American Elephants


Don’t Feel Bad, Icelanders Can’t Pronounce Their Volcano Either by American Elephant
April 20, 2010, 4:21 am
Filed under: Europe, Humor, News | Tags: , ,

With world attention focused like a volcano lancing laser on Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland is finally answering the age-old question, “what if your country got blowed-up and nobody could talk about it cus your language is batshit crazy?” Suddenly Björk’s swan dress makes complete sense — the entire country has gone funny from trying to pronounce gobbledygook.

Language Log helpfully offers up audio of five native speakers pronouncing the name of the volcano, and, equally helpfully, they’re all over the map! I count at least four different pronunciations.  So quit worrying, even the Icelanders can’t pronounce the name of their own mountain. I am beginning to think it was named by a cat walking on a keyboard. Perhaps the world will come to speak of it in Potteresque terms — “the Mountain which must not be be named.”

Meanwhile, there’s some gorgeous photography of the eruption. And a lot of people stranded waiting to fly home. (40,000 Americans are supposedly currently stranded in Britain alone.) We wish them all safe journeys.

(Remember the good old days when volcano’s had real names, like Mount St. Helens? …that will be 30 years ago next month. )

(Image: AP/Brynjar Gauti)




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