A Size Small, or a Small Sip?

Here’s a useful little tidbit I picked up from a friend the other day when we went to see a movie at Bíó Paradís: When you’re ordering a small size of something, say, a small drink, you should use the word “litill” instead of the word “smár.” They both mean small, or little, but apparently, if you use “smár,” it sounds to the person you are talking to as though you want just a little sip of a drink, or one single piece of popcorn, instead of a small sized, but nevertheless full, cup or bag.

You see, when I had walked up the counter, I couldn’t remember how to decline “litill” correctly on the fly. (I also wasn’t sure of the word for popcorn, so I asked for a “small bag.” For reference, popcorn is “popp.”) But I could remember how to decline “smár.” The guy gave me a bit of a funny look, but I plowed ahead, and did end up with what I was trying to order. So win there. But it makes more sense now.

This puts me in mind of a fun little phrase you can use when asking for a top up on your cup of coffee, for instance. When you want just a smidgen more, not a full cup, you can ask for “bara tíu dropar,” or just ten drops of coffee.

Oh, and allow me to take this opportunity to recommend the new Icelandic film we went to see: “Málmhaus,” or Metalhead, which is circulating at festivals and will likely get a strong international release. It’s by no means a super happy movie, and there are some very dark elements to it, but it was periodically very funny, beautifully shot, and extremely well acted. There’s a preview with English subtitles now:


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