Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Observer Discovers 'ð'


In an otherwise depressing piece, there is one sliver of good news in a report from Iceland in today's Observer: that newspaper has discovered Icelandic orthography. Accented and umlauted vowels appear in both the paper and online versions of the article and there are even two instances of 'ð'. One of the people interviewed is a Herdís Ólöf Kjartansdóttir - all her vowels are intact. Needless to say, not all of the vowels that should have been accented are, and they persist in calling an interviewed professor 'Guðmundsson' as if it were a surname. But it's not a bad effort, is it the first time? It's certainly the first time I've noticed a British newspaper using 'ð's though they have essayed the odd accented vowel before, but if anyone has noticed differently, do let me know. Once the newspapers do it properly, I'll get my students on board as well. Though I have to say that, in recent years, technology has noticeably improved the appearance, orthography-wise, of student essays on Old Norse and Icelandic topics.

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