Thursday, March 11, 2010
Step one: go to this site.
Step two: enter the word. Here are three examples: koma (to come), brauð (bread), and fastur (fast/firm).
It doesn't work the other way around, as this site does for Estonian for example where you can enter a declined word to find the root. Luckily it's 2010 though and Google Translate can help here.
Let's say for example you're confronted with this:
Aftenposten segir, að í viðtali við blaðið í gærkvöldi
Google Translate provides us with an accurate translation, giving "Aftenposten said in an interview with the newspaper last night". That's good to know, but as a student it's still important to understand how each word is used as well. First let's isolate some parts of the setence:
segir. í viðtali. við blaðið. í gærkvöldi.
The first one to look up is segir. We know that it means to say, so switch Google Translate from Icelandic-English to English-Icelandic, input "to say", and we get segja. Input segja into the first site again, and we get this, and now know how to conjugate segja. ég segi, han/hún/það segir, etc.
Doing the same thing for interview gives us viðtal (viðtali doesn't turn anything up) and dagblað. Unfortunately Google is a bit too smart and won't give any result but gærkvöldi for last night, while only gærkvöld without the -i registers on the other site. Luckily viðtali gives a clue that removing the -i may work, and here it does. All in all not a perfect method, but the extra effort required at times to find the original form might actually result in the words leaving a stronger impression.