering utilizes the Latin alphabet, but includes two letters that have long since been lost in English: eth (,), which sounds like the voiced th of “they,” and thorn(,), which sounds like the unvoiced th of “thick.” In English, “dh” and “th” are often substituted, thus Fjörur is written Fjordhur and Thingvellir is written Thingvellir. Loanwords are frowned upon, and new words for ideas like as computers, known as tölva, are frequently coined (“number-prophetess”). While Icelandic is linked to the other Scandinavian languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Faroese), it is not mutually intelligible in spoken form. Because Icelandic, like the other Scandinavian languages, is a Germanic language, many cognates will be recognized by German and Dutch speakers, and even English speakers will be able to recognize the odd word or two with little effort.
Most Icelanders also speak English and Danish, which are both required in schools, and can comprehend Swedish and Norwegian thanks to their Danish expertise. Students at Icelandic colleges select a “fourth language” to study, which is typically Spanish, German, French, or Italian, although competence is seldom achieved. Even though the majority of Icelanders are fluent in English, making an effort to communicate in Icelandic is always welcomed, and knowing a few simple greetings and phrases in Icelandic can help your vacation go much more smoothly.
As a decimal symbol, Icelanders use the comma instead of the dot, thus 12,000 indicates 12, not twelve thousand, while 12 000 or 12.000 implies twelve thousand. Icelanders utilize both the 24 and 12 hour clocks, speaking the 12 hour clock and writing in the 24 hour clock. The terms “morning” and “afternoon” are not used in Iceland. “Hálf tu” (half ten) is Icelandic for “half past nine” (9:30). To prevent misunderstandings, do not use this form while speaking to someone who does not speak English well. Dates may be shortened in a variety of ways, but the sequence is always day-month-year; for example, 12.7.08, 120708, or 12/07/08 is the same as July 12, 2008. The number of the week 1 through 52 is also shown on Icelandic calendars.
Only the metric system is used in Iceland. There is just a rudimentary understanding of Imperial and US measures.
In Iceland, there is no such thing as a ground floor, as there is in the United Kingdom. Instead, the first floor (“jarh”) of a building is referred to as the entry level, as it is in the United States. The levels are then tallied one by one, two by two, three by three, and so on.
Foreign television shows and films are nearly usually shown with subtitles in their native language. Only children’s shows are subtitled in Icelandic.