Learning Words

Aside from getting up embarrassingly late and watching a great deal of Black Books, today I have mostly been working on my Icelandic. The way I have been doing this is by reading through an Icelandic book, and making a point of looking up every word I don't know, and putting them all into a fun list that I can study. There are an awful lot of words that I don't know. I'm up to page 42 in the book, and the list is already 221 words long. So on average that would be 5 or so words per page. 

Some of these I sort of did know what they meant from their components (skyldurækinn - dutiful) or I could easily tell from the context (að gjóa - to glance), but either couldn't readily come up with an English translation for, or wouldn't have known if I saw them in isolation. Some of them are phrases made up of words that I do know individually, but which I don't understand in that combination (að standa einhvern að einhverju - to catch somebody at something). Some of them are words that I definitely did know, and when I looked them up I immediately remembered, but had forgotten because I don't use them or do this sort of thing often enough (að fórna - to sacrifice). 

I do usually start off reading Icelandic books like this, and then I get bored and just start ignoring words that I don't know unless they seem crucial to my understanding, because of course it is deeply frustrating to read so slowly. But I think it really is the best way of expanding vocabulary, especially if you see a word more than once. Here is a small selection of words that I didn't know yesterday, but do now.

atlot - caress
blys - torch, flare
að bogra - to stoop
að garga - to squawk
fagnandi - jubilant
furstadæmi - principality
kumbaldi - shack
kusk - fluff
mælaborð - dashboard
á reki - adrift
að ræskja sig - to clear one's throat
að samtvinna - to intertwine
snefill - trace
snitta - canapé
tág - wicker
að tifa - to tick (of a clock)
vandvirkni - meticulousness
vantrúaður - sceptical
þvingaður - strained, forced
að þysja - to bolt, to run away
æviskeið - lifespan

I am sure they will come in very useful, if only I can work wicker and fluff into more conversations.

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