My Mind on Icelandic

Over the weekend I found myself in a very typical situation, being the only non-Icelandic person in a room full of Icelanders. This is basically a daily occurrence in my life now and I am finally starting to get a bit used to it.

Not knowing what everyone is talking about though can be quite uncomfortable so for today’s confession post I am giving you an insight into my mind during these situations.


Okay, I am going to listen and follow this conversation. Bring on the Icelandic.

Jon Snow Gifvia

Two minutes in, at least have an idea of what is being talked about. #winning

Wow, who invited this girl into the conversation. She talks so fast, is she pausing to breath? I hope she slows down or leaves, I have no idea what is going on right now.


There is no way they are speaking Icelandic, these are not real words!

What did you sayvia

And I am lost, trying to follow a conversation in a foreign language is difficult and exhausting.


I wonder when someone will switch to English, I better still act interested.


What, did I just zone out? Did someone say my name? Okay I am paying attention, Icelandic lets go.

Ohhh I know that word! I can totally do this! Okay, everyone slow down so I can understand! Yes, another word I know, I am killin it at this Icelandic thing.


Umm are they talking to me? I thought I knew what was going on but I am quickly realizing that I have no idea anything they just said. Someone translate the question for me!

What, was that English I just heard! Someone must have noticed that I had no idea what was going on. Excited and interested face back on.


Question of the Day?
Have you ever tried to follow along a conversation in a different language?

Vodka and Soda

Linking up with Treasure Tromp and The Grits Blog.

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  • Haha, LOVE THIS! I occasionally try and listen in on Spanish conversations and give up within two minutes.

    • Sometimes I want to give up quite quickly as well, is so much effort trying to understand a conversation in a different language!

  • I work in a bilingual office, and my Spanish comprehension has much improved over the course of the time I’ve been working there. They talk so quickly though! It takes so much concentration to follow.

    • I agree, I work in an office with mostly only Icelanders and it has really helped my understanding of the language!

  • Krystal R.

    haha when in doubt nod and smile haha That what I did when I went to India because nooo amount of prep prepared me for several Indian languages spoken at speeds that I could not possibly be expected to keep up with. haha

    • I couldn’t imagine trying to follow several different languages at once! Smiling is definitely the way to go when in doubt :)

  • Haha yep. My French is just like this (though your Icelandic is loads better than my French). Unless I’ve been drinking and then I think I am fluent in all languages! x

    • I think having a drink is the key in learning new languages :)

  • hahaha–reminds me of spending time with my husband’s family, though their language of choice is Spanish. I can catch a lot of it, but when people start talking at the same time and interrupting each other and I get too far behind, I definitely have the tendency to give up and zone out…

    • I agree, there is only so much Icelandic I can keep up with before I give up and zone out!

  • oh man, i know what you mean! i felt like this once in a meeting at work, everyone was all talking about medical products and stuff about the economy and I was completely lost……worst part is, that they were speaking the same language as me, LOL!

    • That stuff would confuse me as well and sound like a different language!

  • HAHAHA this is hysterical!! I LOVE the GIFS! I cant imagine what it must be like in a foreign land.. The first gif had me dying! Love it!!


    • Haha it helps just laughing a lot at yourself when living abroad! Glad you enjoyed them:)

  • I always think I know Spanish until people who actually speak Spanish are around. It’s so hard to follow another language!

    • It really is so hard to follow another language! If your above the age of 4 I won’t be able to understand you in Icelandic!

  • I can’t imagine trying to keep up with native Icelandic!!

  • bwahaha this is so perfect. I do this with Spanish as well. I have to be SERIOUSLY concentrating in order to offer anything into a conversation. It is so easy for me to let my mind slip and wander away to something else. And that is just Spanish. Go girl with your Icelandic!

    • It is like the most I have concentrated in my life on one thing! Learning a new language is tough! You as well, keep up the work with Spanish!

  • I always feel like everything is being said at super human speed, and all I can think is no way I talk that fast in English :) Though it is just because my poor little brain can’t keep up :)

    • I agree, I just don’t even think its possible to speak words that quickly!

  • Rachel Murphree

    HAHA! When I am trying to understand a foreign language, sometimes I feel like a dog that cocks its head when it hears “walk” or “dinner.” Like, Hey! I know what that means!

    • Ha exactly! It is a small victory every time I hear a word that I understand!

  • OMG I would be so lost!!

  • Love this, I can totally relate. I’d have to add “Starts making up fake conversations for own amusement. Begins snickering and is the target of many confused glances.

  • i always think that my high school french prepares me for understanding most conversational french, until people actually start speaking to me in french. then i have to ask them to slow down so i can understand. they usually give up and switch to English. i still claim to understand french, btw LOL

    thanks for linking up!

    Vodka and Soda

    • Right! I always think I am making progress and can understand a ton of Icelandic, until someone starts speaking to me, if they are over the age of 5 I am completely lost!

  • hahaha ‘these are not real words!’ That’s how I feel. My dad is Indian so I can understand the pleasantries and when they fight, I understand the swearing :) I’m not around it though, so that’s the best I’ve got.

    • How interesting! I use to think everyone was angry with each other since Icelandic has a lot of harsh sounds in it!

  • I still get that with Russian after so long. Especially if we’re all out at a bar, I find my attention drifting and always get terrified when someone asks me a question. It’s not a relaxing time if I constantly have to be using my brain!

  • Haha sounds like me and German. Especially when you go to respond and you’re like, I think I got this…maybe…ok…English now?

    • Ha exactly, I may be able to follow along a conversation quite well but when I go to open my mouth to respond no Icelandic comes out.

  • “These are not real words.” Bahahahahahahahahahah! If only there were subtitles in real life!

  • Sarah Kerner

    Ha! I studied abroad in Spain when I was in college and this was totally me during my classes! I mean seriously… Econ in Spanish? That’s just crazy. Thank goodness it was pass/fail.

    • I couldn’t even imagine Econ in Spanish! I had a hard enough time following Econ in English!

  • Oh man! This was the story of my life the first few weeks/months I lived in Austria. I didn’t really know German and every single conversation was so exhausting! And what is difficult about learning a language — that no one really says — is PAYING ATTENTION! It can be tiring AND kind of boring, especially if you don’t have a big vocabulary. When you’re learning words on your own, you get all proud and think you are doing something but then you get out into the real world and realize that everyday conversations are so much more complicated!! Way more than the basics… and that people mumble, speak fast, speak in slang, cut themselves off, etc… It’s so difficult! But when you keep at it and stay dedicated, you can eventually begin to know more and more and when you finally can actually communicate some thoughts and follow what’s going on, it’s one of the best and most accomplished feelings ever! You’re on the right path! Keep it up!!! :)

    • I agree, you never hear how hard it is to pay attention to every word and detail and how exhausting it can be! Thank you!

  • HAHA I can totally relate. This sums up about the first 6 months of my time in Brazil. I eventually got the hang of it and am now pretty conversational, but it helps that I studied French and Spanish before. Goodness gracious I can’t even IMAGINE trying to learn Icelandic! You have my utmost respect for even being able to understand a little bit!

    • It definitely is not easy trying to learn Icelandic as my first foreign language, a daily challenge for sure!

  • HAHAHHA these are awesome. Usually I just tell everyone “I’m dead tired. When I’m tired I just don’t listen”. Or smile. A lot.

    • Same! If I am tired trying to follow a conversation in Icelandic is just not going to happen.

  • ahahaha I relate entirely!!!! Except I tend to start thinking about what I’m going to eat and totally forget to look interested, and it takes a few tries for someone to bring me back. Fortunately it doesn’t happen that much anymore, but lately there have been a lot of conversations about sports which I could barely follow in English, so … :p

    • That is awesome that you can understand the conversations now, I can’t wait to be to the point where I usually always have an idea of what is being said around me!

  • Em

    Oh man it’s SO hard trying to understand another language! I used to be really fluent in Spanish but now I can pick up on key words and just know what the general conversation is about. The more you use it I’m sure you’ll pick it up more! :)

    • It is true, practice is the key to learning a new language but it can be so exhausting!

  • Dearest Darling

    Haha, I love this! And I’ve gotta say, I spent 4 days in Iceland last year and I can’t even imagine attempting to learn the language! It seems incomprehensible! Good for you!

    • Thank you! Icelandic is a challenge but the more I am around it and learn it the more sense the language is making to sense to me. The first time I saw signs in Icelandic I was like there is no way I will ever be able to pronounce those letters!

  • Stephanie

    Ha! Yes, and this is exactly how I felt, too, when my husband and I went to Italy. He speaks Italian fluently and I basically know a few numbers and the names of Italian food dishes.

    • It sounds like you know the most important things in Italian!

  • Yes! This happened to me when I was first learning Mandarin. Stick it out girl! It gets easier with time :)

    • Wow Mandarin I bow down to you! Thank you I sure hope it will get easier with time :)