& Tornado Alley
into the Runic Alphabet
The alphabet of the runes was created by some Germanic tribe, probably the Goth, and was used for simple inscriptions. It was widely used over nothern Europe. For an example from Britain see the Runic Inscription on the Franks Casket.
The creators of the runes borrowed the idea of writing from the Romans by not the actually letters. Because the letters were used for inscriptions they had to be angular and simple. The runic alphabet was called the futhark after the names of the first five letters (just as the Greek alphabet was named for its first two letters and American often refer to the alphabet as the ABC's). Here is a listing in their traditional order.
However, for the transliteration of English into Runes the correspondences have to be directed the other way.
|The Runic Letters and Their
Correspondences to Latin Letters
Although the futhark originated under primitive conditions and was used only for primitive inscriptions it contains generally enough phonemes to represent modern text. Consider this example which is the first few lines of Robert Service's poem The Cremation of Sam McGee.
The northern lights have seen strange sights but the strangest they ever did see was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge when I cremated Sam McGee.
Transliterated into the Runic alphabet this would be:
It is not perfect because there are no Runic equivalents for some of the sounds and letters of English, such as the ubiquitous uh phoneme (sound) of English. Neither are there any letters or letter combinations corresponding to the ch and sh sounds of English. Nevertheless a reasonable approximation can be made.
The rule for the transliteration of English "c" into the Runic alphabet is that when it is followed by "a", "o", "u", "r" or "l" it becomes has the k sound which in Runes is represented as . Also at the end of a word it has the sound of "k". If "c" is followed by "e", "i", or "y" it has the sound of "s" which in the Runic alphabet is .
If "t" is followed by "h" then it becomes in Runes. The English "gh" is a nuisance and in the transliterations here the "gh" is simply expressed as
The English "y" is an "i" sound or an ai after a consonant and a yuh sound otherwise as in year or boy. It is a fairly complex algorithm.
The dilemma is what to do about the English "ch" (as in church) and "sh" (as in shed or shish-kabob). There is no good resolution of the problem. The "sh" sound is represented as and the "ch" sound is reprsented as "tsh"; i.e., .
(To be continued.)
Here is a transliteration of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address into Runic letters.
, , , . , , , . - . , . . , , -- -- -- . , , , , . , , . , , . -- -- -- , , -- , , , .
(To be continued.)
HOME PAGE OF Thayer Watkins