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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages & Cultures - Scandinavian Stud

Undergraduate Course: Foundation Icelandic Language 1 (ELCS07010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA course for beginners with no previous knowledge of Icelandic, designed to give absolute beginners a basic, working knowledge of spoken and written Icelandic.

1. Auditing (Class Only) is not allowed. All students must take all elements of assessment.

2. Students will be allocated into a group. Each group has two classes, which run twice a week. You must be able to attend both.

3. Students with previous knowledge of the language are not permitted and may be asked to withdraw from the course.

Course description The island nation of Iceland lies halfway across the Atlantic Ocean on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Discovered and settled by Scandinavian farming communities from Norway and Scotland during the Viking Age (c. AD 750-1050), it is the last country in Europe to be colonised by humans. With a location straddling the Mid-Atlantic Rift, Iceland's landscapes are as dramatic now as they must have seemed 1200 years ago. The swathes of green around the coast and its hinterland give way to a barren interior marked by the touch of fire and ice, typified by large expanses of volcanic ash, lava-fields and glaciers.

Something else which would still seem familiar to the early settlers of Iceland is its language. Icelandic is a Germanic language of West Scandinavian origin, but compared to the languages of mainland Scandinavia, it has changed little over the centuries. With a fully fledged case system and comprehensive series of grammatical inflections, it represents something of a linguistic fossil. It is as close to the language of the Vikings as any living language comes. Learning it will give you access the wealth of Icelandic literature and culture, both modern and medieval, and provide a gateway to the fuller understanding of the Icelandic landscape and people.

Over the course of 10 weeks, this course will introduce you to Icelandic pronunciation, help you take your first steps in understanding Icelandic grammar, and provide you with the tools you need to express basic wants and needs, and communicate in simple terms across a range of situations. You will also begin to develop a basic understanding of simple spoken language and texts, all as described in the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning level A1.

Breakdown of Learning & Teaching Activities:
The teaching activities on this course have two different formats. Students attend two synchronous sessions per week, where students meet their tutor online or in person for oral practice, to answer student queries, and to check understanding of grammar covered through asynchronous practice. Asynchronous activities will be based on resources made available via the course Learn page, including written work, formal grammar teaching, video material, and computer-assisted exercises. Each week you are expected to prepare for the synchronous sessions by completing the asynchronous preparation outlined in that week¿s instructions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of familiar everyday expressions, such as simple, straightforward questions eliciting personal information, and basic phrases aimed at addressing concrete needs, when spoken slowly and clearly, or encountered in very short, simple texts.
  2. Produce Icelandic language at a basic level both verbally and in writing, using short, simple phrases to introduce him/herself and others, and ask and answer questions about personal details such as where s/he lives and people s/he knows.
  3. Produce texts on basic everyday activities; engage in listening comprehension, spoken and written language activities.
  4. Demonstrate critical study skills including the ability to utilise reliable language resources, whether printed or digital (e.g. bilingual dictionaries, grammar books, translation tools).
  5. Take responsibility for independent vocabulary acquisition and grammar study specifically, and engagement in Icelandic language activities outside of the classroom generally.
Reading List
Suggested reading materials include:

* Learning Icelandic (Auður Einarsdóttir, et al., 2014. Reykjavík: Mál og menning)

* Exercises: Learning Icelandic Grammar Exercises (Guðrún Theodórsdóttir, 2008. Reykjavík: Mál og menning)

* Further reading/exercises/grammar reference: Colloquial Icelandic (Neijmann, Daisy, 2014. Abingdon: Routledge)

* Dictionary: Íslensk-ensk/ensk-íslensk vasaorðabók (2012. Reykjavík: Forlagið)

Suggested online materials (as at 22/08/18) include:

* Dictionaries: (, University of Wisconsin Icelandic-English online dictionary (

Further worksheets, written and av materials will be provided via the course LEARN page.

* Declension/conjugation reference: Beygingarlýsing íslensks nútímamáls (

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The students will be encouraged to develop positive study-habits which will be of use to them in other disciplines, particularly in the further development of Icelandic but also in the acquisition of other new languages. Where relevant, students will be able to continue their study of Icelandic in any other University at CEFR level A1+.

The students will acquire the following transferable skills in each element of the course:

a) Writing

The students will learn how to be accurate with unfamiliar orthography and this will teach them the value of care and precision.

b) Listening and Reading

The students will learn how to extract essential information from a simple body of unfamiliar written or spoken language, even though there might not be total comprehension. The students will develop the skill of using known material in these language sources to make appropriate deductions and informed guesses about the meaning of material that is new to them.

c) Speaking

The students will develop the ability to progress from learned formulaic responses towards a more spontaneous generation of language.
The development of this creativity is one of the most important elements of language learning.

d) General

In addition to the specific skills mentioned in a) to c), students will learn the skills of using a dictionary intelligently, learning vocabulary systematically, and understanding the rules - and exceptions - of grammar.
Special Arrangements This course is open to all students as a credit bearing course, or over and above their full credit load, as a non credit bearing course.

Auditing this course is not allowed. You must be enrolled as CE (Class and Assessment including centrally arranged exam).

DELC students may only take this course if it is over and above their full credit load, as a non credit bearing course.

Visiting students may only take the course for credits.
Course organiserMr Max Naylor
Course secretaryMr Stuart Moyes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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