Good news for Nordic fans! Very soon, you’ll be able to learn Icelandic with Memrise using a specially created course from the team.
The language of Björk will be available on a 100 item short-course with full audio and “Meet The Natives” videos.
Memrise at the Polyglot Conference
The course has been designed especially for the Polyglot Conference. It teaches phrases and words that will be useful for Polyglot Conference attendees so that they can try and converse with each other in Icelandic. It teaches you how to ask which languages somebody speaks, to order some ram’s testicles, and to tell somebody that they have a lovely accent.
Memrise is the proud platinum sponsor of the Polyglot Conference, which takes place in Reykjavík on 27-29 October, and is flying the whole team out to Iceland to mingle with language lovers from around the world.
Making the Course
Making the course itself was quite a fun challenge for the in-house team. Memrise worked with Charles Gittins, a translator from the European Commission, and a group of Icelanders that we found living here in London.
Diana, Memrise’s in-house film and cinematography guru who oversaw the filming of Meet The Native videos on the pan-European Membus road trip, said that she really enjoyed working with the Icelanders here in London:
“It was really cool to film them. They were very beautiful and arrived wearing traditional Icelandic jumpers.”
“Icelandic people don’t have any facial expressions unless they’ve had a drink. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get them drunk.”
But she mentioned that from a cinematography point of view, trying to get video content from them brought its own unique challenges:
“When I asked them to be lively and make facial expressions, they explained that Icelandic people don’t have any facial expressions unless they’ve had a drink. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get them drunk before making the videos so we had to make do with them sober.”
For Product Manager Guillaume Jaskuła, getting recordings from the Icelanders was a highlight too:
“As I was going through the items I had my own ideas of what it would sound like. I remember trying to pronounce some of those long sentences and wondering whether anyone would actually be able to say it properly. But then the Icelanders came to record the audio and… some of the words sounded VERY different from what I was expecting. Let’s see how many people manage to say ‘Have you been to a Polyglot Conference?'”
“Some of the words sounded VERY different from what I was expecting. Let’s see how many people manage to say ‘Have you been to a Polyglot Conference?'”
The Polyglot Conference (which is “Ráðstefna fjöltyngdra einstaklinga” in Icelandic, in case you were wondering) moves to a new city every year. Attendees see learning new languages like Icelandic as a fun and exciting adventure. Memrise’s Chief Brand Storyteller Olivia Zavala told us she’s looking forward to seeing the new Icelandic course at the Polyglot Conference in action:
“Having the opportunity to create a course that will add a language to the list of all polyglots in attendance is super exciting. The thought of being part of enabling people to communicate with the locals in their own language is just so amazing.
“Having the opportunity to create a course that will add a language to the list of all polyglots in attendance is super exciting.”
“I now often find myself imagining our film-making crew chasing after the conference’s attendees, hoping to capture one of those magical moments when someone will make themselves understood in Icelandic.”
And just in case they don’t manage to make themselves understood to the locals, we’ve included a very important phrase for them: “ég er ennþá að læra íslensku” – ‘I’m still learning Icelandic’.
Icelandic for English speakers will be available from 6th October 2017.