Dinosaurs Given Old Icelandic Names - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Dinosaurs Given Old Icelandic Names

Published April 15, 2015

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Jurassic Park Still / NÁ

A group of enterprising students in the Medieval Icelandic Studies programme at the University of Iceland have united to bestow dinosaurs with adequate Old Icelandic names.

“For a start, we coined the word for Jurassic Park in Old Icelandic, which would have been “Fornorma Þjóðgarðrinn” (The Ancient Serpents’ Park). It’s such an important cultural item that it needs an adequate rendering in the medieval tongue,” master’s student Roberto Pagani wrote to the Grapevine. “We find the modern Icelandic [names for dinosaurs] a bit unsatisfactory and not in the best saga style. So we used our increasing knowledge of the saga corpus to coin these new names.”

Examples of dinosaur species renamed by the students in the Medieval Icelandic Studies programme include:

Velociraptor: Skjótastr ormr (fastest serpent)

Brontosaurus: Þrumr ormr (thunder serpent)

Plesiosaur: Næstr ormr (Closest serpent)

Tyrannosaurus rex: Harðræði konungr ormr (Hard-ruling king serpent). Here special credit is attributed to a man named Patrick.

Pachycephalosaurus: Þykkt hǫfuð ormr (Thick head serpent)

Iguanodon: Kembstǫnn ormr (Iguana’s tooth serpent)

Pteranodon: Tannlaus fugl (Toothless bird)

Archæopteryx: Fornfugl (Ancient bird)

Allosaurus: Annar ormr (Other serpent)

Triceratops: Þrírhyrningur ormr (Threehorns serpent -horrendously close to Þríhyrningur ormur meaning threesome serpent)

Diplodocus: Tvaufalt þvertré ormr (Double crossbeam serpent)

While these names are bad ass to be sure, they are not official.

“Maybe it would be a good idea to collect signatures and present a proposal to the Alþing,” wrote Roberto, noting that placing an ‘i’ at the end of Alþingi was an unnecessary modern addition to the parliament’s name. “To pass a law making these names official?”

What do you think readers? Is it time dinosaurs got an historical language make-over?

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