Today is the Day of the Icelandic Tongue, a holiday that celebrates the specialness and vibrance of the language. On the occasion, Iceland’s First Lady, Eliza Reid, posted a letter she wrote Guðni back in 1999:
“Dear Guðni my friend,” the letter reads. “These are photographs. In my opinion, they are good. My Icelandic is not good, but practice makes perfect. Regardless, I have a lot of respect for the English tongue. Give your family my greetings. Respectfully and with love, Eliza.”
While slightly imperfect, Eliza emphasises that this was written not only in the days before Google Translate; her sole point of reference for Icelandic were some old books of phrases, which allowed her to “knead this together”.
So if you’re learning Icelandic and struggling with it, just bear in mind that Iceland’s First Lady went from this point to absolute fluency. As she says herself, vaninn gefur listina.