Friday, October 31, 2008

Rune Names

*Elder Futhark runes in apple wood, yet to be sealed, arranged by Aett.*

from The Rune Primer, by Sweyn Plowright

"We have no record of the names of the Elder Futhark runes. We cannot really be certain they had any. We do, however, have names for the Younger and Anglo-Saxon runes, & the Gothic alphabet. The consistency between these systems leads us to believe that they reflect and preserve much of the tradition of the Elder row.

"Neither can we be certain of the language spoken at the time of the Elder runes. Very few inscriptions survive, and these tend to be too short to reveal much detail about the language. We do know that the common tongue was made up of mutually intelligible dialects across the Germanic tribes. Linguists have reconstructed this "proto-Germanic" language by comparing the various later Germanic languages and applying the principles of linguistic change over time.

"Thus, by looking at the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) and Younger (Old Norse) rune rows and comparing their names and meanings, we can make an educated guess at the most likely Elder Futhark names. Then with a knowledge of the reconstructed proto-Germanic, we can get a fair estimate of the form those names took."

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