In Icelandic 2 For Travel we added “Where …” questions – if you’re looking for the bathroom, a pharmacy, a bus stop, the harbor, a bank or an ATM.
Asking such questions in Icelandic – especially if you have practiced your pronunciation a bit – may let your conversation partner assume that you understand Icelandic quite well.
The result may well be an answer and a stream of words that will fly right by you.
So asking the person to speak more slowly could be your first reply in such a case: “Gætirðu talað hægar?”
Especially if you’re taking self-driving tours to explore the island, it would be good to know some basic directional words and phrases in Icelandic – left, right, straight ahead – as the typical answers may well include them.
The Next 13 Icelandic Phrases
Why These Phrases?
In Essential Icelandic 1 and 2, we listed greetings and typical “where is…?” questions. Even if you have never studied Icelandic before, it will be useful to learn and practice saying greetings and questions.
In Essential Icelandic 3, there are only two sentences you may want to practice saying: “Could you speak more slowly?” and “Thanks for your help.”
The other 11 phrases and sentences will be useful to understand as you receive answers to your “where is…?” question. You still may want to record yourself saying them, so you can confirm, what you thought you understood- and – you’ll also remember them better that way.
Food, Drinks, Restaurants
Finding a recommended restaurant, Café, or bar has been made much easier with GPS equipped smart phones and mobile devices.
Once you have arrived at the place, you may have to ask for a table and the Menu, place an order and then ask for and pay the check.
Knowing a few key phrases in Icelandic, especially if you’re outside of the capital city, Reykjavik, will make all this much easier. (Look for some food related words and phrases in one of our next “Essentials”)
If you are used to the 15-20% tips, generally expected in US restaurants, you’ll be pleasantly surprised: In nearly all West-European countries, tips are included in your check. That’s also true for Iceland, and it’s not customary to add a tip.
Traveling around Iceland
As you’ll travel around Iceland you’ll encounter some names, which you’ll have a hard time pronouncing. Just try “Þingvellir” or “Fjaðrárgljúfur ” for example.
Icelandic 4 For Travel will have those and the names of some other places as well as Icelandic words for “geyser, water, islands, fields”. Maybe you can then figure out how to pronounce the names of the villages and sites you are exploring.