The Icelandic Hot Tub
25 Tuesday Jun 2013
Written by Mark in Icelandic
In Icelandic culture the hot tub is a place to come together for social interaction and discussion, not unlike the pubs in England, the cafes of France or the saunas in Finland, according to a specialist on hot tub culture.
The link also contains an audio clip from the morning radio show with the interview. It’s about 13 minutes long, but sometimes knowing the topic under discussion makes it easier to pick out words and phrases, so give it a listen
The hot tub
Heiti potturinn er vinsælasti samkomustaður landsins; pottamenningu Íslendinga má bera saman við ensku pöbbana, frönsku kaffihúsin og finnsku gufuböðin. Þar hittist fólk og ræðir málin á jafnréttisgrundvelli.
The hot tub is Iceland’s most popular meeting place; Icelandic hot tub culture can be compared with the English pubs, French cafes and Finnish saunas. People meet there and discuss various topics on equal footing.
The prefix samkomu- usually adds the meaning of coming together in some way, as in samkomu·lag (agreement, deal), samkomu·hús (community center) or samkomu·salur (assembly hall).
Örn Daníel Jónsson er sérfræðingur um heitt vatn og heita potta. Hann ræddi um pottamenningu í Morgunútvarpinu á Rás 2 og sagði m.a. frá því að ríflega helmingur þeirra sem sækir sundstaði fer einungis í pottinn. Þar gilda mjög strangar, óskráðar siðareglur. Elsti heiti pottur landsins, ef undan er skilin Snorralaug, er í Vesturbæjarlauginni. Það var Gísli Halldórsson sem hannaði pottinn með Snorrralaug sem fyrirmynd, en pottarnir eru nákvæmlega jafnstórir að ummáli.
Orn Daniel Jonsson is an expert on hot springs and hot tubs. He discussed hot tub culture on the morning show on channel 2 and said among other things that a good half of those who visit swimming pools only go into the hot tub. There very strict, unwritten rules of conduct are observed. The oldest hot tub in the country, with the exception of Snorralaug, is in the Vesturbaejarlaug swimming pool. It was Gisli Halldorsson who designed the tub, with Snorralaug as a model, but the tubs are exactly the same size in circumference.
I’m not sure if “hot springs” is correct, but being a specialist in “hot water” didn’t sound right in English. I’m guessing it means naturally occurring hot water? The word vatn can also refer to lakes I believe.
In case you haven’t seen it before, the abbreviation m.a. stands for meðal annars – among other things.
There was one notable phrase – ef undan er skilin – which comes from the expression að skilja undan, to make an exception. In this case it’s the participle being used as an adjective, but the word order might be confusing at first. You will also find the verb að undanskilja – to exclude, except.
sam·koma (f) gathering, assembly að bera saman to compare gufu·bað (n) steam bath, sauna jafn·rétti (n) equality grundvöllur (m) basis, foundation einungis adv only, merely strangur adj strict ó·skráður adj unwritten skilja undan to make an exception, exclude fyrir·mynd (f) model um·mál (n) circumference