Monday, 4 February 2013

ඩේවිඩ් කොපර්fපීල්ඩ්

This photo of a Sinhala poster was posted on Language Log, where I left some comments, some useful and a few not so useful. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Anyway, have a look at the vertical line in the second word that looks like a Roman lowercase f.

It looks like f because it is f!

One of the ways Sinhala used to represent /f/ in English words was fප - a Roman f followed by ප (pa). So I think the text is ඩේවිඩ් කොපර්fපීල්ඩ් ḍēviḍ koparfīlḍ "David Copperfield". Here is the title in a more traditional typeface:

The author is චාල්ස් ඩිකන්ස්ගේ cāls ḍikansgē - I assume -gē is a genitive suffix.

And Sinhala used to do something similar to represent /z/: zස. If anyone has any more examples of zස or fප (photos of books, signs etc), I'd love to see them.

1 comment :

Glen Gordon said...

Interesting. Similarly Etruscans had taken their symbol for the sound 'f', which looked exactly like a number 8, from the Lydians millennia ago. History repeats.