Icelandic is a Germanic language, being related to German, Dutch and all the Scandinavian languages, save Finnish. Its closest "living relative", so to speak, is Faroese, which like Icelandic is derived from Old Norse -- the language of Norway until around 1500. Iceland as a country is incredibly protective of her language. It refuses to integrate english words (for example) as loan-words into the language, instead inventing new icelandic words for these. This is the responsibility of the language board in Reykjavík. For example, the icelandic word for "computer" is tölva -- a combination of the words tala ("number"), and völva ("prophet").

Icelandic is a higly-inflected language, meaning that the ends of words change according to their form. Icelandic nouns can be inflected in four cases, as with German, viz.: the nominative, accusative, genitive and dative cases. There are also different endings for singular and plural. Most pronouns and adjectives are also inflected, and objects may be of three genders, masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Icelandic is also devoid of an indefinite article ("a"/"an" in English). The definite article ("the") changes according to gender: hinn (masc.), hin (fem.), and hið (neut.). It is normally attached to the end of a noun, as with the other Scandiavian languages, where it also drops the /h/: maðurinn (the man). The definite article also declines with the noun. Verbs are inflected in three persons, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, singular, and plural.

Icelandic uses the special characters þ (called "thorn" by linguists; a voiceless 'th' -- like in "maths"), ð (called "edh"; a voiced 'th' -- as in "the"), and the vowels á, é, í, ó, ö, ú, ý, and æ.

Ice*lan"dic (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Iceland; relating to, or resembling, the Icelanders.


© Webster 1913.

Ice*lan"dic (?), n.

The language of the Icelanders. It is one of the Scandinavian group, and is more nearly allied to the Old Norse than any other language now spoken.


© Webster 1913.

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