Which languages are most closely related to Icelandic?

Icelandic is an Indo-European language, belonging to the group of North Germanic languages, to be specific. This group also includes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Faroese. Of those languages, Norwegian and Faroese (spoken in the Faroe Islands) are the most closely related to Icelandic.

Icelanders and Faroese people may be able to understand each other’s languages on the page, as their writing systems and spelling are quite similar. Speaking is another matter, however: the pronunciation differs significantly, and the two languages are not mutually intelligible without study. 

Icelanders receive some help from their schooling when it comes to understanding the other North Germanic languages. Danish is a compulsory subject in schools, and learning it helps with the comprehension of Norwegian and Swedish as well.

Kristín Eiríksdóttir and Kristín Ómarsdóttir Nominated for Nordic Council Literature Prize

Authors Kristín Eiríksdóttir and Kristín Ómarsdóttir have been nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize. Kristín Eiriksdóttir was nominated for her novel Elín, ýmislegt (English title, A Fist or a Heart) and Kristín Ómarsdóttir was nominated for her poetry collection Kóngulær í sýningargluggum (‘Spiders in the Display Windows’).

The authors were nominated alongside 11 others from Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Norway, the Sami Language Area, Sweden, and Åland. The winner will be announced on October 29 in Sotckholm and the winner will receive the prize’s Northern Lights statuette and DKK 350,000 [ISK 6.36 million; $53,182; €46,904].

Last year, the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize went to Icelandic author Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir for her novel Ör (English title Hotel Silence). An Icelandic author has won seven times since the prize first started being awarded in 1962.

Read the full list of nominees and the motivations for each nomination, in English, here.