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Report: those Old Norse-Icelandic elves are still ambiguous in nature

古ノースとアイスランドのエルフの曖昧な性格

     Oh those Old Norse-Icelandic elves. Will I ever be rid of them and their ambiguous nature?

     I have a short report to write about my FYP and despite having spend several hours already on it today, I’m only half done with it. But you’ve already written your FYP? Why is this report taking you so long? no one asks…

     Well, as the first sentence of this blog post hints at, my report is in Japanese. I have a hard enough time trying to explain and summarise my topic in English, a language I have been speaking since however old I was when I first started to talk. Despite the gentle mocking I get from my mom who likes to remind me on occasion that I am doing an English degree and should be able to use words to express myself rather than making indistinguishable sounds without opening my mouth (that to me perfectly represent my emotions), I like to imagine I’m pretty good at English. The point I’m leading to after that unnecessarily long sentence – I’m good at English and summarising my project in my native language is difficult. I am writing in English about texts that were first written in Old Norse after all. With summarising my FYP already being a difficult thing to do, I am now left with the task of trying to talk about it in Japanese.

     I’m not good at Japanese.

     It’s good that I’ve realised this three weeks before I do my last Japanese exam and finish my degree. I’m ever on time with these realisations.

      So, it’s taking me a while to write this report and in all honesty, this blog post is me procrastinating. I do like to procrastinate. I mean, the report is only 1,200-1,500 characters long. In the grand scheme of things, that’s short. The things we usually have to write are only 400-500 characters long though, a paragraph, so I’m not used to writing something that requires me to actually plan it. Also, did I mention I’m not very good at Japanese?

     Still, at least I’m learning some really useful vocabulary…like 酷薄無情(kokuhaku mujyou)…which I think means cold-hearted and ruthless. Oh, and 不明な意図 (fumeina ito), unclear intentions.

     I’m being sarcastic there, though actually, those words are far more useful to me then some of the stuff I was learning last semester when I found myself in my oral exam discussing my interest in the chemical composition of ice on comets. I still have yet to make use of 彗星着陸探査機 (suisei chakuriku tansaki), comet landing spacecraft, in everyday conversation.

     In hindsight, I probably should have just found a news story about cats…

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9 thoughts on “Report: those Old Norse-Icelandic elves are still ambiguous in nature

  1. wow, that just sounds incredibly difficult. I have studied Old English texts and they were bad enough but Old Norse in Japanese?! What kind of course are you doing?

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    1. That’s the funny thing actually, what I’m studying has nothing to with Old Norse. I major in English literature and minor in Japanese but for some reason when it came to choosing a topic for my final year project, I chose to write about Old-Norse Icelandic elves.
      I really didn’t think things through with it because now I have this Japanese assignment in which we have to write a short report about out FYP and I have to be able to talk about it for the Japanese oral exam I have soon.
      And I talking about Old Norse in English was difficult! 😀

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    2. Well Old Norse is pretty interesting, though a lot of people are looking at me funny when I tell them that I’m currently studying Japanese but that I want to go do a masters in Old Norse and Viking studies.
      I tell you though, you know your life is taking a strange turn when you find yourself debating whether when trying to spell names in katakana for Japanese assignments, you should start with the anglicised versions or just with Old Norse spellings to Japanese.

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    3. It’s great! I am just doing English which feels very dull in comparison. I suppose it is difficult to be wrong in that case, not many people will have faced your challenge before. So in the Masters would that type thing be cultural studies/history or more lit. focused?

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    4. It’s an interdisciplinary masters so it covers all those areas, bit of archaeology too I think. It depends on what modules you pick and where you decide to do the second year (the first year is in Iceland, the second year you get to pick either Norway or Denmark and they’ve specialise in different areas).
      I think after four years of English lit, I’m just a bit bored of it. I like the idea of an interdisciplinary masters. Mix things up a bit.

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    5. Yeh sounds really interesting! I am thinking of doing a masters (this won’t be for a couple of years) but I do want to do something different to my degree for sure.

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    6. Ya, don’t think I could handle a masters that was straight English lit. Still, it’ll be another few year likely before I’ll be doing the masters, unless I stumble across an abandoned bag with a hell of a lot of money in it. So who knows what I’ll end up studying!

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