Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database

The SAC is here to pro­vide you with op­por­tu­ni­ties to study Ice­landic out­side class time. If you need ad­vice and guid­ance on what to study, you should talk to your class tu­tor, who will help you iden­tify your strengths and weak­nesses and make rec­om­men­da­tions on what to study.

A bit about the language

Ice­landic (íslenska) is an Indo-Eu­ro­pean lan­guage be­long­ing to the Ger­manic lan­guages. It is the clos­est liv­ing rel­a­tive of Faroese; these two lan­guages, along with Nor­we­gian, com­prise the West Scan­di­na­vian lan­guages, de­scended from the west­ern di­alects of Old Norse. Dan­ish and Swedish make up the other branch, called the East Scan­di­na­vian lan­guages. More re­cent analy­sis di­vides the North Ger­manic lan­guages into in­su­lar Scan­di­na­vian and con­ti­nen­tal Scan­di­na­vian lan­guages. The con­ser­vatism of the Ice­landic lan­guage and the fact that it is al­most iden­tit­cal to Old Norse (which is equiv­a­lently termed Old Ice­landic by lin­guists) means that mod­ern Ice­landers can eas­ily read the Ed­das, sagas, and other clas­sic Old Norse lit­er­ary works cre­ated in the tenth through thir­teenth cen­turies. The vast ma­jor­ity of Ice­landic speak­ers — about 320,000 — live in Ice­land. There are over 8,000 speak­ers of Ice­landic liv­ing in Den­mark. The lan­guage is also spo­ken by some 5,000 peo­ple in the US and by over 1,400 peo­ple in Canada, with the largest group liv­ing in Man­i­toba, no­tably Gimli (Gimli be­ing an Old Norse word for 'heav­en').