UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Icelandic Level 1

Prerequisite for entry

For complete beginners or those who have had only very little contact with the language.

Term duration

10 x 2-hour classes.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the course is to enable students to function at a basic everyday survival level (basic vocabulary, grammar, morphology, syntax and phonetics). Students should be able to communicate in and understand Icelandic on a number of practical everyday matters.

Please note, the syllabus is subject to minor changes depending on each group´s needs and progress. 


  • Greetings, introducing yourself and others
  • Talking about skills and abilities (I can drive, sing, speak Icelandic)
  • Talking about likes and dislikes (of activities and of food)
  • Talking about activities happening at the present moment (I am reading)
  • Talking about future intention (I am going to read)
  • Talking about what was happening at a past moment (I was reading)
  • Telling the time and what weekday it is
  • Talking about basic routine activities and frequency (I often/never/sometimes wake up early)
  • Making and responding to invitations (Do you want to come with me to the cinema?)
  • Using numbers: exchanging phone numbers, giving your address, stating years, giving prices)
  • Talking about food 

Linguistic structures/ Phonetics

  • The alphabet and the general sounds of Icelandic
  • The different pronunciations of L, F and G
  • Silent consonants in consonant clusters 
  • Deletion of -a, -i and -u vowels


  • Personal pronouns (in the nominative)
  • The present and past continuous
  • The verb að ætla to express future intention
  • The present tense - verb groups 1,2 and 3
  • The gender of nouns and the definite article
  • The plural of nouns and the plural definite article
  • The adjective góður (nominative, singular and plural)
  • Numbers 1-4 in the masculine, feminine and neuter
  • Word order 
  • The irregular verbs að kunna (to know how to ) and að eiga (to have)
  • The impersonal verb að finnast and dative pronouns

Learning resources


  • Teacher’s own workbook and materials


  • Glossaries from Colloquial Icelandic & Learning Icelandic
  • Íslensk ensk orðabók - Iðunn
  • Ensk-íslensk skólaorðabók – Mál & Menning

In addition there is a wide range of language learning materials for self-study in the Self-Access Centre.