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Seeing Red on Black Friday

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Seeing Red on Black Friday

Clothing store.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

In recent years, more and more stores in Iceland have begun to aggressively advertise their goods on Black Friday, the day that in the US marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Retailers bombard consumers with ads and offers today, trying to convince them that their discounts are too good to be missed.

To the chagrin of those who care about protecting the Icelandic language, not nearly all of those retailers see a reason to translate the term, simply calling it Black Friday, while others take the time to open their internal dictionary and call it Svartur föstudagur. The lack of translation makes many see red.

But not only retailers are guilty of using foreign terms liberally. In the tourism industry, English terms have long permeated the language—so much, indeed, that some Icelanders are fed up. Kári Jónasson, former news director at RÚV radio, who has worked as a guide, posted a column this week, loaded with English terms. It was published by Eyjan yesterday.

The column addresses those who work in the travel industry in their own jargon, humorously bringing attention to how far from the language of our beloved old literature their word choice has gone. You can view the column here and guess for yourself the meaning of the words in bold.

Here is a glossary to get you started:

gædar: guides

dræverar: drivers

sumarsísonið: summer season

bússinn: the bus

resepsjónin: the reception

velkomdinner: welcome dinner

nósjós: no shows

treilerinn: the trailer

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