:For the change in pitch when speaking, see intonation.
Level A1
Inflection (beyging) is a change in a word’s form that shows what the word’s role is in the sentence. It can for example show what is happening to the word, show how many there are, or show when things occur.
Icelandic words can have significantly more variation in form compared to English words. It may seem overwhelming at first but students eventually acquire an innate feel for when to use each form.

What do the inflection forms indicate?

A noun usually has 16 possible forms which indicate:
  • case (there are four possibilities)
  • number (there are two possibilities, either there is one item or more items)
  • is there a “the” attached? (there are two possibilities, either there is a “the” attached to the word or not)
An adjective can have 120 possible forms (although most of them look exactly the same) which indicate:
The basic form of a verb has around 30 possible forms (and some more derived forms)[a] which indicate:

Learning inflections

Learning the inflection patterns takes time. You should not worry too much about them for the first few months of your studies, it’s better to focus on recognizing words. When you’ve become familiar with the meaning of words you should start to memorize the cases of some common words. Rote memorization is necessary for a few weeks, after that you will automatically start picking up on patterns in the texts you read. When reading, it’s a good idea to look up the inflections of the words you see.
Inflecting incorrectly is usually okay when you’re still at the A1 level as in most cases people can figure out what you’re trying to say, but inflecting incorrectly can often make you incomprehensible.