You can fly Icelandair from Boston to Oslo. You save an hour compared to going via Copenhagen, but I’m not convinced it’s worth it: the forty minutes at Keplavik, the Rekjavik airport, are at the worst possible time of the flight. You’ve had four hours, you’ve just fallen into that aeroplane approximation of sleep I’ve learnt to accept as far better than staying awake, your body thinks it’s about 1.30 am, when BAM! You’re thrown out on the tarmac. Well, actually Keplavik’s a decent little airport, in the style of Oslo’s only smaller, so you’re protected from the tarmac by minimalistic glass and steel, but it’s nighttime and they’re telling you good morning it’s 7 am on Iceland and the signs and voices are like dreamwarped versions of the old Norse we were supposed to learn fragments of in high school.

utgangur.jpg snyrtingar.jpg

Boarding the first leg of my flight a little after 8 pm Boston time, I eagerly noted that Icelandic for “exit” is very close to the Norwegian utgang. By two am, sleepwalking around Keplavik, the language had become a lot more complicated.

By now it must be tomorrow night, I think. Enough blogging: I’m heading for bed. Just as soon as I’ve finished preparing for tomorrow’s student evaluations: the very last class of the semester.

5 thoughts on “icelandic

  1. Marie

    Snyrtingar sounds more like something you would leave IN the toilet..

  2. Jill

    I know. For a while I thought it might be an onomatopoetikon for water closet. The sound of flushing, you know. But flushes don’t sound that weird.

    A cool thing about Iceland is that when the flight attendants speak English they all sound exactly like Bj¯rk.

    But if you speak to them in English they reply in Norwegian or Danish or Swedish. It’s very strange.

  3. real icon

    If I ever get the opportunity of flying the route you describe, I think the worst thing would be knowing that indeed I WAS at KeflavÌk but had no time to get out and have a closer look at Iceland …

  4. vika

    You learned Old Norse in high school? That’s fantastic, though I suppose not particularly surprising. Whenever it is I see you next, or perhaps on chat sometime, I would love to talk to you about the particulars of both old and modern Norwegian, just get a feel for the language.

    Besides idle curiousity, I’ve got another selfish reason; it being that at some point, I’ll have to deal with my Roland sources (including Karlamagnus Saga) in their original languages. That’s still a ways off, though.

  5. Jill

    Well, we sort of learnt Old Norse. We had eight pages of a saga (about Queen Ragnhild dreaming strange dreams, that’s all I remember) and we were supposed to be able to translate it into Norwegian. That’s not really that hard since a lot of the words are quite similar, and, well, it’s a story, so it’s not that hard to remember it. We probably learnt a bit about how Old Norse differs from modern Norwegian, too, but I’ve forgotten all that.

    One of the sagas – oh, we had to read a couple in modern Norwegian translation too – mentions the time when people in Norway and England and Iceland all spoke the same language. Perhaps you won’t find it too hard reading the Sagas in the original?

    And Real Icon, YES, I want to bathe in a geysir. And see that hip town Rekjavik. And visit volcanos and see vikingish things but not spend forty minutes in the middle of the night at the airport.

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