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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Carry On Icelandic: Culture [selections] (2004)

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Nżyršasmķši - The Formation of New Words

Nżyršasmķši

Til aš draga śr erlendum įhrifum į mįliš er markvisst unniš aš nżyršasmķši. Nż orš eru smķšuš af innlendum stofni. Dęmi um slķkt orš er žota yfir enska oršiš jet, dregiš af sögninni aš žjóta. Žeir sem gagnrżna žessa ašferš mest benda į aš nżyrši af ķslenskum toga séu gjarnan mun lengri en enska oršiš sem žau eigi aš leysa af hólmi og žęgilegra sé žvķ aš nota hiš enska.

Sem dęmi um žetta mį nefna oršin myndband og myndbandstęki sem smķšuš voru yfir enska oršiš video sem margir nota heldur. Önnur ašferš viš endurnżjun oršaforšans er aš endurvekja gömul orš og fį žeim nżja merkingu. Af žeim toga eru orš eins og snęlda, sem nś merkir hljóšsnęlda, yfir enska oršiš cassette, en er upprunalega kefli ķ rokk sem vindur upp į sig bandiš.

Color photograph

Hallgrķmskirkja; mörg orš tengd kristni į Ķslandi, eins og kirkja eru af erlendum uppruna (The Church of Hallgrķmur Pétursson; many words stemming from Christianity are of foreign origin).

En žrįtt fyrir žetta hafa mörg erlend orš tekiš sér bólfestu ķ ķslenskunni og öšlast žegnrétt ķ mįlinu er žau ašlagast beygingakerfi žess. Dęmi um slķk tökuorš eru prestur, kirkja, jeppi, appelsķna, banani, sįpa og mörg fleiri.

Žannig mį segja aš oršaforšinn endurnżist stöšugt žótt kjarninn sé įvallt hinn sami.

The Formation of New Words

In order to drag foreign influences out of the language, there is a determined programme of new word formation. New words are formed from indigenous word stems. An example of such a word is "žota", for the English word jet plane, formed from the verb "aš žjóta", to dash or whistle past like the wind. Those who criticize this method point out that words formed with Icelandic stems will normally be longer than the English words they aim to replace, and that it is easier just to use the English.

As an example, one may point to the words "myndband" and "myndbandstęki" which were formed for the English words video (which many use instead). A different method by which to revise the vocabulary is to revive old words and give them a new meaning. Words such as "snęlda" come about in this way: it now means "hljóšsnęalda" (for the English word cassette) but originally was used for a kind of spindle.

Despite these efforts, many foreign words have taken hold in Icelandic, with the words which have gained full acceptance in the language adapted to the Icelandic system of inflections. Examples of such words are "prestur" (priest), "kirkja" ( church), "jeppi" (jeep), "appelsķna" (orange, derived from the Danish word "appelsin"), "banani" (banana), "sįpa" (soap), and many more.

Although one might say the vocabulary is in a process of constant renewal, in essence it always remains the same.

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