Iceland’s volcano – a tale of plumes & pronunciation

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano has understandably caught the attention of the media – especially as it involves thousands of Britons ‘stranded’ on foreign shores, facing epic return journeys.

But it has been noticeable that while print and online media have used the full name of the volcano in their reports (and that lovely description of the ash cloud – ‘plume’), broadcast media journalists have tended to go with ‘Iceland’s volcano’ to avoid trying to pronounce a word that means ‘island-mountain glacier’ in Icelandic.

Wikipedia helpfully provides a sound link . But for those of us with no experience or knowledge of Icelandic, it’s pretty hard to get this right.

By 22 April, typing in ‘how to pronounce the Iceland volcano’ in Google yielded an amazing 14,600,000 results – proving that people have now got bored by the stories of stranded travellers and are looking for new angles to the story.

Typing in ‘Eyjafjallajökull pronunciation’ into the search box on youtube got 55 results, including this one:

And this one – comprising a song written and performed by Icelandic singer Eliza Geirsdottir Newman:

Of course, big news stories tend to generate jokes and the eruption of  the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is no exception., a news website in the US, already has a list of ‘erupting jokes’. In at number 7 is:

“An eruption in Katla (the volcano next to Eyjafjallajökull) will be a lot harder on everyone, except on those who have to pronounce it.”

So there you have it.

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