Althingi

With the recent elections in Iceland and upcoming changes in leadership, I thought it would be good to review vocabulary related to political posts that you might encounter while reading Icelandic news. The past week or so has been filled with meetings between Sigmund Davíð Gunnlaugsson, chairman of the Progressive Party and leaders of the other parties which won seats in parliament. It seems most likely that a coalition government will be formed between his party and the Independence Party, headed by Bjarni Benediktsson. There still has been no announcement of the formation of a new government though, and one is not expected before the weekend according to RÚV:

Ný stjórn ekki mynduð fyrr en eftir helgi
No New Government Before Next Week

The title uses the expression fyrr en, which is a common way to say before/until:
fyrr en núna – until now
fyrr en seinna – until later
fyrr en eftir helgi – until next week (after the weekend)

“Fundur Sigmundar Davíðs Gunnlaugssonar formanns Framsóknarflokksins og Bjarna Benediktssonar formanns Sjálfstæðisflokksins um myndun nýrrar ríkisstjórnar stóð enn nú rétt fyrir fréttir. Samkvæmt heimildum fréttastofu funduðu þeir í Reykholti í Biskupstungum. Þar á tengdafaðir Sigmundar Davíðs á hús.”

“A meeting on the formation of a new government between Sigmund Davíð Gunnlaugsson, chairman of the Progressive Party, and Bjarni Benediktsson, chairman of the Independence Party, still stood at the top of the news. According to news sources they met in Biskupstungur in Reykholt, where Sigmund Davíð’s father-in-law has a house.”

að mynda – to form
present past
ég mynda myndaði
þú myndar myndaðir
það myndar myndaði
við myndum mynduðum
þið myndið mynduðuð
þau mynda mynduðu
  
að funda – to hold a meeting
present past
ég funda fundaði
þú fundar fundaðir
það funda fundaði
við fundum funduðum
þið fundið funduðuð
þau funda funduðu

The noun meaning formation or creation is myndun f (-unar,-anir)

“Jóhannes Þór Skúlason aðstoðarmaður Sigmundar Davíðs sagði í samtali við fréttastofu að viðræðurnar gengju ennþá vel og búið væri að ná fram niðurstöðum að hluta en ekki væri hægt að upplýsa neitt frekar á þessu stigi.”

“In a conversation with news services Sigmund Davíð’s assistant Jóhannes Þór Skúlason said that talks were still progressing well and had achieved some partial results, but it wasn’t possible to disclose anything further at this stage.”

This passage is a great example of the use of the subjunctive mood in reported speech. The words gengju and væri are past subjunctive forms of the verbs ganga and vera.

“Meðal annars hefði verið rætt um skiptingu ráðuneyta en engar ákvarðanir verið teknar. Búast má við að stjórnin verði ekki mynduð fyrr en eftir helgi.”

“Among other things discussed was the division of ministries, but no decisions were made. It is expected that the government will not be formed until after the weekend.”

As in most governments there are many ministries/departments, as well as people to head them up. In Icelandic the word for ministry is ráðuneyti, and a minister is a ráðherra:

ráðu·neyti (n) – ministry
singular plural
nom ráðuneyti ráðuneyti
acc ráðuneyti ráðuneyti
dat ráðuneyti ráðuneytum
gen ráðuneytis ráðuneyta
  
ráð·herra (m) – minister
singular plural
nom ráðherra ráðherrar
acc ráðherra ráðherra
dat ráðherra ráðherrum
gen ráðherra ráðherra

By simply prefixing the part of government in question, you form the words for the department and its leader. For example:

utanríkis·ráðherra		foreign minister
utanríkis·ráðuneyti		foreign ministry

A partial list follows. Try breaking down the prefixes to learn where the words derive their meaning from. In the above case, utan is outside or external, while ríki is state or government. So the result is foreign :)

stjórnar·mynd/un f 		formation of a government
for·set/i m (-a,-ar)		president
forsætis·ráðherra m (-,-r)	prime minister, premier
ráð·herra m (-,-r)		minister
for/maður m (-manns,-menn)	chairman, director
þing/maður m (-manns,-menn)	member of parliament
ráðu·neyti n (-s,-)		ministry, department
utanríkis·ráðherra		foreign minister
fjármála·ráðherra		minister of finance
dómsmála·ráðherra		minister of justice
félagsmála·ráðherra		minister of social affairs
innanríkis·ráðherra		minister of home affairs
menntamála·ráðherra		minister of education
samgöngu·ráðherra		minister of transport
sjávarútvegs·ráðherra		minister of fisheries
umhverfis·ráðherra		minister of the environment