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Icelandic grammar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Icelandic grammar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Icelandic possesses only the definite article, which can stand on its own, or, as in other North Germanic languages, be attached to its modified noun. Verbs are conjugated for tense, mood, person, number and voice. There are three voices: active, passive and medial; but it may be debated whether the medial voice is a voice or simply an independent class of verbs.

Ana Osonko's insight:

Finally, to wrap up my Research Log, I am going to talk about the most helpful article I found. I only wrote in my project plan to look through all the Wikipedia pages on Icelandic and Icelandic grammar for an hour and 30 minutes, but honestly I could spend an entire day just reading through this article multiple times and taking as many notes as possible. I’m so glad I found this article and that it exists in the first place because this is one of those recourses I don’t only use once, but actually keep in my belt of language learning help and look back to constantly in my studies. Like I said in an earlier post, the ideal way to use a resource is to refresh it in your brain by watching or reading it several times and by making notes. To do that with this article would take forever, so I was only able to go through the first few parts: nouns, articles, and pronouns. This was mostly useful in learning grammar, as the title would suggest, so that’s what I used it for.

The first heading about nouns showed how a few nouns can change depending on the case they are in and whether they are singular or plural. Already this was quite a handful of information to swallow, so I read the little description, wrote out the grammar table, and decided to keep this as a resource to go through again later to refresh, because there was no way I would be able to understand everything in one go. I did this for the next few grammar parts as well, so that I didn’t have the pressure of understanding it all at once.

What I learned about nouns is that some of them follow a particular word pattern that helps you identify what gender a word is in. Before that, I should probably say that I also learned that every noun in Icelandic has a gender and that dictates how it changes in a sentence depending on what role it plays as well. Yes, language learning is very overwhelming and can get confusing, which is why I didn’t put too much focus on trying to understand everything completely at once, but more on at least reading through the information and trying to piece together some things. Other than that, I already had an idea about what the 4 cases mean and do because they were familiar to me, since German has the exact same cases. In the subheading “articles”, I learned that articles in Icelandic (these would be a, an, and the in English) occur as a suffix, which means they are attached to the end of each noun instead of being a separate word placed before each noun like in English. This concept was fairly easy to understand, although the table showing all the different articles and when to put which was a lot more complicated, and I wrote that one down with the thought to refresh it later. Finally, the last part I had time for was all the different pronouns. This was the most time-consuming and confusing part, so I will have to revisit it throughout my future studies to understand it better. The first type of pronouns was the personal pronouns, which are very similar to that of English. Just like in English, Icelandic has a word for me, you, he, she, it, and them. One difference, though, is that just like nouns in Icelandic, all the pronouns change depending on their case. This happens in English too, for example he switches to him and me is also I, but in Icelandic it is a lot more complex. I also learned that in Icelandic, the word they also has a gender. There are three different ways to say it: the masculine þeir, the feminine þær, and the neutral þau. The next type of pronoun is reflective. This is like saying “himself” or “herself”. The next two are also found in English and they are possessive and demonstrative, so they are words like “mine” and “that”. The last part, however, is the most confusing. It’s called indefinite and it’s pretty much “nobody”. Even this article says that there are an indefinite (probably why it’s called that) amount of them and their usage is different depending on who you talk to. So other than that, they are all pretty self-explanatory and understandable after you think about it. There is much more to this article and I will definitely be reading through the rest of it throughout my studies. 

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How I Learned a Language in 90 Days

How I Learned a Language in 90 Days | Icelandic | Scoop.it
Becoming bilingual opens up a whole new world of different people, different cultures, and different emotions. It also takes a huge time commitment—one that many of us can't dedicate to.
Ana Osonko's insight:

I read this article a while ago, several years back, and I thought it would be good to reread it while I was starting to learn a language. This article is so incredibly informative and gave me so much advice on how I can learn a language on my own well enough to make it stick, how I can refresh every new thing I learn, and how to be successful at studying a new language in general. The title says you can do it in 90 days, but honestly I don’t care much for the exact amount of time it will take, I just want to study it well and be able to speak the language eventually, and thankfully this article helped me do that.

The first sub-heading talks about the benefits of bilingualism and it’s not as relevant to me because I already am bilingual; I don’t need to be convinced that it’s helpful in life for tons of different reasons, I already know that. One thing it talks about, though, is how going through the process of learning a second (or third or fourth) language is helpful, which was something that really interested me. I was partially aware of this already, but it was good to refresh the fact that learning a new language can have a lot of indirect effects. People always ask me why I learn languages, especially ones like Icelandic that I will not use every day of my life, and it really does seem practically useless to learn languages that are not widely spoken, especially in America. The point this article made is that when you learn a new language, you’re also training your brain to understand things linguistically and you’re learning how to learn a language. That’s why it becomes easier to learn a language each new one you study. It then goes on to talk about the difference between actual, successful language learning and taking a foreign language class, because as many people can attest to, most of the time everything you learn in a classroom is forgotten in a few years’ time. The main difference is that to have a language really stick, you have to speak it a lot. You have to refresh all the information constantly and speak out every word and phrase you know and try to talk to people or even just yourself to the best of your ability. A language is a lot of information, and instead of cramming it all in your head and hoping it stays there, you have to organize it all logically and review it over and over again. You have to completely immerse yourself in the language to be able to truly understand it, and that’s what he tries to explain in this article. He expresses this idea through to the part where he includes a bunch of language learning resources and things you may need to help you. Those are a grammar book for checking if you are forming your sentences correctly, a dictionary and a phrase book for collecting a great deal of vocabulary and phrases to use in conversation, and most importantly websites for talking to language partners. The first two are for your own personal study and the last one is the most important bit. It talks about how you must speak the language constantly, but if you live in America and the language you are studying only has 300 thousand speakers who mostly all live on a small island thousands of miles away from you, that can get a bit complicated. The resource he stresses us to use is all the different websites that let you speak to native speakers and have them correct you.  This is a perfect way to start using the language daily and seeing others use it as well. Those have been the main points that I found most intriguing and helpful for my studies.

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Icelandic orthography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Icelandic orthography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Icelandic vowels may be either long or short, but this distinction is only relevant in stressed syllables: unstressed vowels are neutral in quantitative aspect. The vowel length is determined by the consonants that follow the vowel: if there is only one consonant (i.e.

Ana Osonko's insight:

This article was actually incredibly useful to me! Orthography is the set of written symbols that describe sounds in any given language, so this article explained what sounds the Icelandic alphabet and all possible letter combinations make. The main thing it came in handy for was pronunciation, because now I know for a fact the exact sounds that are made when you speak Icelandic and can try to replicate them on my own. The way this article was structured was that for every letter or letter combination, they explained it in terms of linguistic classification, with the International Phonetic Alphabet, and with examples of words it is used in. In addition, some of the letters are pronounced differently when they interact with other letters in a word, for example a letter that is followed by a vowel may sound different when followed by a consonant in a word, so each different way the letter can be pronounced was shown and they explained the reasons why. Now, I’m taking a Linguistics class at the moment, so I know quite a bit about how sounds are classified (how air moves through the vocal tract, whether air flow is obstructed or not and how, whether the vocal chords vibrate, what part of the mouth is used or interacted with the tongue, lips, or teeth, and anything else that may be of importance when a sound is made) and I can understand most of the phonetic symbols, so this article was definitely very useful in understanding how things are supposed to be pronounced, since it’s very hard to be able to learn how to speak a language when you are teaching yourself and don’t have one specific teacher to tell you if you are saying something wrong or the right way to say something.

I’ve seen many different videos and other resources where someone speaks out the Icelandic alphabet, usually including an example of a word that uses each letter and sometimes even showing how a couple of the most common letter combinations sound differently, but this is by far the most extensive and informative resource I’ve yet seen. It taught me some things I had never realized before about pronunciation that I definitely would never have learned anywhere else. One specific thing I learned is that the letter “ð”, which makes a th sound like in the word “that” and is supposed to make that specific th sound every time it is used, can actually on a very specific exception make a different th sound, like the one in the word “thing”. This was surprising because in Icelandic there are two different letters for the two different kinds of th sounds, so I thought that the letter “ð” made only the one sound on every occasion, which is wrong. There’s a very specific instance when it makes the other th sound and that is when it is followed by a voiceless consonant, which means that the vocal chords don’t vibrate when the sound is made, like in the word “maðkur”. Overall I’m sure I will always learn something new from this article each time I look through it and I know it will come very useful all throughout my studies.

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Icelandic : Declension - YouTube

Decline, decline!
Ana Osonko's insight:

This next video series is merely for extra help in grammar. The person who made this video series is an American and also a non-native speaker of Icelandic, but I can tell he understands the grammar very well and can teach it in a clear way, so that’s not too bad. For vocabulary and pronunciation, it’s best to have a native speaker guiding the video, but for grammar it doesn’t make a crucial difference because grammar is very technical and rule-based and something that can be understood easily by anyone, while actually speaking out the words well is something that takes a lot of time and practice and is not very helpful to a language learner if the speaker has an accent or is pronunciating things incorrectly.

This video in particular is about Declension. He explains it as the way a noun changes in a sentence depending on what role it plays. In general, I learned that the cases (all the different roles a noun can play) and the way the sentence changes are very similar to German, so it was familiar and kind of a refresher. This was good because I could focus on the little details that he was teaching, for example what letters are added to the word and how it sounds when it changes. I learned that there are four cases in Icelandic: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. What this means is that depending on which case the word is in, it will follow a specific set of rules and be spelled a certain way. In the nominative case, the noun is the subject of the sentence, so it is spelled normally. Many times the noun in the nominative case is at the beginning of the sentence, but not always, and certainly not most of the time, since reversed word order is very common (when something other than the subject of a sentence is the first word). Being the subject means that the noun is doing the verb in the sentence. The next case is the accusative case, which is when the noun is the direct object of a sentence, meaning that the verb is acting upon the noun. The dative case is next and this is the case where the noun is the indirect object, so the verb is using it to act upon something else. This one is hard to explain, but he uses an example that is easy to understand. The last case is the genitive case, which is pretty much the possessive case. In the genitive case, the noun is showing possession of another noun, and in English this is like putting an s at the end of the word. Those are the 4 cases in Icelandic grammar that change the spelling of a noun depending on what it does in a sentence. Every noun changes a bit differently and it is really a matter of memorization, but it is good to understand declension to know what’s going on.

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Common Phrases in Icelandic Language : Simple Greetings in Icelandic Language - YouTube

Learn common Icelandic greetings with expert language tips in this free travel language lesson video from our native of Iceland. Expert: Eva Natalja Robertsd...
Ana Osonko's insight:

This is another video series that I watched to help me in my studies. I quite liked this one as well, because it went into greater depth and more examples than my course. For example, this video gave me several different examples of how to great someone, ask them how they are doing, and say my goodbyes, all depending on the social situation or the relationship between the two people speaking. There’s so much variety and that’s great because having a few choices between what I can say at any given time is extremely helpful, and I feel like I truly know how to speak to people genuinely, instead of spouting out the same old phrase over and over again like a robot because it’s the only thing I know how to say.  In my course, I only learned the most common and simple way to say hello, how are you, goodbye, so I’m glad this video taught me more than just that. The speaker, Natalja, is a native speaker of Icelandic, so I know for a fact she doesn’t make any pronunciation mistakes. I really like how she lays out this video and all the others. She starts out by speaking each phrase like you would hear in average conversation, at normal speed, and not monotone, so it sounds very normal. Then she repeats it much slower, enunciating every syllable and trying hard to make every small sound heard. It’s good because we can hear how it would sound when a native speaker is trying to make conversation with you and we can also hear how the sounds all sound individually so we can try to replicate it. I also think that it was good that she translated each phrase into English. In the previous video series, I said it was good to associate words with their real life meanings through pictures and things, and while that’s easy to do for the word “pineapple”, it’s a bit trickier for something like “I’m sorry, I have to go now”. So for this video, translating every phrase was actually more helpful, especially in helping to know which phrase to use when (like using “see you later” with friends and “I’m sorry, I have to go now” for more formal occasions). In all, this was a great way to get a few more phrases under my belt in a very understandable way and quite a confidence booster in speaking.

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Icelandic Lesson #1: Fruit - Plural and Singular, Pronunciation - YouTube

Icelandic language lesson for beginners. Learn how to pronounce the names of some fruit in Icelandic. :) ----------------------------------------------------...
Ana Osonko's insight:

For part of my project, I did additional studying via videos like this one (in total there are 55 in only this series) to learn extra vocabulary than what I was learning in the online Icelandic course and to help out my pronounciation by hearing a native Icelandic speaker say certain words and by trying to say them myself.

 

I will post a few of the videos from this series, but not all (because as I said, there are 55) and in all of them I will comment on some specific things I noticed or learned from the video. But I would also like to comment on the series of videos in general first, so I will do that in this post only.

 

That being said, let's get on with it. I found this series of videos incredibly helpful in my study. I'm so glad that it exists and I was able to use it. The videos themselves are short, so I get a good amount of information in a short time so it's not too overwhelming. It doesn't leave me time to get bored or sidetracked, I can rewatch them several times (which I did) without spending too much time on it, and it always seems like the perfect amount of information (not too much, not too little). The person speaking out the words is clearly a native speaker, and they speak slowly and clearly, so I can hear how each world or phrase should sound as a whole while still making out each individual sounds. This way, I can try saying the words as well and replay each part to see if i've said them correctly. I also really like how there are no translations in English, but instead each word or phrase is followed by a picture example. This is good because it tries to keep away from the method of learning a language by comparing it to the person's native language and instead helps one learn a new language the way they learned their first language - by hearing sounds and associating them to their real world meaning directly. I'm curious to see if this will make learning a language easier or not, because when I studied German, we would translate everything into English most of the time, so we would associate German words with English words instead of associating the German words with their real life meaning directly. Another neat thing about this video series is that each video was organised in a certain way; each group of words had a theme, whether it was colors or fruits. This helped me be able to remember all the words if I was able to remember the theme and it was much better than just including a bunch of random words that had no connection to each other in every video. The last thing I would like to say about this video series is that when there was a noun, they would put both the singular version of the noun and the plural version. In Icelandic there is a lot of noun declension, which means nouns change depending on their case or number, so many nouns would be slightly different in plural form and there's no specific way to predict how they would change, you just have to memorise it. So I was thankful the maker of these videos put in the plural versions of nouns because otherwise I would have had to look them all up individually.

 

Now, for this specific video, obviously I learned the names for a bunch of specific fruits, which is good to know. I wrote all these down and try to review them often. There's more to studying a language than simply memorising words, though. When you learn a language, you learn the sounds of a language and practice pronouncing them and the more you hear the language, the more you will be able to distinguish specific sounds that are not in your own native language. In this video, I paid attention to the "r" sounds in Icelandic. I noticed that r is commonly used at the end of a word to make it plural. I also noticed that it is pronounced slightly differently when in the middle of a word compared to at the end of a word. I noticed that the r's in the middle of a word are rolled while the r's at the end of a word are more breathy sounding. Then I played the video again and realised I was slightly off. It wasn't where the r's where placed that changed how they were pronounced, it was whether they were followed by a vowel or not. R's that were followed by a vowel were rolled while r's that were followed by a consonant or by nothing were slightly breathier. For example, in the word "perur" the first r is rolled because it is followed by a vowel while the second r is slightly breathier because it is followed by nothing. But in the word "Ferskjur" both r's are the breathier kind because the first one is followed by a consonant and the second one is followed by nothing.

 

Another thing I took note of is that some of the words are very similar to other languages I know. When you learn a language, you tend to compare it to your native language(s), even subconsiously sometimes. I noticed the word for orange sounded very similar to the russian word for orange. The word for lemon (sítróna) didn't sound like the russian, english, or german word but I did notice it sounded like the english word "citrus" which has a related meaning, and the russian drink "sitro", which is very similar to lemonade. I then looked up sitro and I found out it came from the french "citron", which means lemon. Also, there is a lot of guessing and checking when it comes to comparing words to ones from other languages. For example, the words "vínber" and "bláber" mean grape and blueberry. Directly translated the roots mean "berry of the vine" and "blue berry". The word after that was "jarðarber" and my mind made a couple connections. The first was that the "-ber" part must mean berry, since that's what that root meant in the two previous words. The next thing I thought of was that it sounded a lot like the German word for strawberry, "Erdbeere" which means "berry of the earth". Knowing this, it would make sense to guess that "jarðar" meant earth. After looking it up, I found out I was right, which means that "jarðarber" also means "berry of the earth". I also noticed that the Icelandic word for watermelon, "vatnsmelóna", also directly translated to "water melon", because "melóna" is a cognate (a word that sounds like the the word in a different language; two similar-sounding words from two seperate languages that mean the same thing) and I knew that "vatn" meant water. 


As you can see, I took this project very seriously, even down to the little details of the short additional videos. There is a lot more to learning a language than it seems, and if you focus and notice every small thing instead of absentmindedly going through it, the information will stick a lot better and it will mean more to you, so it will be easier to learn the language. When going through this video series, I watched every video several times, wrote down the words, and jotted down some notes on specific things I noticed. I didn't go into as great detail as I did in this post, but I did try to find as much meaning in every video as I possibly could. I'm really glad I watched this video series to help me learn some vocabulary, because in the end, I learned a lot more than just some extra words.

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