Word for the Travel Wise (01/21/06)

“Nature is under massive attack in Iceland.” According to the website of my absolute favorite artist, the Icelandic Highlands are in danger. Vegetation, bird life, reindeer and Vatnajokull, one of the greatest glaciers of Europe will all be affected in some way after the Icelandic government turns some of the last remaining wilderness into an Alcoa aluminum smelter in September 2006. Several of the countries fuming artists and others joined together earlier this month to highlight the destruction of nature. You can view the trailer here and sign-up to find out more about the concert featuring Björk, Zeena Parkins, Múm, Damien Rice, and Sigur Rós to name only a few and information on how to stop the ruination of Icelandic wilderness. Let’s keep this issue in mind and turn our attention to the language.

Today’s word is an Icelandic word used in Iceland:

söngkona / söngvari –  female singer / male singer

As much as old Nordic Viking folklore generated my own interest in seeing the country, Björk’s music has done equally the same. Any fan of her music knows how connected she, like many of the countries people are one with the land. Though today’s word isn’t the one for nature or land I’m sure you’ll be curious enough to find out more about this issue and lingo. Háskóli Íslands, one of the universities offers an excellent free starter course to learning Icelandic. Pictures, text, and audio for sample conversations are included. European Youth Portal points out other sources of study within the country and distance learning. I’ve met several speakers with My Language Exchange. Surprisingly they aren’t huge fans of the söngkona, but respect her work greatly.