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Rune transcription

So when you (speaking to you who do this, obviously :)) are writing in runes (in English, but in runes), do you do it phonetically or do you go letter by letter (apart from thurisaz for "th" and inguz for "ng", of course)?

If I'm doing it for myself, I'd totally go the phonetic way--but if it's something I need other people to be able to read?

Would you do it differently depending on situation? If so, which situations call for which usage?

I asked Dan, because he's been doing it for years (albeit in a SCA setting rather than a heathen one) and he says he's done it both ways. When he does it phonetically, he tries to consider the etymology of the word. For example, if he's transcribing the "wh" sound in "which", he uses hagalaz-wunjo rather than wunjo-hagalaz. Because that's what it was originally. (And it's what it sounds like.) Presumably if he's writing the "wh" sound in "who" he uses hagalaz alone.

But that can be confusing to a modern reader, even one with a little linguistic background. I asked him how he'd go about trancribing "weave," because regardless of whether you do it phonetically or letter-by letter, you've got wunjo in there twice, for two letter sounds ("w" and "v"). He said he'd (phonetically) spell it wunjo-isa-fehu. Because that's the etymology of the word. The problem there is that a modern person looking at that would read it as "wife" rather than "weave". Perhaps it would be clear from context, but you can't count on that. And yeah, it does reflect the original context of the root, which isn't a bad thing, but I'm thinking of clarity. Maybe that's my tech-writing background coming in, maybe it's not clarity that's the important thing?



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
The Scandinvaian stones were written phonetically. Bad spelling was just as bad back then as it is now. Just look at any of my posts. :-)

Also in Scandinavia they used something called Strotning(I may have spelled that wrong). It is where you use a character with a similar sound value and put a dot on it. For instance the Scandinavian Rune rows do not have a "d" so how do you get it. Most examples I have seen is to put a dot on the "t" Rune. Similar sound value with the dot shifting it.

The only way to really tell what sound the writer is going for is to look for the context of the character in question. This is very usefull if you are using Scandinavian Rune Rows with modern English words. If you are using an Anglo Saxon Rune Row it tends not to be as much a problem.

I hope this helps.
Feb. 28th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC)
The Strotning idea is interesting and potentially useful--thank you for the idea!
Feb. 28th, 2005 03:45 am (UTC)
I want to say there is some good info on this in Elliots Runes: An Introduction and Molke's Runes and their Origins Denmark and Elsewhere. I hope that helps.
Feb. 27th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
I tend to go with phonetic spellings. I would probably spell "weave" wunjo-isa-wunjo, and "wife" wunjo-eihwaz-fehu. I guess doing it letter-by-letter is an option if you think people might not understand the phonetic spellings, though.
Feb. 28th, 2005 01:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, my concern is other folks being able to read what I write (presumably I will remember what I meant--although some days, it's hard to be sure! :))
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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