Talk:Anglo-Saxon runes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


"Another holds that runes were introduced by Scandinavians to England where the fuþorc was modified and exported to Frisia."

I've never heard of this theory. The first Anglo-Saxon Runic incriptions are from the 5th century, and the Scandanavians didn't arrive in Britian untill the late 8th century, so I can't see how they could have introduced something that was already there before them. Also, since the Anglo-Saxons came from Frisia, it makes sense that the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc travelled with them, going from Frisia to England rather than vice versa. If noone says anything I'm going to change it.

go right ahead! dab () 10:12, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree. The Anglo-Saxons were a motley crew, and it is not reasonable to assume that there we no Scandinavians arriving in Britain. The source Beowulf and the archaeological site Sutton Hoo show otherwise, and the Jutes are actually thought to have came from Scandinavia.--Wiglaf 10:53, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

The Angles/Engla were from Scandinavia also, predominately Jutland, The Danish Islands and possibly part of southern Sweden. Sigurd Dragon Slayer (talk) 10:26, 10 May 2008 (UTC)


Should the "are" in "The Anglo-Saxon Futhorc are a runic alphabet, extended from the Elder Futhark, consisting of..." be changed to "is"? I don't know much about the field but it seems incorrect to me. If not, it should probably say something about it in the talk page. Dinosaurdarrell 08:47, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Special characters[edit]

The Special Characters link doesn't work, and if the runes don't display, the article is useless. Might I suggest we make a small image file for each rune, put it on the commons, and use it wherever needed? Adam Cuerden 12:34, 27 Feb 2006 (GMT)

Image test[edit]

cut from article dab () 14:27, 27 February 2006 (UTC)







(remember to put them in commons:Category:Runic letters)

Sorry about that - In any case, they're added to the article now. And now I get to take my best guess as to where the letrters should go int hat AWFUL bit of useless nonsense that ends the article. I THINK I can get it right, but someone should problably check it - all the runes are replaced with ?'s, which isn't actually any help whatsoever. [Ah, well. Would you believe that before this edit some of the letters could *never* be displayed, because they were put into the file as " unicode|? " ? At least they're displayed now.

However, I'm not sure how to put them into Commons.

Adam Cuerden 27 Feb 2006

Rune-Feoh.png Rune-Ur.png Rune-Thorn.png Rune-Os.png Rune-Rad.png Rune-Cen.png Rune-Gyfu.png Rune-Wynn.png Rune-Hægl.png Rune-Nyd.png Rune-Is.png Rune-Ger.png Rune-Eoh.png Rune-Peorð.png Rune-Eolh.png Rune-Sigel.png Rune-Tir.png Rune-Beorc.png Rune-Eh.png Rune-Mann.png Rune-Lagu.png Rune-Ing.png Rune-Eðel.png Rune-Dæg.png Rune-Ac.png Rune-Æsc.png Rune-Yr.png Rune-Ior.png Rune-Ear.png Rune-Cweorð.png Rune-calc.png Rune-DoubleCalc.png Rune-Stan.png Rune-Gar.png

thanks for the crops, I was going to do that some time but haven't gotten round to it. Categorization: Just add [[Category:Runic letters]] to the image page on commons. I don't know what you mean that the "letters could never be displayed". They display alright on my browser. You realize, of course, that it is just your browser/font configuration (persumably MSIE) that doesn't display the runes properly, while their encoding is entirely correct. dab () 15:25, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

the advantage of the Unicode glyphs is that they are machine-readable, copy-pastable, and scale and anti-alias properly with the text display. The advantage of the images is that we are certain everybody sees the exact same shape. A compromise could be showing both, along the lines of
  • Rune-Feoh.pngfeoh "wealth" f
but here, some people will see the same rune twice, while others see the image plus a question mark or a square. an alternative compromise could be
with the unicode glyph as mouseover image caption. The image displays the same for everybody, and the glyph is still copy-pastable. dab () 15:59, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I was going to put in the Unicode letters as a mouse-over.... but didn't know how... I'm afraid I'm a bit new to this type of wiki. (By the way, I'm afraid I've also been mucking with the Thames scramasax page. I do hope I'm not being too stupid....) Adam Cuerden 16:05, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Futhorc order[edit]

There are some severe problems with this article. For instance:

The letter sequence, and indeed the letter inventory is not fixed. Compared to the letters of the rune poem given above,

f u þ o r c ȝ w h n i j eo p x s t b e m l ŋ œ d a æ y io ea

the Thames scramasax has 28 letters, with a slightly different order of the last nine, and edhel missing:

f u þ o r c ȝ w h n i io eo p x s t b e ŋ d l m j a æ y ea

You will note that the text doesn't quite relate to the description given. Adam Cuerden 14:47, 27 Feb 2006

what's the problem here? You mean we should add "and the positions of j and io inverted"? dab () 15:41, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Aye. Little incongruities like that make one a bit worried about whether things are accurate. (though a little Wiki-browsing has convinced me that that's probably the right list, particularly the relevant image.) Adam Cuerden 17:28, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Cotton Domitian A.ix[edit]

I have reluctantly moved this section out. As currently written, this is absolutely useless, and unless I'm able to find the manuscript so I can fix it, there's no point having it in.:

In the manuscript, the runes are arranged in three rows, glossed with Latin equivalents below (in the third row above) and with their names above (in the third row below). The manuscript has traces of corrections by a 16th century hand, inverting the position of m and d. Eolh is mistakenly labelled as sigel, and in place of sigel, there is a kaun like letter ᚴ, corrected to proper sigel ᛋ above it. Eoh is mis-labelled as eþel. Apart from ing and ear, all rune names are due to the later scribe, identified as Robert Talbot (died 1558).

feoh ur þorn os rað cen gifu wen hegel neað inc geu{a}r sigel peorð ᛋ sig
f u ð o r c g uu h n i ge eo p x s
tir berc eþel deg lagu mann ᛙ pro ac ælc yr
t b e m{d} l ing ð{m} œ a æ y ear
ior cweorð calc stan ear

- Adam Cuerden 27 Feb 2006

what do you mean, "useless"? It's a transcription of one of the very few manuscript sources for the futhorc order, I daresay it is extermely relevant. dab () 15:46, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry! Was being stupid - since in the first section all the codes were written in the form &####; , I presumed that the question marks I was seeing meant that no Unicode existed for them. Still, I'm using Firefox (admittedly on a system that crashed recently and had Windows XP installed by the Repairman possibly sans a few desirable features) and not seeing them, so it might be wise to add to the special characters link such places that an appropriate font could be acquired. Adam Cuerden 15:59, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

- I have, of course, now restored this Adam Cuerden 16:10, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

well, I admit it could do with a better explanation. And I also admit that at this point most readers will not get the runes rendered on their system. But my position is that we are not working on this article just for use in March 2006. I hope that most systems will render these characters out of the box soon enough, and then the article will already be in place. At the moment, most people will have to bother installing an extra font to see the unicode runes. But the important thing is that the unicode standard exists and our encoding is correct. The browsers will get there... dab () 16:18, 27 February 2006 (UTC)


Note that we are using ȝ for gyfu throughout to disambiguate it from gar g. In series that do not feature gar, it would be more natural to transcribe gyfu as g, but that would lead to a different transcription of the same rune, depending on whether gar is present, which would be more confusing than just sticking to the convention throughout. The point is that gyfu was [g] in 500, but [j] in 850, with gar re-introducing the value [g]. dab () 15:46, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Should we really be using j for gar, then? Since it never had that sound? Adam Cuerden 17:31, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

what? no, gar is always [g] and should be transliterated as g. gyfu may be [g] or [j], while ger is always [j] and should be transliterated as j. dab () 19:16, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Ah, yes. Sorry. was half-asleep and misread. Really shouldn't be wikiing with a cold. Adam Cuerden 02:29, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Would it be possible to incorperate the tranliterations/transcriptions 'c,ċ' and 'g,ġ' for ċen and ġifu, respectively? This seems to be the emerging standard among contemporary OE grammarians (Mitchell/Robinson; Obst/Schleburg; Hasenfratz/Jambeck; etc.). Varoon Arya 22:59, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Futhorc vs. futhorc[edit]

In my opinion, it should either be "Futhorc", as a proper noun, or fuþorc, as a foreign word, but not "futhorc" as if it was a common English noun. --dab (𒁳) 13:43, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

there appears to be an 1851 attestation of that, so, ok. [1]
but, is "Anglo-Saxon futhorc" a tautology? "the futhorc" is equivalent to "the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet". Perhaps a better title would be simply Anglo-Saxon runes?
Find sources: "Anglo-Saxon futhorc" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
Find sources: "Anglo-Saxon runes" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
--dab (𒁳) 13:47, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
A lot of these names are inconsistent with caps in Wikipedia ("runes" vs "Runes", etc.), and I've been trying to get some regularity. "Anglo-Saxon runes" would be just fine, IMO, but I'll leave that to someone who spends more time on these articles. kwami (talk) 18:00, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I think we ought to maintain "runes" (without the capitalization) and go with "Anglo-Saxon runes" as the title for the article, since we have the option. I am sure people unfamiliar with this subject matter would particularly appreciate it. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:22, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Why would they? The article should explain it all in the first paragraph anyway. Srnec (talk) 00:16, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Oops - didn't notice this response until now. Discussion continues below. :bloodofox: (talk) 01:50, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus to support move. JPG-GR (talk) 00:26, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Anglo-Saxon runesFuthorc — Simplicity, elegance, and synonymy. "Anglo-Saxon runes" are the letters of an alphabet called Futhorc that this article discusses. —Srnec (talk) 05:12, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

"Anglo-Saxon runes," "Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet," or, simply, "Futhorc" (after the first six letters) are commonly used to describe this particular runic alphabet - none of them are "official" and all see common usage by scholars and non-scholars alike. This debate is to decide whether to name the article "Futhorc" instead of "Anglo-Saxon runes". :bloodofox: (talk) 01:30, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Weak oppose until more evidence is provided to show common usage. Narson (talk) 21:59, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
See #Futhorc vs. futhorc for Google evidence of common usage. Srnec (talk) 23:00, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree that "Futhorc" has common name problems, as well as ambiguity problems. "Anglo-Saxon runes" is a clearer and more precise description of what this article is. This clearly differentiates the runes as used by the Anglo-Saxons from other runic alphabets, most of which are known by names like "Futhark", "Fuþark", "Futhorc", etc. Hope this helps! Wilhelm meis (talk) 23:45, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I was under the impression that "Futhorc" was unambiguously the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet. Are you telling me otherwise? Also, a title is not meant solely to be descriptive. We could move Greek alphabet to Greek letters, which I regard as comparable to the current situation here. I hope that helps explain why I said '"Anglo-Saxon runes" are the letters of an alphabet called Futhorc that this article discusses'. Srnec (talk) 23:00, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Although "Futhorc" correctly refers only to Anglo-Saxon runes, my point is that "Futhorc" is near enough to other runic alphabet names (e.g. "Fuþark") that it is not unambiguous to the uninitiated. Furthermore, "Futhorc" is not a descriptive name but rather a sort of nickname taken from the first six runes in the alphabet. While descriptiveness is not necessarily a requirement of naming policy, a name that describes the subject of the article unambiguously (to the average person, not to an expert) is preferable to an arbitrarily chosen name or a name based on jargon. Wilhelm meis (talk) 23:37, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
But the suggested location is neither arbitrarily chosen nor jargonistic. The "average person" is not expected to learn anything from the title of an article alone. If one is completely ignorant about Erlembald, there is nothing one can learn about him by reading "Erlembald". Srnec (talk) 00:15, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as someone unfamiliar with Anglo-Saxon, I did not know the word "Futhark". I did know "Anglo-Saxon runes", and I believe that, with no evidence to the contrary, this is a more plausible search term and title. I also agree with Wilhelm meis. PeterSymonds (talk) 07:10, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
This is not about the word "Futhark", rather "Futhorc". By "know 'Anglo-Saxon runes'" you mean that you know what "Anglo-Saxon" means and what "runes" are and can put two together, correct? I also do not know why it is relevant the issue of "plausible search term", since searching for either at Google yields the WP article at the top (or very near). Srnec (talk) 23:00, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Futhorc is a very uncommon word. How could anybody who doesn't read the dictionary every moment of his/her life or know a huge amount about foreign writing systems know the meaning of this word? Wikipedia is a website for people who don't know much about what they're looking up. Otherwise, why would they be looking it up? "Rune" is a more common word for letters of an alphabet. Danielaustinhall12 (Go Wolverines!) 00:20, 3 June 2008 (UTC}
"Wikipedia is a website for people who don't know much about what they're looking up." Exactly, so why should we expect them to know the meaning of the title? Aren't they supposed to read the article? I fail to see your objection. Srnec (talk)
  • Oppose. Both terms are used commonly (neither are "official") but "Anglo-Saxon runes" is just more straightforward. :bloodofox: (talk) 01:29, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Could be argued otherwise. Are "Anglo-Saxon runes" a distinct alphabet, a distinct script (for the same alphabet), are they the runes used by the Anglo-Saxons irrespective of what language they are writing in, or are they the runes used to write Old English irrespective of who's doing the writing? Srnec (talk) 00:15, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that the name would insinuate that they're the specific runic alphabet attributed to the Anglo-Saxons and nothing more. Even more specifically, we could call this the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet, which I would suggest. If we had the basis, it'd be the same situation with the Gothic runic alphabet. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:34, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
We have Gothic runic inscriptions, Elder Futhark, and Younger Futhark as of now. Srnec (talk) 00:47, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I am aware - I am talking about a hypothetical specifically Gothic runic alphabet in comparison to the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet as it'd be the same situation. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:53, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Except that the Anglo-Saxon one is not hypothetical, rather it is a named entity: Futhorc. Srnec (talk) 01:09, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
It's sometimes referred to as "Futhorc", yes, but also commonly referred to as "Anglo-Saxon runes" - thus the debate. :bloodofox: (talk) 01:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I know. Perhaps it would help if you could rephrase this debate for me, since it seems that we disagree only on the best way to present information to the reader. I don't know about the other "voters". (I hate polling.) Srnec (talk) 01:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure, no problem. :bloodofox: (talk) 01:30, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose rename -- "Futhorc" is easily confusable, "Anglo-Saxon runes" isn't (and provides context to those who wouldn't have any idea what a "futhorc" is...). AnonMoos (talk) 20:21, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

Although "futhorc" does match other similar uses at Wikipedia (e.g., Elder Futhark), it appears from the Google Books results in the discussion above that "Anglo-Saxon runes" is used more frequently in the literature. Is there additional evidence or argument for the move other than simplicity or elegance? WP:COMMONNAME would seem to have some relevance here. — AjaxSmack 08:52, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the issue of "common usage" is not clear cut, but from nothing more than a quick glance I can say that I am not confident the Google (books and scholar) results are a good snapshot of scholarly practice. Firstly, the correct searches would be for just "futhorc" versus "Anglo-Saxon runes". When that is done, the hit counts are closer. Secondly, I am not sure all the hits are type we want, since runes appear to be of interest to student of neopaganism and related phenomena. Srnec (talk) 23:00, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Futhorc is a bit ambiguous, as futhork with a k refers to the post-Viking Age medieval Scandinavian runes.--Berig (talk) 05:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying that "Futhorc" is ambiguous or not? There is no such thing, to my mind, as "a bit ambiguous" except to those who just don't know. Srnec (talk) 04:50, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I am just saying that "futhorc" is very similar in form to "futhork". I will soon write an aticle on medieval Scandinavian runes, but I won't name it "futhork" since I think "medieval Scandinavian runes" is a more transparent name and "futhork" can be confused with "futhorc".--Berig (talk) 06:12, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Don't we already have articles on medieval Scandinavian runes? Srnec (talk) 04:54, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Now, we have a main article.--Berig (talk) 15:53, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Additional pronunciation references[edit]

I'm lazy. Can we put additional bits next to the runes that say things like, "a as in cat," so I don't have to make a project with a timeline out of deciphering the IPA notation? Thanks.

Fonesurj (talk) 00:48, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

I've done basically this using the IPAc-en template. - stvltvs (talk) 05:27, 16 September 2012 (UTC)


By the way, that rune was probably originally intended to write one of the early Anglo-Frisian nasalized vowel sounds which originated from the loss of "n" between a vowel and þ or s... AnonMoos (talk) 01:39, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Franks Casket and Tolkien runes[edit]

Characters from this proposal have been accepted for ballotting. -- Evertype· 01:17, 15 February 2012 (UTC)


The IPA column in the table is only about one third complete. Is there any chance of getting it finished off? JIMp talk·cont 06:06, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Filled in a few more; however, the phonetic meaning of the "fracture diphthong" orthographies (ea, eo, io, ie) has been rather disputed over the last 50-60 years, and the sound values of some of the others depend on context and/or historical period. For example, the g-rune originally represented [g] and [ɣ] allophones, then both developed palatalized allophones [gʲ] and [ɣʲ] ([gʲ] only occurring as part of a doubled/geminated consonant [gʲgʲ], or occasionally after a nasal [ŋʲgʲ]). Then [ɣʲ] merged with [j], [gʲgʲ] eventually became [dʒ] or [ddʒ], some unpalatalized [ɣ] hardened to [g] (especially at the beginnings of words), while [ɣ] which did not harden to [g] eventually merged with [w] (unless it had been devoiced to [x] at the end of a word), etc. etc... AnonMoos (talk) 09:43, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, a simple one-to-one relation would be too much to hope for (couldn't even manage that for modern English in the Latin alphabet). Perhaps a footnote section could be added to the table to allow for such details. JIMp talk·cont 04:03, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

sc digraph[edit]

I am intrigued by the lack of a rune for the sc digraph (written sh nowadays). The runes cover most sounds, including non-Latin ones, except this one. Is there a reason why and other other arbitrary digraphs? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:28, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

When the runes were originally invented, the cluster was still [sk]. Even in late Old English, in many cases "sc" after an o or u vowel was still [sk], not [ʃ]... AnonMoos (talk) 20:23, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Complete list possible?[edit]

From the article, it appears that there are a total of 100 good specimens plus 16 less-good specimens of Anglo-Saxon runes. Is this true, or am I mis-understanding the situation? If it is true, it should be mentioned in the lede. This is small and well-bounded set. It should be possible to include transcriptions of all of the specimens in this article. -Arch dude (talk) 00:04, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

See "Inscription corpus" section in article. Transcriptions of all inscriptions would be something more for Wikisource than Wikipedia... AnonMoos (talk) 07:17, 28 January 2013 (UTC)