Facts and figures

Size of Iceland

The whole country, is 103.000 km2.
Ocean area within the 200 miles limit is 758.000 km2.
The coastline, 4.970 km.


Population 1 January 2017 is, 338.349.
(Data from Statistic Iceland)


Relationship to other languages. Icelandic is one of the Nordic languages, which are a subgroup of the Germanic languages.  Germanic languages are traditionally divided into North Germanic, i.e. the Nordic languages, West Germanic, i.e. High and Low German including Dutch-Flemish, English and Frisian, and East Germanic, i.e. Gothic, which is now dead. The Germanic languages are in the family of Indo-European languages together with the Celtic, Slavonic, Baltic, Romance, Greek, Albanian, Armenian and Indo-Iranian languages, in addition to several language groups, which are now dead.         Accordingly, Icelandic is more or less related to all these languages. Linguistically it is most closely related to Faeroese and Norwegian.
The origin of the Icelandic language. Iceland was settled in the period A.D. 870-930. Most of the settlers came from Norway, especially Western Norway, a few of them from Sweden and some from the British Isles, including Ireland. The language, which came to prevail in Iceland, was that of the people of Western Norway. It is commonly agreed that a considerable part of the immigrants was of Celtic stock (estimates, based partly on physical-anthropological studies, vary from 10 to 30 percent). However, the Icelandic language shows only insignificant traces of Celtic influence. The only evidence is a few Celtic loan words and a few personal names and place-names.  Icelandic and Norwegian did not become markedly different until the fourteenth century. From then onwards the two languages became increasingly different. This was for the most part due to changes in the Norwegian language, which had in some cases begun earlier in Danish and Swedish, while Icelandic resisted change, no doubt thanks in part to the rich Icelandic literature of the 12th and following centuries. Resistance to change is one of the characteristics of the Icelandic language, which explains the fact that a twelfth-century text is still easy to read for a modern Icelander. However, Icelandic has undergone considerable change in its phonetics. Another characteristic of the language is its uniformity, i.e. absence of dialects.
Grammar. Like the old Indo-European languages, Icelandic has a complicated grammar: Nouns are inflected in four cases (nominative, accusative, dative and genitive) and in two numbers (singular, plural). The same is true of most pronouns and adjectives, including the definite article and the ordinal and the first four of the cardinal numerals: these are also inflected in three genders, while each noun is intrinsically either masculine, feminine or neuter. Most adjectives and some adverbs have three degrees of comparison and most adjectives have two types of inflection, called strong and weak, in the positive and superlative. Verbs are inflected in three persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd), two numbers (singular, plural), two simple (non-compound) tenses, three moods (indicative, subjunctive, imperative) and two voices (active, medio-passive); in addition, by means of auxiliary verbs, the verbs enter into several constructions (including the so-called compound tenses) to represent the perfect, the future, the conditional, the progressive, the passive etc. The verbs also have three nominal forms, i.e. the infinitive (uninflected) and two participles, present and past (including supine).
Vocabulary innovations. In the late eighteenth century, language purism started to gain noticeable ground in Iceland and since the early nineteenth century, language purism has been the linguistic policy in the country. Instead of adopting foreign words for new concepts, new words (neologisms) are coined or old words revived and given a new meaning. As examples may be mentioned simi for telephone, tolva for computer, thota for jet, hljodfrar for supersonic and geimfar for spacecraft. The Icelandic language committee is an advisory institution which is to “guide government agencies and the general public in matters of language on a scholarly basis.”
Icelandic in other countries. There are Icelandic language communities in North America. They came into being because of emigration from Iceland to Canada and the United States in the last quarter of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The earliest of these settlements was established in Utah in 1855, but it was around 1870 that continuous emigration began. In 1870, a small Icelandic settlement was established on Washington Island in Lake Michigan. Later, an Icelandic settlement arose in North Dakota. In 1875, the first Icelandic settlement was established in Canada, on the Western shore of Lake Winnipeg (“New Iceland”). Such settlements arose also in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Until the end of the 20th century, tens of thousands of people in these areas still could speak the Icelandic language. For further details regarding the Icelandic language, see the publication Iceland 1986.
he Icelandic alphabet  As in so many other countries, Latin script followed in the wake of the adoption of Christianity in Iceland. This took place in the year 1000 A.D., by an act of the Althingi. (Although the oldest Icelandic manuscripts preserved are from the second half of the twelfth century, it is likely that the first attempts at adapting the Latin script to the Icelandic language were begun not long after the conversion). Today, the alphabet of the Icelandic language is the same as that of English, with the following exceptions:

(a) Icelandic has four letters, which are not used in English: Ð,ð

(similar to th in gather), Þ,þ (similar to th in thirsty), Æ,æ (like i

in like) and Ö,ö (similar to u in fur);

(b) The letters c, q, w and z are used only in marginal cases;

(c) Except for æ and ö, each vowel letter appears in two forms,

with or without an accent mark: a, á, e, é, i, í, o, ó, u, ú and y, ý.

However, the accent mark does not mean that the vowel is stressed, but marks it as different in quality from the unaccented vowel.
Icelandic is the official language of Iceland. It is an Indo-European language, belonging to the sub-group of North Germanic languages. It is closely related to Norwegian and Faroese, although there are slight traces of Celtic influence in ancient Icelandic literature. Icelandic is an insular language, and as such, has not been influenced greatly by other languages. As a result, the language has changed very little from when the country was settled in the ninth and tenth centuries. It did not become makedly different from Norwegian until the 14th centur


People have to be prepared for the rapid changes in the weather and change clothes accordingly. Without the Gulf Stream, the whole country would be covered with a shield of ice. The average temperature of the warmest month is about 12°C (54°F) and of the coldest month about 0°C (32°F). Usually it is considerably colder in the mountains. Warm, wind-, and waterproof clothes are highly recommended and lighter clothes for nice weather as well.

Degrees Celsius (Centigrade)C°

Average Temperatures

January 1,0 C °
February 0,7 C °
March 1,9 C °
April 4,3 C °
May 7,0 C °
June 10,5 C °
July 12,1 C °
August 11,5 C °
September 8,9 C °
October 4,8 C °
November 2,6 C °
December 1,1 C °

Highest temerture recorded was in Teigarhorn in East Iceland 22 June 1939 +30.5 °C
Most coldest temerture recorded was at Grimstadir in North Iceland 21 Januar 1918 -38°C

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