Saturday, 28 November 2015


My problem with the character of Ashildr is a very small one.

She pronounces her name wrong.

She's a viking, and she says /əʃildə/ but this can't be right because Old Norse doesn't have /ʃ/.*

It should be something more like /ɑːshildə/. If you don't know IPA, think "oss-heelder" instead of "a-shielder".

According to a few sites Áshildr is composed of Old Norse áss "god" and hildr "battle". Old Norse áss is cognate with Old English ōs "god" as in Ōsweald "god's power", modern Oswald.

The Radio Times has a bit to say about the name.

*I could be wrong about this. But even if Old Norse does have /ʃ/, it is not represented by the spelling <sh>.

Monday, 23 November 2015

sleep no more

I'm one of the four people who enjoyed Sleep No More, Mark Gatiss's weird and scary story set in a world where India and Japan have combined forces. The writing on the walls, flags and screens is a clever mix of Indic and Japanese characters.

Click to embiggen:

This looks like पाॅ

Some of these look like Devanagari and some look like kanji.

This looks upside down to me, even though it's made up.

Devanagari क with a kanji-like box, and Japanese は with a Devanagari-like horizontal line.

These characters are completely fabricated; I don't think they're based on anything real.

This is straight-up Devanagari: ऋ झ