Friday, December 2, 2005

Some Futhark for your Friday

Stumbled across this recently:

An English Dictionary of Runic Inscriptions in the Younger Futhark

Briefly, "futhark", from the first 6 runes--for f, u, th, a, r, k--is like "alphabet" from alpha + beta. (The th-sounds had their own letter: þ) The Younger Futhark are distinguished from the Elder Futhark by being a) a smaller set of letters (16, to the 24 Elder) and b) used for Old Norse, while the Elder Futhark inscriptions tend to be in a Proto-Norse language or dialect of proto-Germanic. They are also distinguished from the Anglo-Saxon set of runes, the Futhorc (the 4th rune is O not A), which number as many as 33. See also Wikipedia's main page on runes.

From the Description page comes this piece of information, which I guess I never realized and surprised me:

There are approximately 6,000 inscriptions in the younger futhark produced between AD 750-1500 in Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland, and the North Atlantic islands. The language of these inscriptions is the earliest recorded form of Old Norse, yet their evidence for Old Norse vocabulary has not been incorporated into the standard dictionaries of that language.

So, in the words of Uncle Argyle, that is something we shall have to remedy, isn't it?

(Also a surprise: I just noticed that Uncle Argyle played William Stryker in X-2.)

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