þriðjudagur, janúar 31, 2006


We interrupt this Iceland Report serial to offer up the following vocabulary trivia quiz. First one to guess correctly, without the aid of a dictionary (or search engine) of any kind, wins a miniature work of art by Iceland's own ERRÓ.

The following pair of obscure Icelandic words translate to an equally obscure pair of English words:


What are the translations? Leave your answers in the Comments. Wild guessing is strongly encouraged.

All judgements will be carried out by a semi-independent adjudication agency, J.B. Dómsdagur Hf., and are final.


Anonymous Nick said...

Umm, how about "automatic" and "manual"?

Blogger ECS said...

I'm guessing I can't play, since I already know :-D

Blogger JB said...

To answer a reader question, yes, the two words are related to each other. They are two things that go along together, almost like opposites but not quite. Kind of a yin-yang thing, really.

Anonymous Rossy said...

is it lowland and highland?

Anonymous Rossy said...

what about "downstairs" and "upstairs"?

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

I cheated and used the interweb, so I won't post my answers. I found it interesting that they are words that I use nearly every day...the perils of working for the Army, I guess.


Anonymous Einar said...

latitude and longitude?

Anonymous Sirry said...

I'd say horizontal/vertical or lattitude/longitude.
They're used when calculating locations on the planet!
Now, what are they in Shanghai-an?
I'll bring that one in on Friday ;D

these words sounds funny when pronounced, lots of nasal blowing :D

Blogger JB said...

Here is a hint: the words come from the field of mathematics.

Anonymous Rossy said...

OK, I was going to say they are "minimum" and "maximum," but you say they are not quite opposites. Is it "abscissa" and "ordinate"?

Blogger JB said...

Awesome Rossum... yep, that's it!

abscissca = láhnit
ordinate = lóðhnit

The Icelandic words for these terms are really interesting. The "lá" comes from liggja, to lie (not to fib, the other one), so it's the lying-down axis.

The vertical axis is even cooler, because the "lóð" comes from the word for "plumb line". So it's the plumb-line axis. And we all know those are vertical, at least in a perfect world.

You win the prize, Rossini, which is some ERRÓ artwork in postcard form. :-) Stay on line when we go to commercial and someone will take down your address so we can mail that to you.

Anonymous Sirry said...

So, it has nothing to do with calculations on the planet?
Hnit is usually referring to a very specific point on i.e. map calculations.
I learned in highschool that these two terms were used for mapping out once location.
Mathematics and Geography

Huh, I´m surprised.

JB - do you know if these terms or then if not these terms, which terms are used for mapping specific locations.


Blogger JB said...

I'm no expert but it appears that these terms are used for mapping out locations in a mathematical/Cartesian sense. So, useful when graphing a line or a parabola on the Cartesian coordinate plane.

At least that is how they are used in English.

My trusty tölvuorðabók gives different Icelandic words for lat/lon, which are used to map a point in a geographic sense.

latitude = breiddargráða
longitude = lengdargráða

(Literal translations: breadth-degree and length-degree. Sweet!)

Note that these aren't really the same thing, since geographical coordinates are based on a spherical system, whereas the Cartesian system is based on a plane. So the Cartesian coordinates go off to infinity in all directions, while the spherical ones wrap around on themselves.

And that's about all I have to say from 64°N, 22°W.


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