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>.


scotminusT said...

That's interesting, John. Whenever I hear the a-shielder pronounciation it always sounds very odd to my ear. Almost as if it's an anagram. I had no knowledge of the proper pronounciation,
But wish now that they had used it.

David Marjanović said...

Obviously Old Norse wasn't non-rhotic either! The Icelandic [r] is the same as those of Italian, Finnish and Bavarian (not Swiss German, Spanish or Slavic).

And I really don't think á was already a rounded vowel. That would have made for a very crowded system.

goofy said...

I think you're right about the vowel.
I left out the rhotic stuff because I didn't want to get too confusing.