02 March 2011

Now ðere's a Þought.

Sometimes at work I come across emails where some of the words are in Icelandic. I can’t help scrolling down and staring and imagining how those words must sound. I think of Sigur Ros and Bjork, tinkering with music boxes and tinkling with little bells - all the time whispering with soft consonants that express nothing of their devestated economy, while a massive volcano simmers behind them, the name of which looks like some keyboard-mash that was never intended to be uttered.

However, what attracts me most to Icelandic is the abundant use of my old friends eth and thorn (Þ and ð). They are sprinkled through the text so liberally that it has a runic flavour, making it look a little bit like Tolkein’s Elvish. It’s because Icelandic has kept those little orthographical links to old English that we discarded that I feel a common bond. It reminds me that there were vikings and longboats and at some point English and Icelandic emerged from the same root language.

If we still had them, spelling would be so much easier. Word pairs like ‘thigh’/’thy’ would be easily distinguished by the correct use of Þ and ð. Not only would Þis make English easier to learn, it would also make it prettier to read. It’s such a shame ðat we don’t have any accents to pour over our letters. Ðey are a little bit plain wiÞout ðem but at least wiÞ Þ and ð, Þis text is little more decorative. Ðere now, isn’t ðat better! If Þis blog post were a person, ðey would have put on a big woolly hat with ear-flaps right about now. Imagine ðere’s a breeze blowing from the norÞ, and wiÞ its chill it carries a simple minor melody ðat rings Þrough an evergreen forest before gently fading away into the eÞer.

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