About Icelandic at Cambridge

Why Modern Icelandic?

Modern Icelandic, a relative of the Scandinavian languages, is of particular interest to students of Old Norse as its grammar has remained virtually unchanged since the thirteenth century when many of the famous medieval sagas were composed. The vocabulary is also highly conservative since the Icelanders largely eschew loanwords, preferring to create new words from native elements. Yet despite its archaic features, the language is triumphantly alive today: as the national language of Iceland’s 340,000 inhabitants, it plays a fundamental role in the country’s vibrant culture, featuring in books, newspapers, films and music, as well as having a strong presence on the internet.


Icelandic classes in Cambridge

Some students choose to learn Icelandic to support their Old Norse studies, others because they are fascinated by languages, interested in modern Icelandic culture or wish to visit the country and use the language for practical purposes. To cater for these different interests, we aim to strike a balance in the classes between teaching grammar and providing practice in speaking, listening and reading, as well as introducing students to aspects of Icelandic culture.