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Tag Archives: history

Sleep, you pig – scary Icelandic lullabies. Posted by on Sep 3, 2015

Sofðu nú svínið þitt svartur í augum Farðu í fúlan pytt fullan af draugum. (= Sleep now you black-eyed pig, fall in a deep pit of ghosts.) Lately this little lullaby has been popular on quite a few social media sites, gathering people’s attention simply by being a really horrible-sounding thing to sing to the…

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Laugadalur – hot spring valley Posted by on Aug 13, 2015

Near downtown Reykjavík is a historical site that’s almost hidden by all the other activities around it, though the whole area takes its name from this place: Laugadalur, the valley of hot springs, is now better known for the Botanical Garden, one of the best swimming pools of Reykjavík, an ice skating rink and a…

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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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Icelandic – unchangeable? Posted by on Jun 11, 2015

At some point or another anyone interested in Icelandic will come across the popular idea that Icelandic is being kept unchanged, or at least that it has changed very little with time. Occasionally you’ll even hear people claim that Icelandic is so close to Old Norse that Icelanders can still understand it. Alas, all of…

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No dogs, TV, beer or Spaniards allowed. Posted by on May 28, 2015

Icelanders of the Westfjords area are no longer allowed to kill Basque people on sight. The law was revoked just last month and very, very quietly too – you’d almost think someone didn’t want anyone to notice anything. In any case it’s now a fact, Basque people are no longer outlawed by default! It may sound like…

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Elliðarárdalur, Reykjavík’s Central Park Posted by on Apr 30, 2015

A secret oasis of Reykjavík, Elliðarárdalur, can be found only a short bus drive away from downtown. Well, when I say secret it actually means something more like “this is a place the locals certainly know of but visitors barely ever visit and that’s a shame”. It’s a popular place for walking, jogging, biking, horse…

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Happy First of Summer! Posted by on Apr 23, 2015

Summer is finally here! I mean it did snow a few times today and the night before was freezing, but that’s just good luck according to old beliefs, it’s said that if winter and summer freeze together the summer will be good. Sumardagurinn fyrsti, The First of Summer, divides the year into its warmer half just like…

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