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Learn Icelandic #06: Being polite

It’s time for another podcast (and maybe some vocal coaching on my part) but this time around I’m going to teach you a few words to be all polite while in Iceland. Although I’m mostly just covering Thank you and You’re welcome I somehow managed to babble on for 8 minutes. Consider yourself warned.

The phrases covered in this episode

  • Takk (Thanks)
  • Þakka þér fyrir (Thank you)
  • Kærar þakkir (Thank you very much)
  • Verði þér að góðu (You are welcome)
  • Takk fyrir mig (Thank you for dinner)
  • Takk fyrir síðast (Thank you for the last time I saw you)

And an extra bonus

  • Lundi tók samlokuna mína (A puffin took my sandwich)

Enjoy!

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  1. “Nose-blowing foreigner” is my new favorite insult. 🙂

    1. I agree, Megan!! Takk, Auður, for the note about blowing noses. When I visit Iceland this year, I’ll definitely remember. I have allergies and my nose runs constantly!! I think they’ll go away in Iceland, because they do sometimes when I travel to other places, but I’m definitely an icky nose-blower 🙂

  2. I am currently studying Icelandic from the University’s online course.
    I want to be prepared for my visit.
    Everyone should try to learn a few polite phrases when traveling to another country.
    This little lesson of yours is great.
    I especially love the added bonus about a sandwich stealing bird.
    When I am ordering a sandwich in Iceland, I will preface my order with: “Lundi tok samlokuna mina”.

    1. Post comment

      Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Glad you enjoyed it

  3. Just read this and realised i was saying ‘thank you’ wrong on my trip 🙁 but will keep trying….

  4. Hi! I’ve been using the Drops app to try to learn some Icelandic before an upcoming trip. It teaches that the word “please” is “vinsamlegast.” It doesn’t yet give any context for this. Can you tell me in what situations “vinsamlegast” would be appropriate? Takk!

    1. Post comment

      Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Please doesn’t really exist in Icelandic and although vinsamlegast can be used in some situations, most people wouldn’t use it. It sounds a bit harsh, like when you tell you’re kids “please stop” but what you really mean is “stop or else” 🙂 It also sounds quite formal, like when I send a booking to a partner I might say “Vinsamlegast bókið og staðfestið” which means “Please book and confirm”. But if I would go to the bar and ask for a beer, I would never use vinsamlegast.

      1. Takk, Auður. I’m glad I asked. 🙂 Language learning apps are great, but they don’t always provide usage information, and understanding the context in which a word is used is pretty important.

    2. Post comment

      Hrannar - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Susan

      We don’t have a word for please for what you are thinking about. Vinsamlegast is more for “could you vinsamlegast close the door?” – for example.
      At the bar we don’t say” could I have one beer, please?” We just say “one beer” or ” could I have one beer?”. I know that this might seem rude, but it’s just how we do it.
      This is the most common thing foreigners ask us about when they are learning their first words in Icelandic.

      So, the bottom line is: Don’t worry about using please in Iceland, and vinsamlegast is rarely used.

      -Hrannar

      1. Takk, Hrannar. As I said in reply to Auður above, I’m glad I asked. I appreciate the insight. Understanding the context in which a word is used is pretty important, and it’s one thing missing from the Drops app.

  5. Takk, Hrannar. As I said in reply to Auður above, I’m glad I asked. I appreciate the insight. Understanding the context in which a word is used is pretty important, and it’s one thing missing from the Drops app.