Published in Blog in English
Some years ago many people learned to pronounce the Icelandic word "Eyjafjallajökull". This was because ash from an eruption in that glacier-covered volcano caused havoc. For many days air traffic was halted due to possible damages the ash particles could cause to Jet engines and bring even planes down.
The new name ends also on -jökull, meaning glacier, but it begind on Öræfa... How do English speakers come closest to pronuncing the O with the two dots on top?? Easy. Once Björk was asked how she would pronounce her name and she is told to have said: "Its Björk, it rhymes with jerk". Thus, the sound you make just after the "j" in jerk (without the r) is what you are after. You make that sound twice in the word Öræfajökull. Then there are two other sounds to tackle. The icelandic character "æ" is a diphtong and sounds almost precisely like the English pronoun "I" (I love you). Finally, there is an "f", which is pronounced like a "v" in vein. Here you go:
So, why would you learn this word now?
This is the name of a volcano which erupted the last time in 1727 AD and it has been classified as dormant until November this year. Then, the seismographs picked up earthquakes which indicated a new flow of lawa underneath the mountain. It seems obvious that the mountain is preparing itself for an eruption. Noone can predict when it will take place, since there is obviously no seismological data available from the 18th century. So, once again the scientists are observing, collecting data and wait to learn how this mountain behaves.
There is a significant amount of people living in the region of the mountain and a new evacuation plan has been crafted for them. More cannot be done for the time being, well, you can learn how to spell the word and hope that the eruption when (not if) it takes place will not disrupt air traffic for a long time...
Here is a link to the Icelandic Volcano gateway: http://icelandicvolcanos.is/?volcano=ORA