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Showing posts from August, 2017

Icelandic and English Language Use in Iceland

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Icelandic is a beautiful language, and it's amazing to learn it hasn't changed too much from the Old Norse spoken by Vikings. Icelandic is also, however, an incredibly difficult language to learn.

While other languages descended from Old Norse like Swedish and Norwegian have evolved and simplified greatly, Icelandic retains a complex grammar that's very tough for most English speakers to wrap their minds around. Icelandic verbs are conjugated for tense, mood, person, number, and voice, and then nouns are inflected for gender, number, and case. In other words, we English speakers generally expect verbs to change very little (we change, it changes) and we expect nouns to always stay the same (save for a simple -s for most plurals and -'s for possessives). In Icelandic, those words are constantly shifting, and they do so in a multitude of often-irregular ways.

Given these daunting difficulties, it's understandable if any prospective visitor to Iceland gets a little wo…

Rename Schoenbar Middle School

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John Shoenbar never deserved to have a school named after him.

Back in January I went to the Ketchikan City Council and proposed that Ketchikan's flag should be revised or replaced. Now I'd like to offer up another suggestion for the community that no one will probably pay any attention: Schoenbar Middle School should change its name.

There are only two schools in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District named after people—Houghtaling Elementary School and Schoenbar Middle School. Houghtaling was opened in 1961 and named after longtime school board member and local education supporter Bert Houghtaling. The middle school’s name was selected a few years later in 1964. According June Allen, the name Schoenbar was chosen because, ironically, the decision makers at the time did not want to name another school after a person—so they named it after its location on Schoenbar Road.

Naming the middle school after Schoenbar Road, however, effectively named it after John Shoenbar.

Thi…