Can You Ken? X

Kenning, kenning, whose got the kenning?

…Oh ya, it’s me. 😛

So, me readers dearie, what would a

Feeder of Ravens


Doo-doo doo-doo. Doo-doo doo. Doo-doo doo-doo, doo! Doo doo doo doo doo…

Continue reading “Can You Ken? X”


Ducere, Ministrare, Illuminare

As I mentioned in my Translating Northshield entry, I have been working on translating my kingdom’s group names, and some related major landmarks (like the Great Lakes), into Old Norse. And as promised, I am going to talk a little about my endeavor of translating our kingdom’s motto from Latin into Old Norse.

Ducere, Ministrare, Illuminare

Continue reading “Ducere, Ministrare, Illuminare”

Tattúínárdǿla saga & Dr. Jackson Crawford

An interview came upon my radar the other day which interviewed the eminently cool Dr. Jackson Crawford of the University of Colorado (I may have mentioned in more than one place his YouTube channel and videos at some point) on a project he did eight years ago, the Tattúínárdǿla saga or “the story of the Tattoine river valley”.

That’s right. He adapted Star Wars as an Icelandic Saga.

Now, I had of course heard about this project eight years ago. I was in college at the time, working on my Bachelor’s in Linguistics, and studying Old Norse and Modern Icelandic. I thought it was wicked cool at the time, but had no time to really follow the project because I was working on my Bachelor’s in Linguistics. ;-P So, I never really learnt the name of the person who was working on it.

Until this interview article. And I just stared at it for a moment and went, “Ya. Of course it was Crawford…”

So, now that I am not working on my Bachelor’s, I have been taking the time to read the adaption like I’ve been wanting to. I’ve been a little disappointed with how heavily he is drawing from other sagas in the first few chapters. But, there’s also some cleverness that makes me laugh.

Translating Northshield

So, many a year ago, I was interested in translating all the names of the Kingdoms in the Known World. The project fizzled however and other projects took its place. Then this past year, as part of his elevation to the Order of the Laurel, Maestro Christoforo Alfonso Pallavincino da Firenze presented his translation of all the names of the active groups of Northshield into (modern) Japanese. He also did a translation of the award names.

First of all, this is incredibly cool geeky language goodness. Maestro Christoforo has, since his return to Northshield, been an amazing scribe in Japanese style scrolls. He translates each scroll into kanji, the Chinese characters, which was the writing system used at the Japanese court in period. Second, it has reinvigorated my desire to translate Northshield (& Known World…?) toponyms (place names) into Old Norse, and with his permission, I have utilized the Maestro’s translation groundwork. Completely due to this groundwork, I’m already mostly done with Northshield. There’s a few things I want to research more thoroughly before I present the whole of the work, but until then, I can share some of the smaller details.

The Kingdom of Northshield

The etymology of the kingdom’s name is very transparent in English. North (the direction) + shield (the piece of defensive armor held in the hand. Viking Age shields were typically round, wooden, and painted, though other shapes were seen in the iconography — the Viking Answer Lady goes over shields briefly in her article on heraldry).

For the origin of this name for the region I have consulted both Mistress Rosanore of Redthorn and Master Guttorm Arneson (but any errors are indeed my own). The name, chosen via vote in A.S. 13 according to the Northshield History Page, was ultimately inspired by the great Canadian or Precambrian Shield, which is a geological feature of a large area of Canada, and some of the Midwest around the Great Lakes. The image below is a public domain image found on Wikipedia — the red indicates the Precambrian Shield.For a comparison, here is Northshield’s map.

There is also a heraldic folk etymology for Northshield that I have heard about. In England, the town of South Shields, with a long history of name-changing, has an interesting and misleading etymology, I have been told, which actually lies in the word shieling, a hut constructed for the use of humans on a mountainous pasture while attending grazing animals. (It is quite typical of ancient towns, especially in contested areas, having such complex historic toponyms.) Having the historic precedent of shielings > shields — even with a directional element! — the folk etymology claims that Northshield is the “north shieling”. Of course, Northshield is not truly mountainous at all, though we certainly have a lot of fields (and forests and lakes).

Old Norse does not have such a similarity in its words for shield (skjǫldʀ) and shieling (sætr or setr, or perhaps more properly sætrbúð (also listed under setr)), so any Norse translation could not have such lovely ambiguity. I am also unaware of any Viking Age designation for a geographic shield, so I have translated the kingdom’s name as Norðskjǫldʀ “north-shield”. What is handy about this designation, is that one can (and I certainly have in the past) commandeer the period term skjǫldungaʀ “shielders, Danes” for a term for the folk of Northshield. The reason skjǫldungaʀ is applied to Danes, as I have already written in The Course post, is often cited to a mythological origin story for the Danish royal family. The mythical founder, Skjǫldʀ (known as Sceld Scelding in Beowulf), was found as a baby washed upon shore in a shield, whence he got his name.


Stay tuned for a post about Northshield’s motto, and my attempt at translating it: Ducere, Ministrare, Illuminare.