Icelandic: Eitt furðulegasta eldfjall

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by ShakeyX, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    „Sjáðu“, hvíslaði hann með lotningarhreim í röddinni. „Þetta er Snæfellsjökull“. [...]
    „Já, Snæfell, einmitt það“, sagði frændi.
    „Eitt furðulegasta eldfjall, sem til er. Gígurinn hefirsjaldan verið athugaður“.

    "Look" he whispered with a tone of adulation in his voice. "That is Snæfellsjökull"
    "Yes, Snæfell, exactly that" (the relative said?)"
    "One of the most strange volcanoes that exists. The crater has rarely been looked at"

    So first off could someone correct or offer better suggestions to my translation.

    Second, I do not understand this eitt furðulegsta eldfjall construction... One of the most... then volcanoes in the singlular and not in the genitive like I would suspect (one OF - genitive). On that note, is it more common to use Eitt af then dative.. as I have sometimes seen it omit af and just use the genitive. What is the ruling on this?
  2. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I'm not sure if there is anything really to "explain" here, it's just that is a possible construction for how to translate that. You know how it is, you have analysed it and know the structure, there it is and that's what it does. I don't think I can 'add' anything that would not be saying what you already know. There's not so much a ruling so much as differing options. I think this form is more highly regarded than the eitt af + adjective in dative form., That's in itself a subjective and variable statement, though. Frændi is just a general male relative. When it comes to having to specify instantly what relation is meant, I've known Icelanders to mix them up and overgeneralise uncle when they mean cousin, etc. I still struggle with how you can talk about these family relations and be so vague in that regard, but that's just how my native language forces me to think.
  3. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    But what case is eldfjall in and why, is what I was getting at... as this is neither the af + dative or the genitive. So it doesn't make sense. If this is something you have already addressed I sincerely apologise but I genuinely can't remember it simply staying in the nominative... to mean, one "OF" the something.
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Ah, sorry I misread!
    It's just the nominative case. The reason? I guess because there is no reason for it to be in any other and that is the default case in an example like this.
    If you had of (af) then you're correct that it wouldn't be the nominative any more, and it doesn't correspond to where we'd expect the dative either. This is just a third option available with the nominative. Think of it like it was 'the strangest volcano' with the definite article, that would be default nominative as well and I don't imagine that will give you any problems in understanding how that works, and then put 'eitt' instead of the article. Same structure as that.

    Það furðulegasta eldfjall, sem til er.
    Eitt furðulegasta eldfjall, sem til er.
  5. Donnerstag Senior Member

    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Oh man, it took me ages to properly learn the difference between "uncle" and "cousin" and even today I may accidentally mix them up. And then there's nephew as well, ugh! To me, everyone is just a frændi, both my two year old cousin and my sixty year old uncle ;)
  6. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    English - UK
    Haha this is such a funny English / Icelandic problem. Every time someone's talking about their frændi or frænka I want to ask which sort of frændi they are talking about - at least to get a sense of what generation this person is in!
  7. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Just searched this up to refresh myself and ran into a wall.

    I was abit confused at the time but now i'm on my game... were you suggesting that Eitt furðulegasta eldfjall means "The strangest volcano" and not "One of the strangest". Ofcourse the eitt being there is what lead me to believe it was ONE of ... even though there is no "of" indicated, but this is what I thought.

    So you can use Eitt here as a sort of Hið?

    Vissirðu að ein stærsta tónlistarhátíð Belgíu, Pukkelpop, er haldin árlega í borginni Hasselt? -is this the biggest musical festival or one of the biggest? as hátíð is in the nominative.

    Palestína er eitt margra heita landsvæða á milli Miðjarðarhafsins og árinnar Jórdan svo og nokkurra aðliggjandi landsvæða. -this has margra heita in the genitive so I know that is one OF many... something. (Could this also be written with af + dative then?)

  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    No, no. I said the structure of the construction with the other meaning is the same, not the meaning.
    It is "One of..."
    ... What I was saying is that "The strangest volcano" has a pattern, right, article + superlative + noun.
    This meaning of one of the strangest, is just achieved by putting in eitt.
    There's no reason why one has to have "of/af" in it. If we didn't also have the "the strangest volcano" structure it could be a bit weird to introduce something new. What I'm saying is, if you can see how the one with the definite article works, putting in a number gives you what we would say as the 'one of the...' construction. I didn't say they both meant the same thing. Adding 'eitt' means one of a typically smaller group of very [whatever the adjective is].

    So, the concert example is one of the biggest concerts in Belgium.
    You're correct about the Palestine example. It's not considered good style to consistently use af + dative but it's certainly a possibility, yes.
  9. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Okay so is there ever a time, like with our belgium example, that using the genitive/dative would be considered wrong. ...ein stærsta tónlistarhátíðarinnar / ein af stærsta tónlistarhátíðinni (are these both also perfectly acceptable, grammatically, but maybe stylistically difficult).
  10. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I don't think so.
    If anyone can think of a context, please taka undir.

    Specifically regarding your examples.
    You're mixing constructions. You wouldn't have "ein" if you were going to use the genitive, it doesn't belong to that construction.
    You would need the nominative or the dative for that.

    Be careful to make your adjectives weak when adding the definite article (stór).
  11. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Why would you not have ein if you were going to use the genitive? And what adjectives aren't week, stærsta is weak in all examples conforming to the fact that hátíð has the definite article attached. I didn't really understand what you just said. Oh wait... hátíð is female isn't it... okay, so change both examples to stærstu but then I still don't undesrtand why I can't use ein.
  12. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Well like in your Palestine example, it's talking about one of many names... that is fine. That's not using any superlative adjective though. It's wrong to class those two things together in the same context as if they're linked.

    It's probably just because it's normal to use the nominative for exactly that other meaning. There wouldn't be a reason to use the genitive there.
    If the nominative ain't broke, why fix it with genitive?
  13. Kadabrium Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    so you can´t say for example Eitt furðulegastu eldfjalla(nna)?
  14. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Perhaps you can, but I've never seen it. I always see the nominative structure for really similar things.
    I know the "all bears are white" argument is flawed to say there are no "other coloured bears" so that's why I'd just say not from what I have observed. Natives?
  15. Donnerstag Senior Member

    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Spelling correction: it should be "eitt furðulegustu eldfjallanna"

    But no, I wouldn't consider this correct Icelandic. If the conversation went like this:

    „Já, Snæfell, einmitt það“, sagði frændi.
    „Eitt furðulegustu eldfjallanna sem til eru. Gígurinn hefir sjaldan verið athugaður“.

    then I'd of course understand the meaning, but I'd probably think the second speaker wasn't a native speaker. It sounds quite weird.

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