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September 8, 2005

By yogh ash ond thorn
Posted by Teresa at 11:10 AM * 10 comments

It’s a tad unnerving to find your current-events reporting being linked-to amidst a thicket of thorns and eths:

au tluu a ganga yfir brna milli daua og lfs, en a var skoti au. Svo er hr umra um greinina Making Light. Frttirnar fr NOLA alltaf fallegri og fallegri.

Comments on By yogh ash ond thorn:
#1 ::: Hjalti ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 01:43 PM:

Not nearly as unnerving as doing your daily English-language blog browsing, and suddenly seeing a phrase in your native language crop up onscreen.

(Bad) Translation: "They were going to walk over the bridge between life and death, but they got shot at. There's a discussion about the article over at Making Light. The news from NOLA just keeps getting prettier and prettier."

This probably comes as no surprise, but while the disaster itself has garnered a lot of media attention abroad, the horrible mistakes and human-created problems in its aftermath tend to come up more often in general conversation.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 02:07 PM:

Thanks for the translation, Hjalti. The hurricane was dreadful, but the human-created aftermath is much, much worse.

You probably know this, but I'll explain it anyway: To Anglophone medievalists, your native language looks like millennium-old English (okay, Anglo-Saxon) literature. I've occasionally been linked to by Icelandic weblogs and gone to have a look at them, and it's always been a little dizzying to see orthography I associate with Beowulf being used to discuss football matches and Buffy.

I'm sure that if I were exposed to enough modern Icelandic, the effect would wear off; but for now, it's still startling.

#3 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 02:33 PM:

I'm from a part of England which was part of the Danelaw, and once you get past the orthography a lot of it is recognisable.

Stories I've heard, the Geordie dialect is pretty close to Icelandic.

#4 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Dang, I thought by the headline I was being talked about.. I suppose with all the kids I have we could be called a thicket of Thorns...

#5 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 06:44 PM:

Icelandic is Old Norse kept alive - very close relative to Old English. It's just infuriatingly _almost_ readable to me, a Norwegian from the west country.

#6 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 06:52 PM:

I lived within the coverage area of Geordie TV for a good many years, and saw one or two stories about Newcastle-upon-Tyne being a popular weekend break destination with Icelanders, because they'd discovered that Geordie and Icelandic are more or less mutually intelligible.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 07:16 PM:

That might explain why I've never been able to make heads or tails of spoken Geordie.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 09:47 PM:

What Teresa isn't saying is that the two days we spent in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on our TAFF trip in 1985 were perhaps the most terrifying of our life. I've had significantly less difficulty understanding what was being said to me in Mexico, France, and Glasgow taxicabs.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 10:15 PM:

But everyone was very kind! It was just that our understanding lagged a sentence or two behind everyone else's -- and that was when we understood the sentences at all. We didn't realize how stressful that was until suddenly we were exhausted.

#10 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 04:57 AM:

Try Shetland. I don't know what they're speaking up there. Supposedly it's English but I can't understand a word of it. It's not lowland Scots, it's not Doric, it's not Gaelic, it's not standard English - it sounds like some awful mixture of Norwegian and Afrikaans spoken by a stoned Yorkshireman.
And every January they all dress up as Vikings and set a longship on fire. Mad as stoats, the lot of them. It's the long winters.

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