Icelandic alphabet

The Unique Icelandic Letters

Traveling to Iceland will leave you in awe of the spectacular nature, the clean air, the fresh water, the lack of insects and perhaps also the Icelandic Language.
Most Western European languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, English, Italian, French, and so on have greatly reduced levels of inflection, particularly noun declension. In contrast, Icelandic retains a four-case synthetic grammar comparable to, but considerably more conservative and synthetic than, German. It is inappropriate to compare the grammar of Icelandic to that of the more conservative Baltic, Slavic, and Indic languages of the Indo-European family, many of which retain six or more cases, except to note that Icelandic utilizes a wide assortment of irregular declensions. Icelandic also possesses many instances of oblique cases without any governing word, as does Latin. For example, many of the various Latin ablatives have a corresponding Icelandic dative. However, despite its arguable baggage, the remarkable conservatism of the Icelandic language and its resultant near-isomorphism to Old Norse (which is equivalently termed Old Icelandic by linguists) means that, to their delight, modern Icelanders can easily read the Eddas, sagas, and other classic Old Norse literary works created in the tenth through thirteenth centuries.
Icelandic may, at first glance, look very formidable to an outsider. The Icelandic language has strange characters such as "Æ" or "þ" and "ð" in addition to the many accented vowels which can leave a native English speaker at a loss. However, once some of the basic rules have been cleared up, pronunciation is fairly straightforward.
What follows is a crash course in Icelandic pronunciation. The individual letters have been paired up with sounds from common English words. When speaking Icelandic it is important to remember that stress always falls on the first syllable of any word.

Vowels
Some vowels in Icelandic can have accent marks which modify the sound of that particular vowel, these are not just accent marks, but are actually distinct letters, for example, "a" and "á" are not the same thing.
Also, vowels can come in long or short forms. In Icelandic, all vowels can be long or short. Vowels are long when they are in single syllable words, or when they form the penultimate syllable in two syllable words.

A a
(Short) like "a" in "land", (long) like "a" in "car"; or like "ow" in "now" when followed by "ng" or "nk".
Á á
Like "ow" in "now".
E e
(Short) like "e" in "met", (long) like "ea" in "bear".
É é
Like "ye" in "yes".
I i
(Short) like "i" in "bit", (long) same "i" but lengthened; or like "ee" in "meet" when followed by "ng" or "nk".
Í í
Like "ee" in "meet".
O o
(Short) like "o" in "hot", (long) like "or" in "door".
Ó ó
Like "o" in "snow".
U u
(Short) like "u" in "put", (long) the same short "u" but lengthened; or like "oo" in "moon" when followed by "ng" or "nk".
Ú ú
Like "oo" in "moon".
Y y
Same as Icelandic "i": (short) like "i" in "bit", (long) same "i" but lengthened; or like "ee" in "meet" when followed by "ng" or "nk".
Ý ý
Same as Icelandic "í": like "ee" in "meet".
Æ æ
Like "i" in "mile".
Ö ö
(Short) like "ur" in "fur" but shorter, (long) like "ur" in "fur"; (do not pronouce the "r").
[edit]Consonants
B b
Always like "p" in "speak".
D d
Always like "t" in "sting".
Ð ð
Like "th" in "that", (only occurs in word middle and word end).
F f
Like "f" in "fish", or like "v" in "van" when between vowels; or when before "l" or "n", like "p" in "speak".
G g
Like "k" in "skill", but similar to Hungarian "ty" when before e, i, æ, j, or y; it is lost after "á", "ó", "u" when followed by "a" or "u" in the next syllable or when at word end.
H h
Like "h" in "hat", or like "k" when before a consonant; (never silent like "honour").
J j
Like "y" in "yes".
K k
Like "k" in "kill" when word-initial, but similar to Hungarian "ty" with a puff of air when before e, i, æ, j, or y as word-initial; otherwise like the usual case for "g".
L l
Like "l" in "like".
M m
Like "m" in "me".
N n
Like "n" in "nurse".
P p
Like "p" in "push" when word-initial, or like "f" in "far" when before "s", "k", or "t"; otherwise pronounced like "b"
R r
Rolled, like Scottish "r".
S s
Like "s" in "sun"; (never like "z" in "zero").
T t
Like "t" in "take".
V v
Like "v" in "value".
X x
Like "x" in "axe".
Þ þ
Like "th" in "thing" (never occurs at the end of a word).
[edit]Common diphthongs and letter combinations
au
Like "ur" in "fur" (do not prononce the r) followed by "ee" in "see" but with no intervening "r" - "u(r)-ee", similar to "oy" in "boy".
ei, ey
Like "ay" in "say".
gi, gj
Like "gy" in "drag-you" at word start; like "y" in "yes" in word middle or at word end.
hv
Like "kv" in "lock vent".
kk
Like "chk" in Scottish "Loch Carron".
ll
Like "tl" in "settle". Similar to Welsh "ll" (double L) but more aspirated (has more air to it).
ng
Like "nk" in "thinker", not "ng" in "finger".
nn
Like "dn" in "hard-nosed" when after "á", "é", "í", "ó", "ú", "ý", "æ", "au", "ei", or "ey"; or like "nn" in "tunnel" after "a", "e", "i", "o", "u", "y" or "ö".
pp
Like "h" and "p" fused together, similar to "hop" without the "o".
rl
Like "dl" in "riddle" similar in form to Welsh "ll" (double L) but said harder.
rn
Like "dn" in "hard-nosed" when after "á", "é", "í", "ó", "ú", "ý", "æ", "au", "ei", or "ey".
tt
Like "h" and "t" fused together, similar to "hut" without the "u".