Linguistic experiences of the TE13: Icelandic

By now, it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise that I spent half summer touring around Europe. I have written about the places and experiences of my adventure; however, little have I mentioned about the linguistic component, something this blog can’t ignore.

If there’s a reason for my journeys, beyond meeting old friends, that is cultural and linguistic curiosity. Of course, London hasn’t got much to offer to me in that sense anymore, but my tour included seven countries with very different languages and characteristics.

Have this beautiful wallpaper

Have this beautiful wallpaper [source]

In Iceland I was exposed to Icelandic, though just a bit, mainly in the museum of history and in menus. So small is the country (about 310,000 inhabitants) that their television is mainly in English because their own is very limited. That makes their English perfect, and that’s the only language they use with foreigners, even with those who try to learn their language—not that many, on the other hand.

My friend, a geologist and translator, moved to the island driven by the lure of its geology and language and is now one of the few existing translators from Icelandic to Spanish—they can be counted on the fingers of both hands. His editor, a native woman, lived in Barcelona for thirty years and, not only does she speak Catalan, but she also hopes to find a still non-existing translator from Icelandic to this language. I don’t rule out learning one of the least altered Scandinavian languages—they call it the Latin of the north—and fill the vacancy.


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