A tweet by Margaret Tierney, a young American tourist in Iceland, has been delighting the Icelandic Twitterverse in the past couple of days. In the video, Tierney attempts – and has varying degrees of success at – pronouncing long Icelandic words written on street signs.
the human mind is an amazing thing, i spent 1 week in iceland and i am now completely fluent in icelandic 😊 pic.twitter.com/peSvqBKwg4
— Margaret Tierney (@ErinTierney36) March 10, 2019
The Icelandic language is notoriously difficult to learn, especially when it comes to pronunciation. In the tweet Michigan native Margaret states that after spending a week in Iceland, she is now fluent in the language. In the above video, you can see her valiant efforts to pronounce long words on signs in Iceland.
Tierney points the camera at the words as she reads them out loud, making the video reminiscent of the ‘Pronouncing Things Incorrectly’ videos, made popular by online comedian Chaz Smith, on the now inactive short-form video hosting service Vine. Rest in power, Vine (2012-2017).
Tierney’s video starts in Reykjavík, where she pronounces the names of things such as; the Reykjavík Cathedral Congregation Hall, Safnaðarheimili Dómkirkjunnar, the lingerie store Lífstykkjabúðin (The Corset Shop), and street names like Vitastígur (Lighthouse Lane) and Vonarstræti (Hope Street).
Margaret then ventures outside of the city, making stops at interesting signs. First is the waterfall Gljúfrabúi (Canyon Dweller). Which is a smaller waterfall accessible on foot via a path north of the popular tourist stop at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall on Iceland’s South Coast. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is known for being a waterfall you can walk behind.
Tierney’s next reading is of the sign for Langjökull Glacier, which literally translates to ‘Long Glacier’. This is the second largest ice-cap in Iceland, situated in the west of the Icelandic Highlands.
She then heads to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Her first stop is in Ólafsvík Town where she reads the sign for a street named Kirkjutún (Church Fields). On that street, she finds one of the longest and most confusing names she reads, which even Icelanders have to admit is an effort to read; Átthagastofa Snæfellsnesbæjar, The Native Region Centre of Snæfellsbær (Snow Mountain Town).
The video has over four thousand views and has been retweeted, commented on and liked hundreds of times in the two days it’s been up.
There is a thriving community of Icelandic tweeters who enjoy comedic videos like this. Icelandic tweeters are known for engaging in lively discussions about everything from entertainment to politics. Including tweets about popular TV shows like Trapped and police brutality towards asylum seekers at a peaceful protest.
Margaret Tierney’s tweet delighted many Icelanders and friends of Iceland alike. Who knows, she might have a career in comedy ahead of her, she certainly has a few fans in Iceland.