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Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


( also futhork ) The runic alphabet used for writing various Germanic languages including proto-Nordic, the Scandinavian parent language, and Old English. The name fupark (futhark) consists of the first six letters of the early alphabet of 24 letters dating from the second century ce ( table 7 ). In the wake of Christianization the Latin alphabet spread through Scandinavia and the British Isles, superseding the runes. However, for folk literacy the futhark continued to be used until the seventeenth century, though in reduced form with just 16 letters. The origin of the futhark is not well documented, but the symbols are clearly related to the etruscan alphabet and the latin alphabet . The individual runic letters have names chosen in accordance with the acrophonic principle . The initial sounds of the Old Nordic names were the sound values of the runes they denoted: fehu ‘wealth’, ūruz ‘aurochs’, purisaz ‘giant’, ansuz ‘(?)month’, raidō ‘ride’, kaunan ‘torch’ etc. A conspicuous graphic feature of the futhark symbols is that they consist almost exclusively of straight lines, which made them easy to scratch and carve in stone, wood, bone and metal. Table 7 The older futhark See also rune . Reading Elliott 1971. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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