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The language expert

Birta Jaegridottir

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Communications expert Birta Jaegridottir gives us a crash course in Icelandic.

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Birta on what makes Icelanders so creative:

"My name is Birta Jeagridottir and I'm a freelance communications and production specialist working on tourist projects."

"Having lived in several different countries and three different continents, I find myself appreciating Iceland more and more these days. A lot of things I hated when I was growing up are actually quite unique. The beautiful nature, the fresh air, the laid-back attitude of Icelanders and the creativity – I love all of those things.

A lot of people are creative here. I think the proximity to nature really helps with that, but there is also the freedom to be creative. There’s just a lot of opportunities here, even if people can’t really make that a good of a living from being creative.

"Being an island and not having natural borders could also be a factor; I think it grounds you a bit more."

One of the best things about working in Iceland is that the workplaces tend to be quite small. Everyone does everything, they don’t just focus on one thing and do that for 8 hours a day. I think it makes work a lot more challenging and varied.

Also, the quality of life here is quite high. You have more time because you’re not commuting back and forth from work three hours a day. Say you’re in a band and you want to have regular rehearsals, where in other countries the only people who can do that easily are 14-year olds, in Iceland most people can do that. The logistics involved in getting from A to B are pretty easy, even for people who don’t have a car.

Being an island and not having natural borders could also be a factor; I think it grounds you a bit more. Not that it makes people more creative, but it maybe gives you more space to focus on what you’re doing. You’re here and not going anywhere, so you might as well be creative."

Useful phrases in Icelandic

Hello – Halló

Good day - Góðan dag

Cheers! - Skál!

Goodbye – Bless bless

See you around - Sjáumst síðar

Yes –

No - Nei

I don’t understand - Ég skil ekki

I can’t speak Icelandic - Ég tala ekki íslensku

Do you speak English? - Talarðu ensku?

A pint, please - Get ég fengið hálfs lítra bjór?

A table for two, please - Get ég fengið borð fyrir tvo

This gentleman will pay for everything - Þessi herramaður mun borga fyrir allt saman

This lady will pay for everything - Þessi dama mun borga fyrir allt saman

Would you like to dance? - Viltu dansa við mig?

I’m a thief and I’m here to steal your heart - Ég er þjófur og ég er hér til að stela hjarta þínu

Excuse me, I’ve lost my phone number. Can I borrow yours? - Því miður, missti ég símanúmerið mitt. Get ég fengið lánað ykkur?

Do you believe in love in first sight or should I walk by again? - Trúir þú á ást við fyrstu sýn eða ætti ég að ganga framhjá aftur?