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Icelandic Language Blog

Archive for July, 2015

Verslunarmannahelgi, party time in Iceland! Posted by on Jul 30, 2015

We’re preparing for yet another festival here, this time one that’s called Verslunarmannahelgi (= tradesmen’s weekend), our equivalent of the Labour Day. Originally started as all merchants’ holiday, it has turned into a country-wide one where people, merchants or not, party happily throughout the long weekend. People are already busily gathering food, getting ready to drive…

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Filling in your Icelandic. Posted by on Jul 21, 2015

The one big difference between written and spoken Icelandic it would probably be this: spoken Icelandic has more words. Well – non-words, actually, more like fillers and exclamations of various types. Some are used for the typical purpose of a filler word, to patch a pause in conversation while the speaker is thinking of how to…

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Icelandic kennings. Posted by on Jul 16, 2015

What is “a wave’s horse”? If someone’s talking of “Ymir’s skull”, what are they talking about? What or who is being called Hringaná in the old song Hættu að gráta Hringaná? And who is “the possessor of the fallen slain and the owner of Sessrúmnir”? Kennings, or circumlocutions, form a large part of traditional Icelandic…

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Iceland in deep poop – literally. Posted by on Jul 9, 2015

Since the boom in tourism began Iceland is now facing a new, growing problem – tourists littering, and worse. I have addressed the problems before in The Iceaboo but let’s repeat: the cleanness of the Icelandic nature is due to people not throwing trash around. There are no cleaning ladies sweeping through the scenery every morning…

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When Icelanders fail Icelandic. Posted by on Jul 2, 2015

I’ve often addressed the various problems a language learner might come across when learning the language, but sometimes it seems that Icelandic is not easy for the natives either. Despite all the efforts at preserving the language it just tries to change itself anyway, resulting in f.ex. þágufallssýki – the dative illness – where people will attempt…

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