Finnish - “Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas” - (something to do with the Finnish Air Force. Hard to translate but impressively long)
Icelandic - “Vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur” - key ring of the key chain of the outer door to the storage tool shed of the road workers on the Vaðlaheiði plateau (Icelandic isn’t even really an agglutinative language which makes this even more impressive)
Turkish - “Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine” - as though you are from those we may not be able to easily make a number of unsuccessful ones
And then the longest word is, of course, German. It’s 79 letters long and almost impossible to use in context:
German - “Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerk-bauunterbeamtengesellschaft” - Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services.
If you know any more impressively long words that I missed, please let me know so I can add them!
LazyTown, meme show supreme, is a good show to use for practice! The show has been dubbed into nearly 32 languages, according to the Wikipedia, so there should be something for everyone. It is faster than Peppa Pig and I’d recommend it mostly to people at B1/B2 level, but it can be good just to let the language wash over you for the immersion. It’s use of songs are quite nice breaks between dialogue too. There is also generally a lot of it free on YouTube, which is nice
There seems to be this idea out there that the Icelandic language is an incredibly difficult language for English speakers to learn, so when I first started studying it I was a bit nervous. However, although I still haven’t been studying it for very long, I’ve yet to run across anything that’s scared me off, and quite a bit that actually makes it quite easy to pick up as a native English speaker. So to cast off some of the stigma, here are some things that make Icelandic easy to learn (or at least not as horrifying as I’d been led to believe):
Spelling is very consistent. Icelandic spelling is mostly phonetic, where each letter represents only one sound. While there are a few instances where letters aren’t pronounced exactly the same, the variations are regular so you can learn when they’re said differently instead of just having to guess, and over time they will become natural with practice. French is supposed to be relatively easy for English speakers to learn due to shared vocabulary, but Icelandic beats French hands down in this area.
Most of the sounds are similar to English. Many of the letters are pronounced basically just like English, and while it might look a little intimidating with all the extra vowels with accent marks and so on, most of those are sounds we actually have in English, they just represent them explicitly in Icelandic, which actually helps with the point about spelling above. Here is a great video that very clearly explains the Icelandic alphabet, and as you can see, out of the 14 vowels/diphthongs there are only 3 that aren’t in English. So sure, there are some sounds that aren’t in English, but that’s going to happen in almost any language, and Icelandic doesn’t seem to be any worse in this area than German, for example. In fact, if you know both German and English, you’re pretty much set when it comes to Icelandic phonemes.
The stress is always the same. In Icelandic words are always pronounced with the stress on the first syllable. In Spanish, for example, the stress changes based on which letters a word ends with and whether or not there are any accent marks, so you have to learn those rules and then memorize each exception so you know where to put the accent, and it can be a little tricky. In Icelandic there is only one rule that never changes, making it super simple.
There are only four cases. Okay, if you’ve never studied a language with cases before, having any at all can be a bit daunting coming from English since we don’t really use them much, but if you’re going to learn a language with cases only having four is pretty great! It’s the same number of cases as German has, and waaay better than Slavic languages that can have six or seven, and there are other languages which have even more.
There are only three new characters to learn. A lot of people seem to be intimidated by the special characters Ðð, Þþ, and Ææ, but if you compare those three
characters to languages like Greek, Russian, Arabic, or even Japanese – which has two separate syllabaries on top of thousands of kanji to learn – you can see how it’s nothing at all. Best of all, those characters represent sounds that already exist in English, so you can easily learn how to pronounce them. Ð is pronounced as the ‘th’ in ‘breathe’, Þ as the ‘th’ in ‘breath’, and æ as the ‘i’ in ‘hi’. In fact, if you want to say “Hi!” in Icelandic it’s exactly the same: “Hæ!” Similarly, “Bye!” is “Bæ!” You can see too how the spelling here is consistent in Icelandic, using only one character to represent the same sound, while in English we use ‘i’ in one word and ‘ye’ in the other, and in other words we might use even more spellings for the same sound, such as ‘ai’ or ‘y’, or even ‘igh’ (like in ‘sigh’). So even though you do have to learn a few new characters, it’s hardly any, and once you’ve learned them it actually makes Icelandic much easier to read and spell than it would be without them.
A lot of vocab comes from the same Germanic roots as English words. While English has borrowed a bunch of vocab from Latin languages, it still contains many words that come from its Germanic origins, which it shares with Icelandic. You’ve already seen hæ and bæ, and there’s also halló (hello), dóttir (daughter), móðir (mother), hér (here), frá (from), takk (thanks), heitt (hot), kalt (cold), hjálp (help), fiskur (fish), nót (net), undir (under), mús (mouse), and many more.
Basic grammar is very similar to English. Like I’ve said, I haven’t been studying long so I’m sure there’s more complicated stuff coming up, but in the basics I’ve run across so far the word order is so similar to English that you can pretty much take an English sentence and switch out the English words for their Icelandic versions and have a correct sentence. Some examples:
I am from Canada.
Ég er frá Kanada.
Are you from Iceland?
Ert þú frá Íslandi?
I am not from Spain.
Ég er ekki frá Spáni.
They come from Japan.
Þau koma frá Japan.
I don’t know about you, but the above doesn’t seem so difficult to me. Even if you haven’t learned the pronunciation yet, the grammatical structure is very familiar and many of the words look similar to their English counterparts.
Of course there are difficult things about Icelandic, but there are difficult things about every language. Icelandic is certainly not an impossible language to learn, and there are many things about it that are actually quite simple compared to other languages, or at the very least not any worse. If you’ve considered learning Icelandic, but were hesitant after hearing how terribly difficult it supposedly is, maybe this will show that it doesn’t have to be so scary after all.
The Icelandic horse has a very individual character. It is patient, adaptable, uncomplicated and sometimes very spirited, it has a friendly personality and a special affinity for people. Bred as a riding and working horse for the Icelandic farmer makes it an excellent family horse. With no natural predators in its home country, the horse has shed much of its natural “fight or flight” instinct. If they see you they are generally keen to trot over for a pat and to say hello
In winter they grow a thick layer of coat and they love to stay outside as long as they have a shelter if the weather gets bad and have enough to eat
German: Ich, Mir, Du/Sie, Er, Sie, Wir, Sie Low Saxon: Ekj, Mie, Jie, Hee, See, Wie, See Old English: Ic, Mé, Ðu/Þu, Hé, Héo, Wé, Hie Dutch: Ik, Mij, Je/U, Hij, Ze, Wij, Ze Afrikaans: Ek, Jy/U, Hy, Sy, Ons, Hulle Frisian: Ik, My, Do, Hy, It, Wy, Sy Scots: Ah, Me, Ye, He, She, We, They Faroese: Eg/Jeg, Meg, Tú, Hann, Hon, Vær, Tey Old Norse: Ek, Mik, Þú, Han, Hon, Vér, Þau Danish: Jeg, Mig, Du, Han, Hun, Vi, De Norwegian: Jeg, Meg, Du, Han, Hun, Vi, de Swedish: Jag, Mig, Du, Han, Hon, Vi, De Icelandic: Ég, Mig, Þú, Hann, Hún, Við, Þau
German: Berg Low Saxon: Boajch Old English: Beorg Dutch: Berg Afrikaans: Berg Frisian: Berch Scots: Montan Faroese: Fjoll Old Norse: Fell/Fjall Danish: Bjerg Norwegian: Fjell Swedish: Berg/Fjäll Icelandic: Fjall