This article is part of the series “2018-08: Iceland”.
While the latin alphabet has 26 letters, the Icelandic alphabet has 32. C, W, Q and Z are not included. So the Icelandic alphabet has ten extra letters that are not part of the latin alphabet.
The first 6 letters are vowels with an accent that changes the pronunciation. It’s Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú, and Ý. Two others are vowels, too: Æ/æ and Ö/ö. The letter Æ is also used in Danish and Norwegian, while Ö is used in e.g. the Swedish and German language.
There are two letters however, that are a bit special: Ð/ð and Þ/þ. The letter Ð is called eth and its pronunciation resembles the th in that. The letter Þ comes from the runic alphabet Elder Fuþark and is called thorn. It is pronounced like the th in thing.
When Annika and I took the bus to Landmannalaugar some days ago I spotted a sign on front of a house. It contains 5 of the special letters: The Ö, the Æ, the Ð, the Þ and the Ó.
What does the word Lögfræðiþjónusta mean? Lögfræð means law and þjónusta means service, so the whole world means “legal services”.
6 comments to “Icelandic letters”
Johanna 2018-09-02 20:18
Vor 2 Jahren habe ich mal versucht , isländische Liedtexte zu lernen ….
es blieb bei dem Versuch :-/
way-up-north 2018-09-05 23:34
Hast Du nur Liedtexte oder auch Noten dazu? Wir haben hier nach Noten gesucht, aber noch nicht wirklich etwas gefunden.
Johanna 2018-09-06 00:40
ich meine , die Noten noch zu haben . Ich muss nachsehen ……
way-up-north 2018-09-09 21:57
Dax Russo 2021-09-25 19:31
What is ð?
way-up-north 2021-09-25 19:56
Hello Dax Russo,
The letter ð is called Eth and its sound is like a soft th as e.g. in mother.