Icelandic is a difficult language to learn. Even us Icelanders have a hard time what with all the conjugating and exceptions to the rules. We don’t expect our foreign guests to pick up on much at all and there is really no need since most Icelanders speak English fluently. Nevertheless, Icelanders really appreciate it when people make an effort so here are a few simple Icelandic words and phrases to throw around.
Takk: Thank you
Adding “Takk” to your vocabulary is the simplest way to be polite in Iceland. Someone opens the door for you: Takk! Someone points you to a waterfall: Takk! Someone gives you the last shot of Brennivín: Wow! Takk!
Þetta reddast: It will sort itself out
Nothing captures the Icelandic mentality as well as this sentence. It can mean not dwelling too long on the problem at hand or even ignoring it completely cause in the end, things always work out.
The meaning of this word is very situational. It can mean “Let’s go!”, or “I’m feeling cozy” or “This is awkward” or “Stop it this instance!” or “How did it go?” and so much more. Try it out when you have a feeling you want to convey verbally but can’t find the right phrase for.
Gluggaveður: Window weather
Sometimes, especially in spring, the sun will play a trick on us. It shines so beautifully through our windows that we start believing that it’s warm outside when, in reality, the temperatures are freezing. This is what we call “window weather” and it’s perfect for winter photography.
Allt gott: All good
Rather than say “How are you”, Icelanders will only ask for the positive and say “Hvað segirðu gott?” meaning “What do you say good?” Unless you plan on getting real personal, the standard and best answer to this question are simply “Allt gott!”
Sjáumst: See you
“Bless bless” is another acceptable way to bid farewell but honestly, if you are sticking around for a few days, odds are you will run into the same people again. And why say goodbye if you can say see you later?