I am still feeling very nostalgic about our time in the land of Frost and Fire last year, so I decided to share some more Icelandic magic with you all. As part of my usual pre-holiday prep I bought my Lonely Planet guide and found a really nifty little book about all things Icelandic. That is the little treasure I have chosen for you all today.
The Little Book of Icelandic
The Icelandic language is part of the North Germanic languages and is very closely related to Norwegian and Faroese. From my experience of learning the language last year I can also see a lot of close similarities to German, with it’s lovely compound words and tricky cases. However, the big difference here is that the language has had very little outside influence since it was originally brought over by the Vikings and so it can seem very strange compared to the more “modern” European languages that have developed through lots of collaboration and influence. Some of this uniqueness has undoubtedly stayed with the people that speak it; which is what Alda hopes to unravel.
As you all should know by now, I am fascinated by languages. How they are constructed, how they are used and how the people that use them are different from me. In a world that is quickly being shrunk by technology and communication tools it is reassuring, and delightful, that language still holds the key to the heart and soul of a culture. So to learn a language is to open the door to a whole new world of possibilities, and people. That is why I love this book.
Each chapter is short and snappy with a lovely humorous tone running through it that makes the pages turn quickly and easily. The subjects range from similarities to other languages, the most popular Icelandic words (voted for by the people) and some strange idioms that don’t mean what you think; just to name a few. You won’t learn lots of grammar or phrases to use when you are trying to find your way around Reykjavik but you will get a much better understanding of the lovely folk that live there.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland, or just fascinated by the language, you will find this book a riveting and funny read. The short chapters make it perfect for a quick bedtime read or to fill those free moments in your daily commute when you would usually be napping. By the time you finish the 162 pages you will feel closer to the people and be itching to go there and meet them all.
Sound like something that would interest you? Well, here is the link to Amazon to pick up your copy or to add to your Christmas wishlist for Santa. You should also check out the other books that Alda Sigmundsdottir has published which will reveal other pockets of this fascinating culture and language.
Ciao for now!
Not quite got your Icelandic fill? Well here are some links to other Icelandic posts I have written to quench your appetite.