Icelandic Language Resource BÍN Launches App

Edda Centre for Icelandic Studies

The free Icelandic online language resource BÍN has recently released an app: BÍN-kjarninn, created by William Stewart.

BÍN is an online inflection reference for modern Icelandic. Though not an Icelandic dictionary, it is an essential resource for native Icelandic speakers, in addition to those who have learned Icelandic as a second language.

The new app, BÍN-kjarninn, features a simplified subset of the BÍN database. Árnastofnun, the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, states that the app will be particularly useful for learners of Icelandic.

The simplified BÍN-kjarninn database is also accessible via an API connected to the BÍN database.

The vocabulary in BÍN-kjarninn covers both basic word forms in Icelandic and a selection of recognized word forms adhering to grammar rules and conventions. It aligns largely with the word list in the Íslensk nútímamálsorðabók (Icelandic Contemporary Dictionary), which contains approximately 50,000 words. Additionally, common non-inflected words (including prepositions, conjunctions, etc.) are included in BÍN-kjarninn in limited numbers.

The app is available both on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

Icelandic language learners can find more resources here.

Breaking: Eruption Begins on Reykjanes Peninsula

reykjanes eruption at sundhnúk february 2024

An eruption has begun in Iceland, the third on the Reykjanes peninsula since December. It poses no immediate threat to infrastructure, inhabited areas, or flights through Iceland.

The eruption is reported to have began around 6:00 this morning. After seismic activity around 5:30 this morning, February 8, a fissure opened on the Reykjanes peninsula near Sundhnúk.

Following a Coast Guard surveillance flight, the Icelandic Met Office reports that the fissure opened near the eruption of December 18, approximately one kilometre from Grindavík.

The Met Office also reports that the initial fissure seems to be some 3 km [1.8 mi] in length. Initial reports indicate a slightly lesser lava flow than the December 18 eruption.

Lava jets are estimated to reach 50-80 m [164-262 ft] and can be seen from the capital area.

The Blue Lagoon is reported to have evacuated its guests shortly after the beginning of the eruption.

Initial reports show no immediate threat to the town of Grindavík or the Svartsengi geothermal power plant. The established pattern of such eruptions is that they begin with the most force and die down relatively quickly.

This is breaking news. Stay up to date with our coverage for the latest on the situation, or read about the history of the Reykjanes eruptions here.

Deep North Episode 60: Boom Town

iceland immigration

If you’re looking for a community in Iceland that has been profoundly changed by tourism, there is hardly a better place to look than Vík, the urban centre of the Mýrdalshreppur municipality. Over the past eight years or so, building after building has sprung up in the town: a two-storey Icewear store opened in 2017, a 72-room hotel in 2018. Since 2015, the municipality’s population has nearly doubled, from 480 to 877. Ten years ago, there may have been one or two places in town for a traveller to sit down for dinner. Now there are enough restaurants for Tripadvisor to compile the top ten.

And along with the tour boom, the community in Vík has grown in recent years as well. Here’s how this South Iceland community is making the best of it. Read the story here.

Deep North Episode 59: Turf and Rescue

turf house farm iceland

Hannes Lárusson grew up in a cluster of turf houses on the farmstead Austur-Meðalholt in Southwest Iceland.

His ancestors moved there around 1850. The houses they constructed were made with the remnants of the land’s pre-existing houses, which slouched near the marshes when they arrived. The history of the farmstead stretches nearly as far back as the settlement.

In 1965, when he was ten years old, Hannes moved to Reykjavík. He studied visual art and philosophy in Iceland and abroad prior to redirecting his attention to his childhood home in the mid-80s.

By that time, the turf houses of Austur-Meðalholt were abandoned and on the verge of ruin. Although he had observed those houses being mended as a boy, he lacked the know-how to rebuild them himself; and so Hannes and his family enlisted the aid of Jóhannes Arason, a turf master who grew up in the Westfjords’ Gufudalssveit area, and who stayed with them for parts of the summer between 1987 and 1993.

Read the story here.

Deep North Episode 58: Disaster on Dark Seas

ES goðafoss

On the morning of November 20, 1944, a single U-boat cruised silently at periscope depth beneath the rough waves of the North Atlantic, lurking just a few kilometres off the Northwest coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. The lone periscope was virtually invisible in the turbulent grey ocean waters. The German submarine, type VIIC/41, designated U-300, was commanded by 24-year-old Lieutenant Fritz Hein with a crew of 50 men barely out of their teens. Their mission was simple: To attack and destroy Allied vessels off the southwestern tip of Iceland as they approached the Icelandic mainland from North America. The bigger the ship they could sink, the better.

Read the story here.

Deep North Episode 57: Balancing the Scales

escaped farmed fish iceland

On Saturday, October 7, a tractor trundled through the streets of downtown Reykjavík with hundreds of protestors in tow. The procession was headed to Austurvöllur Square in front of Iceland’s Parliament for a demonstration.

Several organisations – including Landvernd (the Icelandic Environment Association) and the Icelandic Wildlife Fund – had organised the event to protest salmon aquaculture in open-net sea pens, an industry that grew more than tenfold in Iceland between 2014 and 2021. During this period, annual production ballooned from nearly 4,000 tonnes of farmed salmon to approximately 45,000 tonnes.

The reason protestors were demonstrating was because the growth of the industry had coincided with what some would call predictable problems. Aside from the potentially negative environmental impacts that salmon farming in open-net pens poses – including pollution from fish waste, uneaten feed, and chemicals or medicines used to treat diseases – Iceland had recently witnessed firsthand two of the industry’s primary risks: the escape of genetically-distinct farmed salmon of Norwegian origin from open-net pens (threatening introgression with wild populations), and the proliferation of diseases and parasites, most notably sea lice.

Read the full story here.

M4.5 Quake Rocks Southwest Iceland

svartsengi power plant reykjanes

An M4.5 earthquake registered near Trölladyngja on the Reykjanes peninsula shook Southwest Iceland around 10:50 this morning.

A smaller, secondary M3.9 earthquake was registered soon after, at 10:54 local time. Smaller aftershocks were also registered.

reykjanes earthquake
Met Office Iceland

According to the Meteorological Office of Iceland, the earthquakes originated at a depth of 5 km [3 mi]. The Meteorological Office further stated that they are likely “trigger” quakes, which accompany magma movement.

The quakes were felt throughout much of South and West Iceland. The epicentre was located at around 20 km [12 mi] north-northeast of the Svartsengi power plant, where recent land rise due to magma intrusion has been detected.

Stay up to date with the latest on the Reykjanes peninsula here.

 

Eruption Begun On Reykjanes Peninsula

reykjanes eruption grindavík

An eruption has begun on the Reykjanes peninsula.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the fissure has opened north of Grindavík, near Hagafell mountain.

The Meteorological Office states that the eruption began at 10:17 pm local time, following an M4.2 earthquake that was recorded around 9:00 pm.

A coast guard helicopter is in the air to confirm the exact location and magnitude of the eruption.

Mayor of Grindavík Speaks Out

Fannar Jónason, mayor of Grindavík, states to Vísir that it could come down to a matter of mere metres, when asked if the eruption would affect Grindavík.

He stated to Vísir that at the moment, he knows just as much as others, but has been in contact with several agencies and parties since the eruption.

“We know very little, but we are trying to figure it out,” he stated to Vísir. He continued: “Like others, I am still trying to get information about the situation, but it seems to be a large eruption in its early phases.”

In his statement to Vísir, he said he could not confirm the exact location of the eruption. “We still don’t know,” he stated. “It’s going to be a long night.”

This is breaking news. Updates will follow.