Í dag, erum við að tala um ketti…

Tomorrow, I have the first of my final exams: a short oral presentation on cats. It’s a group project and can be no longer than five minutes (it’s a big class), so it shouldn’t be too stressful, but nevertheless, preparing my minute and 10 seconds or so of narration has been a touch nervous-making. We can have notes for the presentation, but can’t just read directly from them, so I need to have a goodly amount of it memorized, or at least mostly-memorized. Which means focusing on pronunciation and grammar on the fly…like in a real conversation, except with note cards.

I thought it would be useful to make a recording of myself speaking my part of the presentation so that I could listen to my accent and see where I slipped up, etc. After a few trial runs, I’m not actually unhappy with the result and feel pretty good about tomorrow’s presentation.

In the event that you are interested in learning a minute’s worth of information about cats and their origins as pets—or perhaps would just get a kick from listening to me talk about cats in Icelandic—I have embedded the video I made of myself reading along with our slide presentation. Below the video, you’ll see the Icelandic text and the English translation. I ran this text by one of my groupmate’s Icelandic husband (very thankful for his corrections), but in the event that I get something wrong and you notice, tell me quick! And cross your fingers for me tomorrow!

Fyrirlestir um ketti (fyrri hluti) from Larissa Kyzer on Vimeo.

Fyrirlestur: fyrri hluti
Lecture: First Part

Í dag, erum við ad tala um ketti—ketti sem eru gæludýr í dag og líka ketti til forna áður en þeir urðu gæludýr.

Today, we are talking about cats—cats which are pets in the present and also cats in days of old before they became pets.

Kettir hafa verið vinsæl gæludýr um mörg þúsand ár. En fræðimenn vita ekki beint hvenær ketti urðu gæludýr.

Cats have been popular pets for many thousand years. But scholars don’t know exactly when cats became pets.

Fræðimenn hafa fundið beinagrindur katta á eyjunni Kýpur sem voru jarðsett með fólki fyrir tólf þúsan árum.

Scholars have found cat skeletons on the island of Cyprus which were buried with people twelve thousand years ago.

Það er mögulegt að fólk byrjaði að temja ketti þegar það tók sér fasta búsetu og hóf að rækta jörðina.

It is possible that people started to tame cats when they established permanent residences and began to cultivate the land.

Fólk þurfti þá ad hafa ketti vegna þess voru svo margar mýs í húsum þeirra.

Then people needed to have cats because there were so many mice in their houses.

Kettirnir voru ánægðir að éta mýsnar og fólkið var ánægt að meindýr spilltu ekki uppskeru þess.

The cats were happy to eat the mice and the people were happy that vermin did not spoil their crops.


9 thoughts on “Í dag, erum við að tala um ketti…

  1. Wow, you sound great!! I’ve found it that people with American accents sound monotone in Icelandic but you have a really nice rhythm. 🙂

    • Thanks, Shaana–I am delighted to hear that I don’t sound monotone! I’m not sure that I can match this rhythm on the fly (in fact, I know I usually can’t), but perhaps this is a sign that with practice, I’ll be able to speak naturally one day without note cards.

  2. I am very impressed! I don’t know if it’s the way it’s meant to be pronounced, but isn’t rækta meant to be pronounced “raHta”? You’re really good at rolling Rs, which I heard weren’t easy for native English speakers (Scots apart). :o) I wish I could now reach your level some day! (sigh)
    Do you now get to practice your Icelandic a bit more? Do people still switch to English? I wish you an excellent continuation, you’ll be fluent no doubt about it!

    • Hi, Anna-

      Thanks! For the rolling rs, I must give full credit to the 6+ years of studying Spanish and living in the southwest. I’ve said that Spanish doesn’t come in handy much when learning Icelandic, but it definitely helps with those rolling rrrrs.

      I’m sure that if you had the opportunity to take a few classes and live here for awhile, you could get to cat-presentation point. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this minute of reasonably fluid speaking (in a contained scenario), but it’s definitely not impossible.

      I can mostly get through basic conversations in Icelandic lately–I was able to get money out at the bank in Icelandic recently, which was a big step. I try to prepare myself before I start talking so that the short exchanges can go well. In certain cases–when I am talking very slowly or am having trouble–people still switch to English, but not as often anymore. And the little exchanges that I can have successfully are really heartening to me. It’s nice to have tangible evidence of success, even if that success is on a small scale!

      I think the ‘k’ in ‘rækta’ is pronounced as such, but ks are one of those letters that is often muted with aspiration. Let me check with a teacher, and I will let you know.

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