Icelandic: I kick the fragility away

< Previous | Next >

abarrie

New Member
English - Canada
Hi there, I don't know anyone who speaks Icelandic and English but Im hoping someone who does will see this! I'm getting a tattoo from Sigur Ros's "Svefn-g-englar" and I was hoping to get the line "I kick the fragility away". I would like the tattoo to be written in Icelandic and translate as "kick the fragility away". I think that phrase in Icelandic is in this line "Brot (hættan) sparka frá mér (og kall á)
Ég verð að fara (hjálp) " - I just want to make sure I'm getting the right translation. Please help!! :)
 
  • klandri

    Member
    Icelandic
    Sigur Rós famously makes strange lyrics. Fragility in Icelandic is just Brothætta, the brackets in the lyrics just indicate a secondary voice singing it. "Og kall á - Ég verð að fara, hjálp" is unrelated to the sentence you're trying to translate. The phrase would translate to "(Ég) brothættunni sparka frá mér". The difference between this and the quoted lyrics (brothættunni vs brothættan) are because Sigur Rós for some reason doesn't conjugate properly so the original lyrics don't make much sense in Icelandic.

    However brothætta is generally only applied to objects and does not have the same connotations for vulnerability or sensitivity in people as in English. The word that fits better is viðkvæmni which in the sentence would be "(Ég) viðkvæmninni sparka frá mér". And this is nonstandard word order (presumably) to fit the song better so the more common way to say it would be "Ég sparka viðkvæmninni frá mér" but Icelandic has a pretty free sentence structure so in poetry you can use almost any order you like.

    Whether you rather want a more coherent sentence in Icelandic or the more accurate lyrics is of course up to you.
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    The difference between this and the quoted lyrics (brothættunni vs brothættan) are because Sigur Rós for some reason doesn't conjugate properly so the original lyrics don't make much sense in Icelandic.
    I don't know who transcribed the lyrics, but this is a misunderstanding. Sigur Rós do write unusal lyrics, but they do not write bad grammar. The lyrics run as follows (some of the words are difficult to make out, but I think this is it):

    en biðin gerir mig [leiðan] brot[hættan] ég fer að sparka frá mér [og kalla á] ég verð að fara [hjálp]
    (The words in brackets are those sung by voices other than Jónsi's.)​

    This reasonably parses as follows: En biðin gerir mig leiðan, brothættan. Ég fer að sparka frá mér (og kalla á hjálp). Ég verð að fara.

    Rough translation: “But the wait gets me down, makes me fragile. I start to kick my feet (and cry for help). I need to leave.”
    (The words in brackets form a separate sentence which, as sung, is cut in two by the sentence ég verð að fara.)

    EDIT: I should have explained the following ambiguity: Taken in isolation, the form brothættan can be either the nominative singular of the noun brothætta , “fragility” (the -n being the suffixed definitive article), or the accusative singular masculine of the adjective brothættur, “fragile”.
     
    Last edited:

    klandri

    Member
    Icelandic
    That makes sense. I was following the English translation he provided which turns out to be just flat out wrong (or an attempt to keep the poetic form in English?) leading to my misunderstanding of the lyrics.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top