In this post I’m going to look at expressing the ideas of memory, remembrance and reminding in Icelandic. Sometimes it’s good to focus on related words and themes, since often they are similar in appearance or derived from the same source. Working with a specific theme also helps to reinforce the vocabulary in your head, since you will associate the various words with the common idea, which, well, makes it easier to remember 🙂

Let’s examine a couple of nouns and verbs, and a few phrases related to today’s theme:

að muna – to remember
present past
ég man mundi
þú manst mundir
það man mundi
við munum mundum
þið munið munduð
þau muna mundu

Don’t confuse this muna with another which has a different conjugation, and means to make a difference. Also beware of the the verb að munu, used to express future tense.

Ég man það ekki. – I don’t remember.
Ég man ekki eftir því. – I don’t remember that.
Manstu þennan dag? – Do you remember that day?
Mundu það! – Don’t forget!

If you’re into Icelandic crime-fiction, you may know of a novel by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir called Ég man þig – I remember you.

að minna – to remind
present past
ég minni minnti
þú minnir minntir
það minni minnti
við minnum minntum
þið minnið minntuð
þau minna minntu

The general form of to remind someone of something is expressed in Icelandic as að minna einhvern á eitthvað.

Minntu mig á að kaupa brauð. – Remind me to buy bread.
Ég minnti hana á að hringja mömmu. – I reminded her to call mom.

You can also use minna as an impersonal verb, when it takes on a meaning similar to remember, but less certain:

Mig minnir að hún sé kennari. – I think (seem to recall) she is a teacher.
Because of the uncertainty, the verb (vera in this case) is in the subjunctive mood.

The word for memory itself is minni (n) (-s,-):
Hann hefur gott minni. – He has a good memory.

You can also use the adjective minnugur:
Hún er mjög minnug. – She has a good memory.

You often see the word for remembrance when a person has died, being used to express something like in memory of:

minning (f) – remembrance
singular plural
nom minning minningar
acc minningu minningar
dat minningu minningum
gen minningar minninga

Til minningar um móður hana. – In memory of her mother.
Í minningu föður míns. – In memory of my father.

Hopefully that’s enough ‘m’ words to get you started 🙂