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Accent at Met Office Creates Storm

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Accent at Met Office Creates Storm

Storm arriving, aerial view

Photo: Earth/earth.nullschool.net.

The Icelandic Met Office has received criticism lately, because a German meteorologist, Martin Hensch, has been reading the weather report on RÚV’s Rás1, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. This is the first time in the history of the Met Office that a person speaking with a foreign accent is given this task. Some listeners have voiced the opinion that the weather report ought to be read in Icelandic without an accent. They claim the safety of seamen can otherwise be compromised, since reception at sea is less than perfect.

Martin was interviewed on RÚV’s Rás2 and asked whether he was hurt by the criticism. He denied that and remarked, “All I can say is, those who want to will understand.” The remark has made the headlines in Iceland, not the least because the sentence rhymes perfectly in Icelandic, “Þeir skilja sem vilja.”

Martin moved to Iceland in 2009, where he was first employed at the University of Iceland. He has been working at the Met Office since 2012. He studied geophysics in Germany, where he then earned a PhD in seismology.

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