Icelandic Language Blog

Tag Archives: Icelandic versus other languages

From hand-leg to leg-throat. Posted by on May 7, 2015

Broadening your vocabulary is best started with themes, and I’m going to suggest body parts as a good first option! This is especially because you’ll find some dangers therein and some fairly interesting words as well, words that really make you wonder why and how do they even exist. Did the Icelanders of old just…

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Non-binary pronouns in Icelandic. Posted by on Feb 26, 2015

Icelandic grammar offers a gender neutral option for personal pronouns. Does that therefore mean that referring to non-binary people is easy and straight-forward? Alas, no. Icelandic gender structure is very strict and merciless and the local non-binary folk have had to give this matter a great deal of thought. When the whole world of Icelandic…

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An Icelander walked past a bar. Posted by on Jan 29, 2015

It happened years ago on an evening in May. I had just met my SO and we were sitting together in a garden swing talking of this and that, and eventually started telling each other jokes. This was the first one he told me. (To understand the following you’ll have to know that reipi means rope, and…

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Skugga-Baldur, or Blue Fox; a book by Sjón. Posted by on Oct 31, 2014

Did you ever read a translation of a great book that, while a good one, was lacking a key element simply because some part was entirely untranslatable? Or even better – ever read the translated version and felt a bit smug in the knowledge that you had that key element already in your back pocket…

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With with, with or with? Posted by on Apr 11, 2014

“Mig langar að tala við þig, hjá þér, og þá langar mig að tala með þér upp á sviði.” Put this sentence in an online translator and you get “I want to talk to with you and allow me to speak with you on stage” as a translation. Icelandic prepositions are endlessly confusing and here…

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Puddle punks for Eurovision. Posted by on Feb 20, 2014

Eurovision is drawing near again. I admit I’m a fan so of course I’ve been eagerly following the Icelandic finals, especially since Icelanders are quite unpredictable in what they’ll want to send. Most countries have some kind of a pattern – you know that certain ones will send a girl in a miniskirt/supposedly sexy guy…

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Using the subjunctive mood, part 3. Posted by on Jun 26, 2013

In the third part of the subjunctive mood and it’s use we’ll look at negation and subordinate clauses that start with a question word. The rules of either are not always very exact, but I hope to be able to give you some clear guidelines to work with. After all, the subjunctive mood, viðtengingarháttur, often…

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