The Little Book of Icelandic


On the idiosyncrasies, delights, and sheer tyranny of the Icelandic language. A must-read for anyone interested in the Icelandic people and their culture.

The hardcover version of this book ships from Iceland. The ebook version ships anywhere. 😉

The ebook is available directly from us, and also from other ebook retailers. We would be much obliged if you select the first option (see “book type” below), as that means we won’t have to share our profits with others. We deliver the ebooks via BookFunnel, where you can select your preferred reading device. BookFunnel has awesome support if you run into any snags when downloading, or you can contact us for help.

This book is also available in paperback and ebook formats.

Please note that we do not ship within Iceland. If you are in Iceland and would like to order this title, please do so here.

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A book about one of the oldest and most complex languages in the world, and the heart and soul of the people who use it. 

Icelandic is a complicated language. It’s a bloody mess grammatically, a nightmarish mishmash of inflected nouns, verbs, adjectives and pronouns, corresponding to four different cases, three different noun genders, moods, voices and constructions, plus any number of exceptions and rules that seem completely arbitrary, and very often are.

This is not a textbook. It is not about the technicalities of Icelandic. It is not even a book that will help you order a beer in a pub. (Don’t worry. You can use English for that.) Rather it is about the Icelanders' love of their mother tongue, their zealous attempts at keeping it pure, their often-hilarious way of cobbling together vocabulary, and their idioms and proverbs that are such a strong reflection of the things they consider truly important. In short, this book presents how the very essence of the Icelandic people and their culture is reflected in their language. All in short essays that are light, humorous, and easy to read.

Among the subjects discussed in this book:

  • How the Icelandic Language Committee works to keep Icelandic pure (with mixed results)
  • How the Language Committee constructs Icelandic words for new objects or concepts
  • The various new technological terms that have entered Icelandic in recent years
  • How Icelanders curse
  • Contests held to find the most beautiful Icelandic words - and the ugliest
  • Words and phrases describing characteristics that are quintessentially Icelandic
  • Words and phrases that are excellent to know if you want to get to know the Icelanders
  • How the Icelanders' powerful relationship with the sea is reflected in their proverbs and idioms

... and many, many more.

In addition to the hard cover version, the book is available in two other formats: Kindle eBook and paperback through your nearest Amazon site.

Additional information

Weight .300 kg
Dimensions 13 × 18 cm
Book Type

Hardcover, e-book, Signed copy


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