I always mix up numbers one through four in Icelandic. You see, it turns out that only numbers one through four change—based on the gender of the thing you’re counting/describing in numbers. (Brutal.)
So numbers one through four / einn through fjórir decline like any other noun does. Each of the first four numbers in Icelandic has three forms—karlkyn (kk. / masculine), kvenkyn (kvk. / feminine), and hvorugkyn (hvk. / neuter). Once you know the gender of the word attached to the number, then you know which form of number one through four to use with that associated word.
For my own sanity (and hopefully this is also of some help to you), I’m including some quick reference visual help below—all via the family behind Save ÍSLENSKA.
You use the masculine (kk.) form with counting and with telephone numbers.
You use the feminine (kvk.) form with Icelandic Krona currency.
You use the neuter (hvk.) form with time, with years, and with house numbers.
Let’s just focus on these first four / fjórir numbers for now, as they’re enough for me to study for daaaays. 🙂 However, if you want to jump beyond four 😉 then I suggest practicing counting via a YouTube tutorial (there are many!):
This numbers breakdown from 101 Languages offers some helpful pronunciation assistance as well as three examples of how Icelandic number one (einn / ein / eitt) can be used:
And this passage in Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners by Daisy Neijmann offers some additional helpful examples:
Do you feel like you’re on a bit of an Icelandic roller coaster, too? 😉
If you want to read even more about the fascinating first four numbers in Icelandic, check out “What Is the Icelandic Word for ‘Four’?” on Slate by Daniel Tammet.
Bless í bili,