The joys of learning past tense

When I was preparing for my exam in Icelandic 3, with a “Focus is on the spoken language use in the daily life” in evening at MSS I spent a lot of time practicing the past tense for strong verbs.

At this moment I was trying to memorize the vowel changes in the first group of strong verbs.

Strong verbs in the first group include words like:

bíða - wait;            bíta - bite;            drífa - drive;
gína - gape;            grípa - grasp;          hníga - fall gently;
hrífa - catch hold;     hrína - squeal;         hvína - whistle, whine;
klífa - climb;          klípa - pinch;          kvíða - dread;
líða - elapse;          líta - look;            ríða - ride;
rífa - tear;            rísa - rise;            síga - sink;
skína - shine;          skríða - creep;         slíta - break;
sníða - cut;            stíga - step;           svíða - singe, smart;
svífa - soar;           svíkja - deceive;       víkja - yield;
þrífa - grasp, snatch; clean.

Since the vowel changes are the same all you really need to learn if a few of the words and apply the same changes to the others.

So there I am sitting in the living room, chanting out words in Icelandic. These words:

Þrífa  – Þreif – ríða – reið – þrífa – þreif – ríða – reið

Then I look over and see an absolutely horrified look on my children’s faces. I asked them if they were OK and they asked me to never, never, say that again. I didn’t really get it. I am not so cleaver in that way. I asked why, but they would not answer me.

I asked my husband, who laughed. It is such a good feeling to know I provide so much amusement to the who family.

So I know þrífa means clean and ríða means ride – but not like a bicycle or a horse…

So now I know that I must never say that work again, at least not chanting my way through the different forms of the verb in each person.

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