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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Sverrir Hlmarsson; Sanders, Christopher; Tucker, John / slensk-ensk orabk (1989)

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Introductory Comments

Icelandic is, like Russian, Latin, and Ancient Greek, a highly inflected language with extremely variable inflection patterns. As far as possible, every one of these patterns has been included here.


The declensions of each noun can be worked out using the information given alongside the relevant headword in the dictionary and the notes that accompany the tables given here in the Grammar.


As in German and Old English, adjectives have both a strong and weak declension: different forms of the adjective are used depending on whether the thing or person referred is definite or indefinite (the red house raua hsi; a red house rautt hs).


For pronouns, feminine and neuter singular forms and all the nominative plurals are given in the body of the dictionary alongside the headform which is the masculine nominative singular. In the case of personal pronouns these inflected forms also feature as independent headwords. In case of uncertainty, desired forms of any pronoun can be looked up in the tables provided here.


It has not been possible to mention all the variations here, but the basic patterns are presented in detail. No special attention is given to the reflexive or middle-voice forms, which are characterized by the -st ending (e.g. the reflexive infinitive of bja is bjast).

Further reading

Readers who desire more information are referred to Islndische Grammatik by Bruno Kress (VEB Verlag Enzyklopdie, Leipzig 1982), A Course in Modern Icelandic by Jn Frijnsson (Tmariti Skk, Reykjavk 1978), Icelandic by Stefn Einarsson (The John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1949) and slensk beygingafri - Islndische Formenlehre - Icelandic Inflections by Colin D. Thomson (Helmut Buske Verlag, Hamburg 1987).

Vowel changes

The following are the most common vowel changes encountered in the inflections of Icelandic nouns, adjectives, numerals, pronouns and verbs, and a reasonable familiarity with them is essential:

  [p. 34]  
A. In stressed syllables:
a - e fara - fer
telja - taldi
langur - lengri
- ttur - ttir
hr - hrri
f - fr
skru - skri
- brir - brur
bndi - bndur
str - strri
lu - li
u - y ungur - yngri
buu - byi
o - y sonur - synir
yrkja - orti
/j/j - kr - k
djpur - dpri
spa - spur
ljga - lgur
bja - bur
a - hamar - hmrum
saga - sgur
fara - frum
ja - j gjafir - gjf
- e - a vllur - velli - vallar
fair - fur - feur
maur - menn - mnnum
j - i - ja fjrur - firi - fjarar
o - e koma - kemur
sofa - sefur
- e skkva - sekkur
dkkur - dekkri
- j tr - trja
f - fjr
B. In non-stressed syllables:
u - a sfnuur - safnaar
ja - je byrjandi - byrjendur

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