Skip to content

What are the closest languages to Icelandic?


Q: Icelandic is an old language, what are the closest languages to Icelandic?

Can people from other Nordic nations understand Icelandic?

Sasha, Uelen, Russia.

A: Icelandic is a Nordic language, a branch of the German languages. A thousand years ago we had a common Nordic language, the Old Norse in the entire Nordic region, except in Finland. Now we have different languages in the region: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Faroese, plus Icelandic. Today, the languages have developed in their own way, leading to people from these nations not understanding each other.

The Faroese language is very close to Icelandic, especially the written languages. But it is difficult for Icelanders and Faroese to understand each other because of a very different pronunciation and vocabulary.

Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are quite related. Native speakers of those languages have some understanding of each other.


Share article