From Iceland — Well, You Asked: Your Problems, Our Solutions

Well, You Asked: Your Problems, Our Solutions

Published March 6, 2019

Well, You Asked: Your Problems, Our Solutions
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Andie Fontaine

Stuck in a sticky situation? Don’t worry, Grapevine’s advice column is here to help you.

Hey Grapevine, can we have a ruling here on the literal/cultural translation for “parking the bus”? Thanks, guys. Keep on #SmitingTheWorld. – Kevin Duska Jr., via Twitter.

First, thanks, smite we will. Second, the translation would be “að leggjast í vörn.” Literally, it means “to lie in the defense.” Figuratively, it means “the greatest and most awesome football strategy of all time.” No sight inspires confidence in the Icelandic football supporter quite like seeing seven men take on a solitary striker. Works every time.

Often times when I try speaking Icelandic with an Icelander, they will answer me in English, even if I kept speaking Icelandic to them. How can I get them to answer me in Icelandic? Should I even bother? – DN

Getting Icelanders to accept you enough to reply to you in Icelandic is definitely the toughest part of learning the language. I personally use a three-strikes rule: I respond in Icelandic twice, but if I’m responded to back in English after that, I respond with, “Er ég ekki að tala íslensku við þig?” This usually does the trick. Just be sure the person in question is an Icelander, and not a foreigner who doesn’t even know Icelandic. Because that’s embarrassing.

Absorb more pearls of wisdom from the Grapevine staff here.

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