Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Learn Icelandic using playful drawings of Icelandic words created by an Instagram user

By Staff

  • Eldspýta A very straight forward word. In Icelandic a match is called eldspýta, composed of eld, meaning fire, and spýta, meaning a piece of wood. Photo/Instragram-everysinglewordinicelandic.

An Instagram user snorlax.gif has launched an interesting project to illustrate Icelandic words. Although we doubt that she will be able to reach her goal, which seems to be to illustrate "every single world in Icelandic" (at least if we go by the name of the Instagram account "everysinglewordinicelandic") the results so far are both fun and interesting.

snorlax.gif has already illustrated or created pictographs for 70 different Icelandic words, creating playful riddles in the process. The images also highlight the creative and fun nature of Icelandic, which insists on creating new Icelandic words for modern things or concepts or phenomena which didn‘t exist in Icelandic, rather than simply adopt foreign (English) words to represent these.

Read more: Courses in modern Icelandic offered at UC Berkeley this fall

We especially like her illustration of the Icelandic word for racoon raccoon (þvottabjörn, which literally translates as washing- or bathing-bear), aquarium (fiskabúr: fish-cage), volcano (eldfjall: fire-mountain) and music (tónlist: sound-art).

And then there is this very helpful illustration of Eyjafjallajökull (which translates literally as island-mountain-glacier.




Þvottur (washing) + Björn (bear) = Þvottabjörn (raccoon)

A photo posted by @everysinglewordinicelandic on



Brjóst (breast) + Að halda (to hold) = Brjóstahöld (bra)

A photo posted by @everysinglewordinicelandic on



Skál! This is what you say when you are having beers with your friends and want to say cheers!

A photo posted by @everysinglewordinicelandic on


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