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The Icelandic language is spoken by about 300,000 native speakers.
The Icelandic language belongs to the Indo-European group of languages.
In the course of its history Icelandic developed from Old Norse.
Iceland’s geographic isolation means that written Icelandic has remained virtually unchanged, so that an Icelander today can read a text from the 13th Century without difficulty.
Although Norway and Denmark ruled over Iceland for many centuries, their languages have had little influence over the Icelandic language.
English, which has influenced many other languages particularly in technical fields, has had little influence on Icelandic.
Instead Icelandic words are found to describe new innovations.
The various dialects that the original settlers brought to the island have disappeared over time.
This is a result of the island’s relative isolation and the high mobility of the islanders within the island.
Therefore Icelandic is one of the few languages of the world without any dialects.
Icelandic uses the Roman alphabet.
Another characteristic of Icelandic is that for every vowel has two distinct pronunciations.
To denote the different pronunciation an accent is used.
For example the letter A is pronounced [a] and the letter Á is pronounced [au].
Interestingly Icelandic has very few foreign words.
Instead a Government Commission attempts to find Icelandic equivalents for every new concept, usually by adding existing words together.
For example the Icelandic word for Internet (veraldarvefur) literally means “interlinked world”.