“Eyjafjallajökull”–Is That Pronounced Like It’s Spelled?

One day, your minding your own business, ignoring basics about Icelandic culture and dialect, and the next day everything changes…

Ever since last week, when one of Iceland’s string of thirty-five active volcanos erupted and began sending thick ash 25,000′ into the atmosphere, this issue has elbowed it’s way into both national and international news.  By last night, over 63,000 European flights had been cancelled and geologists and volcanologists (yes, that’s a real title) were weighing in with their predictions of long-term effects on the climate (mostly bad, mostly ‘cold winters’).  Many believe it could trigger eruptions in Iceland’s nearby volcanoes as well.  Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re a Mid-Atlantic Ridge volcanic hot spot straddling the divide between the Eurasian and North American continental plates…

But more than anything else, all these stories and all this coverage means hundreds of non-Icelandic reporters will struggle to pronounce this previously-obscure, seventeen letter umlauted word on live broadcasts, much to the delight of native Icelanders who have already started collecting the bumblings and posting them on YouTube.

Hopefully, Icelanders keep finding this funny.  Because the last time Eyjafjallajökull erupted in December of 1821, it lasted thirteen months.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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