It’s only in recent times that Iceland has really registered on the tourist radar. These days, following gorgeous portrayals in top films, TV shows like Game of Thrones, and even a Justin Bieber video, this country has become a hotspot for visitors from the four corners of the globe. Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, has become a firm favourite destination for a city break. With a population of just 120,000, it’s small but beautiful, and this is definitely the place to go to sample a slice of the laid-back life, and take in the magnificent mountains, volcanoes and glaciers that lie beyond the city.
We think it’s important to be prepared before you head off on your travels, and that includes learning a few words in the local language. Whether it’s planning a few things to do or picking up a few local phrases, it’s wise to be in the know before you go away. To help you on your way, we’ve put together a basic guide to the local language in Reykjavik.
What language is spoken in Reykjavik?
In case you don’t already know, the official language in Reykjavik is Icelandic (which is also the official language of Iceland, of course). Generally speaking, this is a considered to be a challenging language to learn, even if you speak other Scandinavian languages well. But if you’re not a fluent speaker, there’s no need to worry too much. Luckily for you, you’ll find that most locals in the city have a good command of English, so there’s practically no language barrier at all.
All the same, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few handy words and phrases before you leave. Whenever you travel to another country, it’s always polite to make an effort to speak their language, even if it’s just some simple vocabulary. You’ll always find that the locals appreciate your efforts.
About the language in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and the stunning natural scenery that surrounds the city. When you hear the local Reykjavik language, you’re sure to find it equally as beautiful. Dating back to the 9th century, this is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, and it’s only changed a little over the years. It still remains very close to Old Norse (which was a common Nordic language), meaning fluent Icelandic speakers can read those famous Old Norse sagas in their original form with ease.
The majority of the world’s Icelandic speakers (which amount to around 320,000) live in Iceland, but you’ll also find around 8,000 fluent Icelandic speakers in Denmark, as well as 5,000 in the US and 1,400 in Canada.
Ready to learn?
Now you know about the Reykjavik language, it’s time to learn a few words and phrases before going on holiday here. Take a closer look at our list of useful phrases below and click on the green icons to hear the correct pronunciation. If you’re not already familiar with the Reykjavik language, it may sound complicated at first. But remember, practice makes perfect.