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.