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Icelandic Language Blog

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 if…

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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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About That Icelandic Book Flood… Posted by on Nov 25, 2017

As per usual, I’ve been drowning in Icelandic lit projects again this month; just a few weeks ago, my cabaret show, The Poetry Brothel Reykjavik (Rauða Skáldahúsið) put on a masquerade show, right after I visited the director of the new Vigdís Finnbogadóttir World Language Centre to discuss an upcoming translation project for the organisation…

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A Polyglot’s Feast: Tips For Language Learners (Polyglot Conference 2017) Posted by on Oct 31, 2017

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the 5th annual polyglot conference, which was hosted here in Harpa in Reykjavik, and organized by the absolutely spectacular Richard Simcott and Alex Rawlings. There are obvious reasons that I’d go to a Polyglot Conference- which is, Richard emphasizes, for all language lovers: I’m an intermediate…

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Me Talk Pretty One Day: A Few Basics of Pronunciation   Posted by on Oct 18, 2017

Today, lets talk a little about Icelandic phonology and pronunciation. In order to do that, we have to start with one basic assumption: the letter does not equal the sound. Not always.   Sometimes, for example, we write two letters, but those two letters comprise one sound. Hj, kj, gj, hn, hr, hl are all…

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