Cooljugator: The Smart Conjugator in Icelandic

This is a very simple Icelandic verb conjugator. Our goal is to make Icelandic conjugation easy, smart and straightforward.

You can input verbs into the Cooljugator bar above in any form, tense or mood in both Icelandic and English. The Icelandic Cooljugator can currently do around 1,000 verbs. We suggest you try it out.

You can also click here to browse the list of Icelandic verbs that we can conjugate.

Common Icelandic verbs

If you run out of ideas, some Icelandic verbs according to their frequency of use on Cooljugator are:

The Icelandic language

Icelandic is a North Germanic language spoken by some three hundred thousand people in Iceland. It is known for its conservatism and closeness to the urdnordisk (the Viking language), its four-case noun declension (with lots of irregular declensions), and the fact that even modern Icelandic is still to quite a high extent intelligible with Old Norse. It also shares much similarities in terms of its vocabulary with Old English.

Icelandic dates from around the ninth century. Most of its settlers came from Norway and spoke Old Norse - a language which was initially not at all different from that spoken in Norwegian. However, as Iceland is an isolated place, the languages grew apart over time. The sound system of Icelandic adopted new merging sounds, declensions changed, and the language started adopting new words (especially from the uptake of Christianity in the 13th century). Many new words developed through interaction with other countries through trade, as well as further religious ties, especially after the Reformation. When Iceland was occupied during the Second World War by the British and Americans, English also purportedly came to influence Icelandic to some extent.

For these reasons, it is difficult to date Icelandic, but many people date its independent emergence to around the eleventh century. Through the country was ruled by the Danes from 1380 to 1918 (Danish is still usually taught next to English in Icelandic schools), Icelandic was constantly spoken and has not undergone major Danish influence. The language is also particularly close to Faroese, particularly in its written form - the two are said to be mutually intelligible at the least in that form. Icelandic is also known for its aspiration to maintain a pure form, hence Icelandic words are often invented for what would otherwise be international words: for example, 'tölva' stands for 'a computer', and is related to tala (number/digit) and völva (a witch). Other words also abound, such as sjónvarp (TV), þota (airplane), gámur (container), sími (telephone), etc. It is also known for some of its curiously long names: Eyjafjallajökull was a volcano that erupted in 2010 in Iceland, and got known not only for hindering flights in Iceland, but also for having a name notoriously unpronounceable by foreigners.

In terms of its similarities with Old English, Icelandic has retained many words that were used in Old English. For example, Old English frið (peace) is Icelandic friður, Old English sæl (happiness) is Icelandic sæla, Old English list (art) is Icelandic list and so on. Due to these similarities, Icelandic makes for an interesting language to anyone who is interested in the history of English as well.

About Icelandic conjugation

Broadly speaking, Icelandic verbs are put into two main categories: strong verbs, which form their past tense through a vowel change (for example, sofa (to sleep) - svaf (slept)), and weak verbs, which use a dental suffix (-di, ði, -ti, -aði) to form their past tense (svara (to answer) - svaraði - (answered)). Then, in a very interesting paralel to Lithuanian (which also has three conjugation categories based on these very endings - although they work in a very different context in Icelandic and Lithuanian), there are three different verb groups:

  • 'a' verbs - verbs that take on the ending '-ar' in the third person singular form of the present tense and '-aði' in the third person singular form of the past tense.
  • 'i' verbs - ones, which take on the ending '-ir' in the third person singular form of the present tense and '-ði/-ti/-di' in the third person singular form of the past tense.
  • 'u' verbs - verbs that use '-ur' in the third person singular form of the present tense.
  • strong verbs - a category of their own, which have specific rules related to vowel change for past formation

The vast majority of Icelandic verbs are conjugated by these most import factors:

  • tense - Icelandic has three simple present, past, and future tenses, although the future tense is a compound tense (it is formed by using 'mun-' and the verb in the infinitive, which is usual for Scandinavian and Germanic languages); through compounding, a continuous tense is also possible;
  • person - Icelandic has six different persons endings (whereas English has only two for most verbs: I/you/we/you/they understand vs. he/she understands);
  • mood - it indicates the attitude of the speaker; in Icelandic, we have four moods in the Icelandic language: the indicative (e.g. 'ég dorma' - 'I sleep') and imperative (used in commands, 'lær' - 'learn!'); Icelandic allows the creation of the conditional mood through use of the word 'mund-', (e.g. 'mundi dorma' would be 'would sleep') and also a subjunctive mood (used before desires, for example, e.g. the word 'be' is in the subjunctive in the phrase 'I wish that he be here)';
  • aspect - this feature connects the Icelandic verb to the flow of time; for example, 'Ég hef bróderað' is 'I have embroidered', and that can be contrasted with the simple past 'bróderaði' - 'I embroidered';
  • voice - indicates the actor and can be active or passive, e.g. the distinction in English between 'I create' and 'I am (being) created; in Icelandic, there is a peculiar tense called the 'mediopassive'. The mediopassive generally serves the function of reflexivity (making the difference between 'he dresses' in 'hann klæðir' - and 'he dresses himself' in 'hann hann klæðist'), but it can also take on many other functions of expressing the passive voice, changing the verb's meaning, serving in indirect speech, etc.

In the Icelandic Cooljugator, we try to provide you as many of these factors of Icelandic conjugation in both of its varieties as possible.

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