Word Of The Issue: Hálkurök - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Word Of The Issue: Hálkurök

Word Of The Issue: Hálkurök

Published January 30, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
HelenK/CreativeCommons

Throughout Iceland’s wintertime weather reports, you will frequently see the word “hálka.” This refers to the icy conditions, usually brought on by freezing rain, that will cover sidewalks and roads in Iceland. Travelling by foot or car over hálka is likely to result in slipping, falling, veering off the road and crashing: disastrous results all around. Hálkurök is a compound word using hálka and “rök”, the Icelandic word for logic or reasoning. Therefore, hálkurök is the Icelandic word for a slippery slope argument; responding to one thing by implying the danger of a bigger, more harmful thing will naturally follow (e.g., “Ban fireworks? What’s next, banning Christmas and dancing?”). It’s an interesting and particularly Icelandic translation of an internationally-known phenomenon, and that’s what makes it the word of the issue.

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