Item: Íslensk Orðabók (Icelandic Dictionary)

Many moons ago, Svava met a boy, fell in love and followed him to England. The relationship didn’t last but it changed the course of her life completely and, ten years later, she’s still here…

Svava teaches Icelandic at University College London and also online. The Icelandic language is her most important connection with Iceland (apart from her family and friends!) and she feels nothing characterises her more as an Icelander than her mother tongue. “The language can reveal so much about our history, our character and the way we view the world. Ever since I was young I have been asking questions about why we say this and why we say that; where do all these expressions and idioms come from? What’s the story behind them?”

Hence Svava chose to be photographed with an Icelandic Dictionary, one of her many books about the Icelandic language. Her favourite word is vatn (water): “I love the way it sounds.”