The Phrase of the Week is: Takk Fyrir Mig
Pronunciation: Tack feer-reer migg
Meaning: “Thanks for Dinner”
This week’s phrase is Takk Fyrir Mig, though you’re not likely to hear it in Iceland unless you’ve happened to make one of our locals a delicious plate of food (—offers are, of course, always accepted).
It is a frequently heard question; “What is the Icelandic word for ‘please?’”, though no answer exists. There simply is no term for it in the Icelandic language, which can often make visitors believe that Icelanders lack basic manners.
See Also: Ísbíltúr | Icelandic Language Lesson #01
Of course, the phrase “Gjörðu svo vel” is used to invite someone to do something, and “vinsamlegast” stands in for ‘please’ in public scenarios, but there is still no direct translation for when you’re casually asking another of a favour.
This seemingly impolite manner is not the whole case, however, as there are a number of different ways to say “Thank you”, with different terms and phrases used in accordance with each situation.
“Takk Fyrir Mig” is mainly used to show appreciation after someone cooks a meal for another person, and can be translated as either “Thanks for dinner” or “Thank you for me”. This would be said when getting up from the table or saying goodbye after a dinner party. The phrase is also used, however, after one receives a gift or a favour. Once again, there is no direct English translation.
“Verði þér að góðu” is said as a polite response, equivalent to “You’re welcome”. However, a more direct translation would be “May this be good for you”.
Another example of saying a different version of thanks is “takk fyrir síðast”, used when you meet a friend or acquaintance who you had previously enjoyed time with before. The phrase would be translated to “thanks for the last time [… we saw each other]”.
Though non-Icelandic speakers might misinterpret this as verbal appreciation for a previous sexual rendezvous, the phrase is in fact used regarding any event, be it a trip to the cinema or concert, or merely a conversation down the bar.
Do you have any unique phrases in your own language that are difficult to translate into English? Do you have a favourite Icelandic word or phrase? Be sure to leave your thoughts and questions in the Facebook comments box below.