Icelandic 4

Here you go. I didn't post anything for ages, but now I am posting loads all at once. Because it is raining and I am mostly spending this afternoon sitting in bed playing around on the internet. I went out with my Canadian friend for a few hours this afternoon, and we found a fun café on Skólavörðustígur that we haven't been to before, but then she had to go and get her hair cut. The family are all out at one of the rice-pudding parties that are held every so often at the grandparents' house, and I have done all my homework, and I don't feel like reading my book just now. Hence blogging.

Yep, homework. Because I am now once more a student of Icelandic. I skipped the first two days because of my brother and his girlfriend being here, so Wednesday was my first day in Icelandic 4. At the moment it's not noticeably much harder, but browsing through the textbook it looks like we're going to be moving on to some more complicated grammar. Hooray. Some people in the class are obviously at the wrong level, though. Icelandic 4 is supposed to be taught entirely in Icelandic, which seems fair enough considering it's the second highest level it's possible to take. But some of the students in the group don't understand the teacher when she speaks Icelandic. Why are they taking this class? Just because you have attended Icelandic 1, 2 and 3, doesn't necessarily mean that you have achieved the level you should be at for Icelandic 4. This failure to accurately self-assess, and the school's failure to do anything about people who are punching above their weight, means that the classes are taught at a slightly easier level than they are advertised at. Which is annoying. Wow, that turned into a bit of a complain-a-thon.

For my homework this weekend, incidentally, I had to write a page under the heading, "Þjóðsaga frá mínu landi" ("A folk tale from my country"). I have attempted to write about Alfred the Great burning those cakes, or "Alfreð og kökurnar", because it was the first thing that came to mind when I was trying to think of a folk tale that was definitely from England. Why did I change Alfred's name to Alfreð? Well, aside from the fact that Alfred is itself a modernisation (according to Wikipedia, the Old English spelling is Ælfrēd or Ælfrǣd), that's just how Icelanders do things. I'm sure you, like me, are struggling to contain your excitement for the forthcoming fairytale romantic union of all the centuries, and it's getting a fair amount of attention in the Icelandic newspapers as well. It's mostly been a series of astonished features about all the commemorative rubbish that it's possible to buy. But here's the thing - they don't write about William and Kate. They write  about Vilhjálmur og Kata. I find that really strange. But when I was writing my story about Alfred I thought, hey, when in Iceland.


  1. Vilhjálmur og Kata.... really?

    I can never get used to name translations, like in Italian they used to talk about "Carlo e Lady D" (actually printed 'Lady D'), as Charles and Diana, mindfuck...

    How many people are in your class?

  2. Yeah, Prince Charles is Karl, but Diana is just Díana I think. "Carlo e Lady D" is fucking hilarious. Most of the royal family have names that Icelandify quite easily - Elísabet, Margrét, Andrés... amusingly they just leave the ones that don't, so they talk about "Vilhjálmur prins og bróðir hans, Harry prins".

    There are 9 or so in the class, and I'd say about three or four of us should be there - the rest range from not-quite-good-enough to seriously-what-were-you-thinking.

  3. Are the lessons anything like the Tungumalatorg lessons?

  4. Don't know, I haven't come across those. I just found the website, so I'll get back to you.