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Icelandic Language Blog

Icelandic Slang 101 Posted by on Jun 30, 2017

I’ve been writing a lot these past few months about grammar – which doesn’t necessarily give cultural context to Icelandic as a living language. So today my Icelandic friend, Ingimar, has volunteered to help me to introduce you to a few Icelandic slang expressions, which he condensed into a nice short story for you. Here…

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Listening Exercises Abound! Posted by on Jun 26, 2017

When learning a second language, it’s very important to keep the language in your ear as much as possible. Today, I’d like to share a few listening resources/exercises with you. I’ve tried to select representatives of a good range of levels, so I hope that each of you find something that suits you in this…

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I Know How To Do It, But Not How To Say It: Helping Verbs 101 Posted by on Jun 14, 2017

Today, I’d like to cover a few auxiliary verbs that I consider to be indispensable tools to have in your Icelandic repertoire. All of the verbs in this entry symbolize, in some way, a knowledge of something. They range from ability (hæfni) to aptitude (hæfileiki) to knowledge (kunnátta) to facts (staðreynd) to mere familiarity or…

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How To Say No With Authority Posted by on May 31, 2017

As with any language, Icelandic has its fill of filler words. In English, for example, we have words like none, some, a few, each other, both, neither, and the list goes on. And we have creative ways – in my opinion – of saying no to each other. No, I think we all can agree…

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It Started With Donald Duck…And Became a Revolution. Posted by on May 26, 2017

My initial intention with the somewhat winding road of a blog entry below started out as a look at translations of the names of storybook and fable characters – like Donald Duck (as below) – but my research and persistent questions took me down a rabbit hole that I couldn’t bring myself to climb out…

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Making Up Words: Let’s Talk Compounds Posted by on May 15, 2017

In my experience, Icelandic has no especial proclivity for succinctity, but it does have some words and phrases that are executed so elegantly that they work like swift brush strokes in a sentence. And compound words are in many cases the key to this eloquence through brevity. Plus, you can use the to your advantage…

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The Magic of Neologisms in Icelandic Posted by on Apr 30, 2017

One of my favorite parts of learning and speaking Icelandic is creating my own words. It feels empowering, like I’ve autonomously used this incredibly complex language I’ve set myself the task of learning. “Neologisms” are newly created words/expressions (sometimes, a new usage of an existent word/expression). And spinning them is my daytime substitute for dreaming…

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