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Is learning Icelandic insanely difficult?

Is it crazy to even attempt it? I have studied a lot of languages but Icelandic grammar just makes me want to break down and cry.

June 12, 2017



On the Foreign Service Institute's language difficulty scale that goes from 1-3½, Icelandic is 2. Robert Lindsay on the other hand rates it as 5/6.

Nothing is crazy to attempt, with enough motivation, materials and immersion, you can learn any language. Over 90% of Icelanders speak Icelandic, clearly it's possible.


Jeez, why is it rated so high? It uses the roman alphabet and has similar patterns to other languages..


Lindsay justifies the rating with the archaic vocabulary, high irregularity and some weird pronunciations. To put the ratings in context, both FSI and Lindsay put Icelandic as harder than German and modern Romance languages, as difficult as Polish and Greek, and easier than Mandarin.


You shouldn't start memorising the grammar. You should use it to remind yourself of the patterns you have recognized before.


Honestly it's only hard if you think it's hard. I know people who have learned Icelandic, yes they had to work extra hard, but for them it was worth it in the end. I never look at a language just on how hard or easy a language is because all languages have their hard aspects and their easy aspects.


Have possibly also a look at the http://langu.ag app.

160 natural languages, including Icelandic.

1 language free, $5 once for all 160 languages. Focus on vocabulary.

I tried Icelandic, and saw now more connection with e.g. the Germanic language Norwegian when seeing it written and spoken there in the app.


Don't bother with the grammar at all until you are a little bit further.

Many Icelandic adults struggle with the grammar and don't know everything there is to know. I'd just keep them in the back of my mind.


I know it's not exactly the same but I'm learning Old Norse at the moment. Icelandic's grammar has not changed very much at all since the Vikings spoke Old Norse and settled in Iceland. Like Mr_Eyl said, the case system is probably the most challenging part of it's grammar but it isn't exactly hard if you don't over think it. Once you learn the difference between the subject, direct object, indirect object, and the genitive nouns it gets easier from then on. I found, actually, that the case endings for words makes total sense to put into a language and now that I think of it English should have kept its case endings for its nouns.


If small children can do it, so could you! (That's what I'm hoping about "my" studied language anyway). I don't think your Swedish will be of much help though, and that's because I (fluent in Swedish) can barely read or understand any Icelandic, for example mbl.is the newspaper is very difficult for me.


Its not that hard but you can struggle a little, especially if youre a native like me.


I don't speak icelandic. My native tongue is scottish gaelic. I learned a few different languages with different grammar like dutch and Spanish. I feel that after getting used to people speaking it and repeating phrases you sort of get tbe feel for grammar. It may be strange at first but has a unique feel to the language. It might slowly start to make sense


Coming from a Icelander ,and I have this problem as well. The thing that Danish pretty hard to understand is that we speak fast like Danes do. Foreigners tend to tell us to speak slower. Not like Swedish where they speak slowly. I'm sorry if my grammar isn't perfect.


You would be completely fine

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