There are two ways to say “yes” in Icelandic:
- When answering “yes” to a question, you use já.
- When answering “yes” to a negative question, you use jú.
Góðann daginn, get ég aðstoðað?
Já, ég er að leita að skyrtu fyrir kvöldið.
Já ég skil.
- Negative questions:
Er þetta ekki gott?
Jú, þetta er mjög gott.
Já já is a casual way of saying “yeah, sure”.
Kemur þú í sund?
Já já. Klukkan hvað?
Kannski klukkan 15:00?
Ókei, hljómar vel.
Já (breathing in) 🌬
A strange thing that sometimes startles foreigners is hearing people say “Já” while breathing in.
Have a listen:
This also exists in the other Nordic languages, but in Icelandic you can say entire sentences while breathing in.
Já while breathing in means:
- Ah yes, I do agree with you.
- Ah yes, please continue speaking!
It is usually used in casual conversations, where you are casually showing agreement and encouraging a speaker to continue.