From Iceland — Just Saying: The Prophecy Of Going To The Store

Just Saying: The Prophecy Of Going To The Store

Published January 22, 2021

Just Saying: The Prophecy Of Going To The Store
Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Ever predicted to date someone? No? Well, Icelanders do this all the time. The saying ‘spá í’ is a very modern and young saying that you use when you are thinking about doing something. But it’s more complicated than that. The saying literally translates to: ‘to predict something’. But the word ‘spá’ also means the following: prophesy; forebode; divine; foretell; augur; tell the future, fortune-telling and divination. Simple, right? So, how do we use this saying?

The letter ‘í’ is very important here. It means that we are thinking about doing something, and we predict we will go to the grocery shop, for example, knowing that this would just happen if we want to. A little bit dramatic, we know.

If you lose the í, you will sound like Gandalf predicting there is a shop somewhere in the world. You can also use this when you’re into someone. Then it means “I like this guy/girl/person, and I want to see if this could actually work out”. In Icelandic it would sound like this: Ég er að spá í hann (I’m thinking of dating this man). This is a very common saying that we use every day and makes you sound like you’re a native when using it—with a dash of magic.

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