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Icelandic Language Blog

Would You Rather Kiss a Troll or an Elf? Posted by on Jan 31, 2018

When talking about Iceland, elves and trolls inevitably come up. When I went home over Christmas, I brought my mother jólasveinar (Jól – Christmas or yule + sveinn – plural – meaning boy or lad) collectables (I admit, I bought them at the airport) because she just loves those peculiarities of Icelandic culture. At the gate, while…

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Stigbreyting Exercises, As Promised Posted by on Jan 21, 2018

Today, I’m going to post some exercises for stigbreyting that may be useful in practicing the techniques we went over in my blog in late December. Let’s jump right into it.     These questions are all drawn from the practice book accompanying Islenska fyrir útlendinga, which is an excellent resource (though in Icelandic – so best…

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2018 Is Here (In Iceland, Anyway) Posted by on Jan 1, 2018

I was originally planning to write a blog about adjectives today, but it feels a bit out of place at the áramót — the New Year. Áramót means, rather eloquently, the meeting of years. Not to nerd out too much, but you can see that the word is made up for those two words: ár, which…

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Good, Better, Best: Comparing Things In Icelandic (Stigbreyting) Posted by on Dec 27, 2017

Let’s kiss the trials and tribulations of 2017 goodbye by returning to grammar – specifically, adjectives, which are called lýsingarorð. The Icelandic term is somewhat more apparent than the English one; it contains the word for to describe, or perhaps even illuminate, within it (að lýsa), so it’s easy to remember. Today, specifically, I want…

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Iceland’s New Prime Minister is a Woman! Posted by on Nov 30, 2017

Woooooooooo! When I first encountered Iceland’s new female PM, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, she was moderating a panel of nordic crime writers. Her questions were astute, and to the point: she wanted to know the ethical implications behind the works presented. She wanted to know what makes a crime novel well crafted. She wanted to know how…

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