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Icelandic phonology

From:Trebor Jung <treborjung@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 7, 2004, 22:46
There's been some discussion on Icelandic pronunciation recently... Thought
I'd share this with you; it's a file an native Icelandic speaker from the
Zompist Board sent me last month. It's pretty detailed (but unfortunately
doesn't mention <kv>).

      Slender vowels
     Broad vowels

      a + one consonant [A:]
     á + one consonant [Au:]

      a + two or more consonants [A]
     á + two or more consonants [Au]

      e + one consonant [E:]
     ei/ey + one consonant [Ei:]

      e + two or more consonants [E]
     ei/ey + two or more consonants [Ei]

      é + one consonant [jE:]
     é + -ng- [jEi:]

      é + two or more consonants [jE]
     é + -nk- [jEi]

      i/y + one consonant [I:]
     í/ý + one consonant [i]

      i/y + two or more consonants [I]
     í/ý + two or more consonants [i]

      o + one consonant [O:]
     ó + one consonant [Ou:]

      o + two or more consonants [O]
     ó + two or more consonants [Ou]

      u + one consonant [Y:]
     ú + one consonant [u:]

      u + two or more consonants [Y]
     ú + two or more consonants [u]

      ö + one consonant [9:]
     au + one consonant [9y:]

      ö + two or omre consonants [9]
     au + two or omre consonants [9y]

      æ + one consonant [Ai:]

      æ + two or more consonants [Ai]

All slender vowels are pronounced as broad vowels before ng or nk, but that
is not indicated orthographically, except if the origin of the word

engi ["Ei:N.cI:]

tunga ["tu:N.kA:]

kóngur ["kOu:N.kY:r_h]

b: [p]. silent before -d, -s, -t, and after -m
d: [t]. silent before genitive -s.
ð: [D] in most positons (it's not allowed at the beginning of a word) but
becomes [D_0] at the end of a word, if the following word begins with a
consonant, or if the word is at the end of a sentence.
f: 1.[f]- when f is the first letter of the word, or followed by -k or -s.
2. [v] when between vowels or at the end of a word. 3. [b] When followed by
l or n.
g: 1.[k] when followed by a, á, o, ó, u, ú, ö, g, l, n, or when following a
consonant. 2. [j] when a short vowel in consturctions like intervocalic gj,
when followed by i or y, í or ý. [c] when followed by i, í, y, ý, e, j or æ.
4. [G] between vowels, before r or ð. 5. [G_0] at the ends of words, if the
next word begins in a consonant, or when the word is at the end of a

gt: [xt]
h: [h].
j: [j]
k: 1. [k_h] normally. 2. [c_h] before e, i, í, y, ý, j or æ.

kk: 1. [hk] normally. 2. [hc] before e, i, í, y, ý, j or æ.
l: [l]. [K] before voiceless consonants and at the end of a word
m: [m] normally but [m_0] before p, t or k
n: 1. [n] before voiced consonants, b or d or a vowel. 2. [n_0] before p and
t. 3. [J] before allophonic [c] 4. [J_0] before allophonic [c_h] 5. [N]
before [k]. 6. before [k_h].
p: 1. [p_h] normally. 2. [f] before t.

pp: 1. [hp] in all cases, except before t where this becomes [f].
r: 1. [4] normally, 2. [r] when doubled. 3. [r_0] when before p, t or k, or
at the end of a word.
s: [s]
t: [t_h]

tt: [ht]
v: [v]
x: [ks]
z: [s] (Not used anymore, was used to indicate a vanished t, still found in
older busses and in old signs, some old books as well.)
þ: [T]