This Hússtjórnarskólinn, it vibrates?
September 18, 2008 7:14 PM   Subscribe

What would be the best equivalent of the Icelandic Hússtjórnarskólinn in English?

I'm copyediting an interview with an Icelandic artist. The person who transcribed the interview was Italian. The text I have is in English. I don't know Icelandic.

Anyway, the interviewee mentions that he went to "housewife school." Google has led me to this, which is indeed translated as "housewife school" in some places.

I'd love to use a more familiar term. Technical school? Domestic science academy? What the heck is a Hússtjórnarskólinn?
posted by neroli to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Home Economics? Family and consumer science?
posted by limon at 7:51 PM on September 18, 2008

Ask Kattullus, who speaks Icelandic.
posted by desjardins at 8:29 PM on September 18, 2008

Okay, let's take this apart:

Hús = house
stjórn = command, control, rule, management (stjórnar is the genitive form)
skólinn = the school (the -nn part is the article)
hússtjórn = housekeeping, the management of a household, formed in the same way as bústjórn, which means stewardry.

So, home economics school would be a viable translation though I'd be inclined to go with Housekeeping School or Housekeeping Academy. It used to be known as Húsmæðraskólinn, which literally means Housewife School.
posted by Kattullus at 8:49 PM on September 18, 2008

Great stuff, thanks. All these options are better than what I had--"housewife school" just sounded dopey, particularly when associated with a male artist.

If anybody stumbles on this thread who happens to be familiar with the school in question, I'd love to know what they actually teach there, and who typically attends such a place.
posted by neroli at 9:01 PM on September 18, 2008

Well, I didn't go but my mom was sent there back when she was a teen and a friend went there recently. Back in the day you were basically taught all the basic household tasks a housewife was expected to know, ironing, mopping, cooking, knitting, sowing etc. Today you're taught pretty much the same except, y'know, modernized, with more emphasis on creativity and healthiness. Also, now some males go there, but it's rare. The curriculum hasn't been expanded much, for instance students don't learn how to do basic electrical work (e.g. changing plugs). Anyway, that's what that is.
posted by Kattullus at 9:12 PM on September 18, 2008

Wow, interesting--it seems both kind of anachronistic and totally useful (I wish someone had taught me how to mop).

Well, that's where Ragnar Kjartansson (the person in question) went before he attended art school.

Thanks again, Katullus, for all the background.
posted by neroli at 9:28 PM on September 18, 2008

Oh, and if the interview mentions Ragnar Kjartansson's alter ego Rassi Prump the name means Buttie Fart.
posted by Kattullus at 10:30 PM on September 18, 2008

We used to have a schooltype like that, in the Netherlands. Before the great school centralisation swindle, that was. It was called household-school. Or informally: the spinach academy.
posted by ijsbrand at 11:53 PM on September 18, 2008

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