Icelandic Pronunciation Guide

By Dick Oakes


A a, Á á, B b, D d, Ð ð, E e, É é, F f, G g,
H h, I i, Í í, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, O o, Ó ó, P p,
R r, S s, T t, U u, Ú ú, V v,
X x, Y y, Ý ý, Þ þ, Æ æ, Ö ö


Icelandic (or Íslenska) is a Northern Germanic language with over 300,000 speakers. Being the closest to Old Norse, Icelanders can read the Old Norse sagas in the original tongue.

The letters ng are always pronounced nk as in thinker.

Letters not listed below are pronounced approximately as in English.


A, a   - a as in hat; ow as in cow when followed by ng or nk
E, e   - e as in let
I, i   - i as in pin; i as in machine when followed by ng or nk
O, o   - o as in hot
U, u   - u as in put; eu as in fleur; but u as in duke when followed by ng or nk
Y, y   - i as in pin
Æ, æ   - igh as in high
Ö, ö   - ur as in fur
 
Á, á   - ow as in cow
É, é   - ye as in yet
Í, í   - i as in machine
Ó, ó   - between aw as in law and ow as in blow
Ú, ú   - u as in duke
Ý, ý   - i as in machine
 
B, b   - b as in ball; p at the end of a word or following m
D, d   - d as in dig; t when at the end of a word;
Ð, ð   - th as in soothe (usually occurs only in the middle or at the end of words
F, f   - f as in fan; v as in vow when between vowels; b as in bed before i or n
G, g   - g as in go; k as in king in the middle of a word; y when followed by i or j;
    silent when at the end of a word or between á or ó and u
H, h   - h as in hat; k as in king before the consonants f, n, r, and v
J, j   - y as in yes
P, p   - p as in put; f as in fun before s, k, or t
R, r   - slightly rolled; when used as a vowel as er in pert
S, s   - s as in sun
Þ, þ   - th as in thing
 
DIPTHONGS:
 
Au, au   - eu as in fleur followed by ee as in see (euee)
Ei, ei   - ey as in grey
Ey, ey   - ey as in grey
 
OTHER SOUNDS:
 
hv   - kv as in lock vent
Kk, kk   - chk as in the Scottish Loch Carron
Ll, ll   - tl as in potluck
Nn, nn   - dn as in hard-nosed after á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, æ, au, ei, or ey;
    otherwise nn as in tannery
Rl, rl   - tl as in little
Rn, rn   - tn as in butt(o)n after á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, æ, au, ei, or ey
Tt, tt   - ht sound


Copyright © 2011 by Dick Oakes