Icelandic Pronunciation

Learn the basics of Icelandic pronunciation

Icelandic has many English sounds due the languages both coming from the same language tree. Unless mentioned, assume English pronunciation.

Á á – said as “ow” as in cow

Ð ð – said as “th” in the

E e – said as the short “ai” sound in air

É é – said as yeah, but shorter

F f – at the start of words it is said as the English f. Between vowels as English. Before l or n as a b. Fnd is said as English m and fnt is said as hm

G g – At the beginning of words it is said as a hard English g. In between vowels and at the end of a word a very soft throaty g resembling a toned down German “ch” at the back of the throat.

It is not pronounced between accented vowels. It is said as an Icelandic j between a vowel and j. After a vowel and before a t or s it is a hard German “ch”

I i – said as “I” in win

Í í – said as “ee” in we

J j – said as a “y” at the beginning of words. Elsewhere it is aspirated before the “y” sound

O o – said as “o” in hot

Ó ó – said as “oh”

R r – is always rolled

S s – always an “s”, never said as a z

U u – said as the French “eux” but shorter

Ú ú – said as the “ew” sound in yew

X x – said as a hard German “ch”

Y y – see I

Ý ý – see í

Þ þ – said as the “th” sound in thing

Æ æ – said as “eye”

Ö ö – said as “ ur ” as in murder

Hv – as “kf” in thankful

Ll – as “tl”

Nn – as tn after accented vowel or diphthong. This also happens between rl, rn, sl and sn

Pp, tt, kk are all aspirated

Au – is said as “öj”

Ei and ey – said as the “a” sound in case

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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at