15 October 2005

Linguistic lessons

I am still quite new to Iceland, so the language is still mostly a mystery to me, but I cannot help absorbing words and wanting to know as much as I can as fast as possible. I have been absorbing vocabulary rapidly, but it is frustrating to know words but not know how to put them together.

Still, I am surprised how much I can read, in spite of my currently missing grammar knowledge. For example, I am watching a movie right now that is all in Spanish. It's subtitled in Icelandic (there's a combination I never thought I'd be trying to process...) but I am actually understanding what's happening and able to read the subtitles. Context makes such a difference, or maybe it's just the wine. Now, if only I could transfer this comprehension to on-the-spot processing when people talk to me, I'd be doing marvellously. Currently it's a bit deer-in-the-headlights with that.

I have also learned one of my most favorite ever word connections. The word Víking is everywhere in Iceland (inevitable, right?) so I started to wonder where it was from this summer after seeing the Víking beer ad on TV so many times. When it occurred to me that the word for "bay" is the same, such as Reykjavík (smoky bay) or Vík (you're on your own with that one) I figured there had to be a connection. I wasn't able to confirm this until Monday, when I talked to G, a local authority on the language, and J's first teacher. She's written the books that most people learning Icelandic will have to go through, and Icelandic language roots and construction is one of her favorite topics. When I asked her, she said that the two words were absolutely related.

How cool is that?


Maria Alva said...

Just a little "Sæl" from another blogger on the lava rock! Good writing and a fun read...I'll definitely be back.

Kv, M

Sirrý said...

I just love Maria Alva's site too, is among my fav's such as podventures and ICEreport.

Most things in the Icelandic language make so much sense. One does have to use one's head at times LOL, even I having been away for such a long time.
For instance, skjár/tölvuskjár/sjónvarps skjár is all originated from the old word skjár, which is gluggi/window.
So, you look at a computer screen which is tölvu skjár, and I can go on and on.
I will feel like an alien once I return back to the good ol´ Ice