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View Diary: SOB cancelled our health ins (241 comments)

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  •  What country? (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:09:49 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Ísland! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nyceve, divineorder

      Iceland, that is.  :)

      •  Side topic, are you fluent in Icelandic? (0+ / 0-)

        Or can you get by with English? Never been to Iceland, but I'd love to travel there someday.

        •  English is fine (4+ / 0-)

          We hardly have dubbed tv in the nordic countries so all the english shows and movies are just texted. It's also a mandatory language in school.
          Icelandic is a cool language, and even if it was the same as my primary language (norwegian) a thousand years ago it is different enough that  norwegians, sweeds and danes don't understand it. They actually kept the language intact over the years, and if you know old norse you can speak with people on Iceland.
          The icelanders learn danish in school though :)

          •  Ah, linguistic shifts... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm curious as to what Icelandic looks like to you.  When I see or hear Norwegian, it looks like "degenerate Icelandic".  I see all those "d"s that should be "ð"s and such and my immediate instinct is, "No, no, you're doing it wrong!", hehehe.   I imagine Icelandic looks sort of "old timey" or "overly ornate" to you, like it'd seem to an English speaker if a bunch of people from Shakespeare's time walked through a portal?  

            The language isn't so much "intact", it's changed significantly, just not as fast as the other Nordic languages.  The writing especially is incredibly hard for modern Icelanders to read.  But people do try to preserve the language, really amazingly so.  Try it out some time, go to Wikipedia and check out random technical articles on various topics named in modern times that aren't named after a person or readily translated word - for example, photon, autism, transistor, amygdala, etc - and then mouseover the names of the different equivalent articles for each language on the left.  You'll find that almost all languages except Icelandic have just simple variants on the English word.

            Not that English hasn't made inroads, and there's a lot of concern it'll make more.  I hate, hate hearing it when people say "basically" in the middle of Icelandic sentences, for example.  But people do an awful lot to preserve it.

        •  Essentially everyone here... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattc129, ladybug53

          except for very young children and some very old people - speaks fluent English.  It's hard to get by in everyday life without it because, with only 320,000 people, there's just no way to make all your media or products locally.  So if you go to the store and you want some "sólber te", you darn well better know that that's "blackcurrant tea" in English, or you're going to have a lot of trouble shopping!  Etc.

          The level of fluency however is truly impressive.  Perhaps 1 in 4 Icelanders have so little accent that you wouldn't guess it's not their native language.  Which is amazing given how different the two languages are in terms of pronunciation.

          I am not fluent in Icelandic; I am an intermediate level speaker.  But I always speak only Icelandic with people who speak Icelandic, even other immigrants, unless they specifically request me not to.  Even when an Icelander starts speaking English or asks me to talk English to make the conversation easier on me or them, it's very difficult for me to do.  Generally hearing someone talk to me in English over here entirely throws me off and I don't know how to react unless they seem to be a tourist.  If an Icelander asks me "How are you doing?" then my response is probably something like, "ah... ha... allt... fínt?"

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