Icelandic: A tree doesn’t fall at the first blow


New Member
I translated A tree doesn’t fall at the first blow into Eigi fellr tré við fyrsta högg, and found various references online, including a song.
But I also found a variant translation, Eigi fellr tré við it fyrsta högg, which adds it ([...] við it fyrsta [...]). It seems strange to me but I have found it in a couple of sites. What can you tell me about this it?
Is my first translation correct?

Takk fyrir!
  • Svenke

    Senior Member
    I can't tell you what's correct, but this it is a definite article, 'the'. It is the same as hitt, the neuter singular of hinn.


    Senior Member
    I am not Icelandic either, but based on my understanding of grammar in general and Danish in particular, I'd venture the interpretations that WITH the article the tree may not fall at the first stroke but will fall eventually; WITHOUT the article you are not interested in what happens after the first blow.


    New Member
    it certainly isn't modern Icelandic (today's equivalent would be hið or the attached article -ið). In a normal context, you would rather say við fyrsta höggið. Sayings, however, tend to keep words that are somewhat outdated in everyday usage (like here eigi instead of ekki) as well as grammar that would sound rather formal or literary in contemporary Icelandic.