Icelandic letters

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 ÁÉÍÓÚ, 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 Рis 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”

  1. Johanna 2018-09-02 20:18

    Vor 2 Jahren habe ich mal versucht , isländische Liedtexte zu lernen ….
    es blieb bei dem Versuch :-/

  2. 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.

  3. Johanna 2018-09-06 00:40

    ich meine , die Noten noch zu haben . Ich muss nachsehen ……

  4. way-up-north 2018-09-09 21:57

    Danke, Johanna.

  5. Dax Russo 2021-09-25 19:31

    What is ð?

  6. 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.

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