Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Icelandic alphabet

The Icelandic alphabet consists of the following letters:

A, , B, (C), D, , E, , F, G, H, I, , J, K, L, M, N, O, , P, (Q), R, S, T, U, , V, (W), X, Y, , (Z), , ,

The modern Icelandic alphabet has developed from a standard established in the 19th century, by the Danish linguist Rasmus Rask primarily. It is ultimately based heavily on an orthographic standard created in the early 12th century by a mysterious document referred to as The First Grammatical Treatise, author unknown. The standard was intended for what its author perceived to be a common language of Scandinavia, alias Old Norse. It did not have much influence, however, at the time.

The most defining characteristics of the alphabet were established in the old treatise:

The later Rasmus Rask standard was basically a re-enactment of the old treatise, with some changes to fit concurrent Germanic conventions, such as the exclusive use of k rather than c. Various old features, like , had actually not seen much use in the later centuries, so Rask's standard constituted a major change in practice.

Later 20th century changes are most notably the adoption of , which had previously been written as je (reflecting the modern pronunciation), and the abolition of z, which had long been a mere etymological detail.