HomeIndexthe runesFuthark : the Runic alphabet

The Futhark or runic alphabet is named after the phonemes of the first six runes, and in its oldest form has 24 symbols divided into three 8-rune Aetts. (aett: clan-group).

futhark

modern representation between the nine sticks of Odin

the futhark

Since the evolution of its oldest system the elder – futhark have evolved and developed other systems of runic alphabets :

  • Scandinavian futhark
  • the short futhark
  • the recent futhark
  • the Anglo-Saxon futhark.

Normally most scholars (and enthusiasts) tend to consider the oldest alphabetic system (elder) because it is considered more intact and free of frills in their meanings.

It should be noted that even today, the subject of strong controversy, it is believed that there are two distinct alphabetic versions in circulation:

  • the first system with the final dagaz rune
rune dagaz finale
dagaz final
  • the second system with the final othala rune
rune othala finale
othala final

 

The two runic systems differ in the position of the last two letters (othala and dagaz) and it is not yet clear whether this difference depends on different cultures, or is linked to purely academic distinctions within different modern Nordic associations.

The Futhark alphabet in the Three Aettyr

 Freya Aett

ff/f/*fehu“Wealth, cattle”
uu/u(ː)/?*ūruz“auroch” (or “ram” “water/scorie””?)
th,þþ/θ/, /ð/?*þurisaz“The God Thor, J’tunn”
aa/a(ː)/*ansuz“Áss (god)”
rr/r/*raidō“Riding, travelling”
kk/k/?*kaunan“ulcera”? (or “kenaz” “torch”??)
gg/g/*gebō“gift”
ww/w/*wunjō“joy”

 

Heimdall Aett

h hh/h/*hagalaz“Hail”
nn/n/*naudiz“Need”
ii/i(ː)/*īsaz“Ice”
jj/j/*jēra-“Year, happy year, harvest””
ï,ei
ï (o æ)
/æː/(?)*ī(h)waz/*ei(h)wazbadger
pp/p/?*perþ-uncertain meaning, perhaps “pear”.
zz/z/?*algizuncertain, maybe “moos”.
s ss/s/*sōwilō“Sun”

 Tyr Aett

tt/t/*tīwaz/*teiwaz“the God Tiwaz”
bb/b/*berkanan“Birch”
ee/e(ː)/*ehwaz“Horse”
mm/m/*mannaz“Man”
ll/l/*laguz“water, lake” (or maybe “laukaz” “porro”)
ŋ ŋ ŋŋ/ŋ/*ingwaz“the God Ingwaz”
oo/o(ː)/*ōþila-/*ōþala-“heritage, estate, assets”
dd/d/*dagaz“Day”

 


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