Learn about the Icelandic Sign Language + Support the Snorri Deaf Program

Íslensk Táknmál / Icelandic Sign Language

Tuesday, February 11 is the Official Day of the Icelandic Sign Language, or Íslensk Táknmál, and was designated so back in 2011.

Watch the Alphabet Signed here:

Side-by-side comparison to the American Sign Lanuage alphabet.

Kris signs the alphabet.


" The Icelandic Sign Language is the sign language of the deaf community in Iceland. It is based on the Danish Sign Language. Until 1910, deaf Icelandic people were sent to school in Denmark, and the languages have diverged since then. Icelandic Sign Language is officially recognized by the government of Iceland and is regulated by a national committee. Icelandic Sign Language is distinct from spoken Icelandic. In the basic Icelandic curriculum for the deaf, Icelandic Sign Language is the first language of deaf people while spoken/written Icelandic is the second language. Therefore, deaf Icelanders often learn Icelandic Sign Language as their first language and Icelandic as their second language. " - Félag Heyrnarlausra

Here are a few fun videos to learn more:

Learn 49 words in both American and Icelandic Sign Languages, shown side-by-side.


An inspiring interview with Kris, who is a young, deaf, American man learning Icelandic at the University of Iceland.



What is Snorri Deaf?


2018 Snorri Deaf Group Visits North America

Snorri Deaf was launched in 2018 within the scope of the three other Snorri projects, aimed at establishing contacts and friendships between Icelanders living in Iceland and people of Icelandic origin living in North America.


The key difference for the Snorri Deaf program is that the participants are deaf and use either the Icelandic Sign Language (ITM) or the American Sign Language (ASL). Therefore they need sign language interpreters in order to be able to benefit from the visits in terms of education and information.


Like the other Snorri Programs, the Snorri Deaf itinerary is arranged by organizers and alternates the destination on an annual basis. Participants travel either in the country their ancestors left (Iceland), or the country that accepted their ancestors (North America), where they will meet deaf people and their cousins, visit places of interest, and learn about the history and culture of the communities they visit.


Who can participate in Snorri Deaf?

If you are a sign-language user and you have Icelandic ancestry and you are interested in learning about your heritage while meeting deaf people, interpreters, and cousins in Iceland or North America, then this program is the perfect fit for you.


How do you find your cousins?

Icelandic Roots will provide the genealogical research. All applicants must complete a "Cousins Across the Ocean" form so that we may connect you to your ancestors in the database.


Your continued support for Icelandic Roots in turn supports the Snorri Deaf Program, as one of the many educational projects we sponsor. Please pass on this information to anyone you know in our Icelandic communities who is Deaf or work as interpreter with either American or Icelandic sign language.

The Icelandic National League of the United States is a co-sponsor of the project.


For further information please contact www.icelandicroots.com (Sunna Furstenau, director of the Icelandic Roots, United States) or heiddis@fh.is (Heiðdís Eiríksdóttir, president of the Association of the Deaf, Iceland)

Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

Icelandic Roots
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