The Icelandic Language
Icelandic has been spoken in Iceland since the country was settled in the 9th century and has changed little since then. It is mostly the language that the Nordic people spoke in the Middle Ages throughout the Nordic countries as well as within certain regions of England, Ireland, Scotland (along with the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Hebrides), some parts of France and Russia and even as far south as Constantinople.
Despite the centuries of foreign rule, the Icelandic language has not been greatly influenced and the difference between old and modern Icelandic is insignificant. Icelanders can still read and understand ancient Icelandic texts, such as the Sagas, without difficulty. The oldest preserved texts in Icelandic were written around 1100 but before that the stories were passed down by word-of-mouth.
The vast majority of the Icelandic population, about 97%, have Icelandic as their mother tongue. Dialects are almost non-existent in Iceland but there are some regional variations. For example, in Reykjavík soft consonants are more common than elsewhere and in the northeast of Iceland, aspirated stops after a long vowel are more common.