Skern

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

I took you at your word, Susan Smith, and am continuing these posts in the hope that their randomness will interest different supporters at different times. So look away now, anyone who hates etymology.

Today, I was looking for something else entirely in an old diary and came across this, written in the notes section. It's some Old Norse words I looked up when I was proposing to have some sort of twin spirit for Bera. I've already mentioned Drorgher for Draugr, in the lullaby Shed post and more usually that recognisable substitution is what I've done. But the O.N. word fylgja is sometimes used instead of flaga, a word for placenta, and I liked the idea of being twins in the womb then being forcibly separated at birth so that normal folk only see their fylja at the point of death, when they cleave together once more. (Unlike Philip Pullman's daemons, which change until puberty. One day I'll ask him if he knows about a fylgja.) So I began thinking of a word derived from kernel, kern, and then adding the s because many words beginning sk are Viking: sky, skirt, skin. So ... skern, who sprang onto the page as feckless, knowing and camp. But you'll have to wait and see how I use it in the book!

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Comments

Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins says:

I was wondering where 'skern' came from which I think I last came across in your post 'Twitten'. Certainly couldn't find it in any of my dictionarys, the closest being 'sker' or 'skirr'of Scottish derivation.
Had a pretty good idea of the meaning but greatly look forward to learning more when I read the book. As Susan said earlier it's a tease!
Andy.

August 19, 2015

Suzie Wilde
Suzie Wilde says:

And kern does exist, so I didn't want to send people off with a Scottish Play red herring!

August 20, 2015

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