Word of the Issue: Svikalogn - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Word of the Issue: Svikalogn

Word of the Issue: Svikalogn

Published May 18, 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The word of the issue this issue is svikalogn, and like other useful aspects of Icelandic conversation, it’s about the weather. The word literally means “betraying calm,” and refers to a period of fair weather just before a storm rolls in. You may have landed in a svikalogn yourself: peeked outside to see mostly sunny skies, warm temperatures and little wind, and then boldly left home in only a light jacket, only to get hammered by high winds and rain only minutes later. That sharp sting of betrayal you feel? That’s something you need to direct at the country itself, or your naivety in believing you can trust the weather to the whole day. In fact, it seems decidedly unfair to accuse the weather of betraying you in a country known for drastically and rapidly changing conditions. Iceland’s just being Iceland; you only have your optimism to blame. Still, svikalogn says a lot about the human tendency to develop expectations despite all evidence to the contrary, and that’s why it’s this issue’s word of the issue.

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