Research topic: Iceland

Iceland is one of the smallest states in Europe, at least in terms of population (approx. 320,000). Even so the country has a strong voice internationally.

During the last 100 years, the efficient exploitation of Iceland's rich fisheries has allowed the country to emerge from poverty into a welfare state.

During the 9th and 10th centuries, Iceland was populated by migrants, particularly from Norway. As a result, Icelandic is closely related to the Scandinavian languages.
Norwegians find Danish and Swedish easily intelligible. But a Norwegian visiting Iceland will have difficulties. While many words are familiar, they are pronounced and inflected differently.

The system of inflection in Icelandic is almost the same as in Old Norse, making a knowledge of Icelandic very useful for anyone wanting to read the sagas in the original language or to understand how the Norwegian language has evolved.

Icelanders tend to use Icelandic words instead of foreign loanwords. Frequently they invent terms with Icelandic roots to describe new concepts and inventions.  For example, a "telephone" is known as "sími" (an old word for "thread"), while a "bicycle" is known as "reiðhjól" (a wheel you can ride on).

The Icelandic sagas comprise an invaluable contribution to Europe's cultural heritage. They have also been highly significant for the cultural history of Norway and the writing of Norwegian history.

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Published Feb. 8, 2013 11:33 AM - Last modified Oct. 5, 2015 10:29 AM