Monday 14 August 2023

My Icelandic Language Learning Resources


My Story Learning Icelandic

I can't recall exactly when I started learning Icelandic, but it was probably around the early 2010s. I'd started to read a lot of the old Norse sagas and was very interested in the culture and the language. I began with the Complete Icelandic book from the Teach Yourself series and went from there. I then also worked through an online course.

I made some progress and was able to write a bit of Icelandic in letters to the pen pal I had in Reykjavik at the time. However, I soon stalled. This was partly through lack of time, partly through lack of opportunities to practice after my pen pal started a family and no longer had time to write, but it was also in large part due to the lack of available resources for continuing my studies.

I still remember some of what I'd learnt, but more on a passive comprehension level. I've returned to it and done odd bits of extra study in recent years, but the language is not currently my main focus. Perhaps I will try to pick it up again in the future.

I talked a bit about my journey with Icelandic in this video, but I was testing a new microphone and it didn't work, so unfortunately the sound quality is not good.



The following resources are ones I found useful during my limited period of study.

Please note that I am not receiving any incentive to recommend any of these resources. Nor can I say they will suit every learner, as everyone's learning style is different. I am sharing only my personal experiences with these assets and cannot guarantee they will be suitable for everyone.


Complete Icelandic (Teach Yourself) - A reasonably good introductory course but lacking more in-depth grammatical details.

Icelandic: Grammar, Texts and Glossary - This book offers some more in-depth grammatical explanations, but it is a little dry.

Short Stories in Icelandic for Beginners - Although it says for beginners, my personal view is that this is really at more of a low-intermediate level. I found it pretty heavy going as a beginner.



Icelandic for Foreigners has some good videos covering a range of topics but with a focus on grammar explanations.



Icelandic Online - Free online courses in Icelandic. Generally okay, but at times it would have been helpful to get a clearer explanation of grammar. You can work through at your own pace though, testing your understanding with exercises. - A website with grammar tools and exercises.

Icelandic Made Easi(er) - A good collection of blog posts offering clear and useful grammar explanations. 

Viltu læra íslensku - A series of video lessons in basic Icelandic focused on different scenarios such as catching the bus or going to the dentist.

Íslenska fyrir alla - An online beginner course. The website and presentation of materials are a little clunky, so I didn't use it a lot.

Alaric Hall MP3 Course - A beginners' course through mp3 files. I haven't really used this myself, but since I had it bookmarked, I've included it for those who prefer a more auditory learning experience.

RUV - Icelandic media for practicing listening and reading, but you'll need to be at least intermediate level to make the most of it.

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