Runed English – Spelling, part 1

As part of my project to try and codify a system of using Elder Futhark Runes to write Modern English with, I drafted this several months ago.


Phonemes are the smallest part of language in the same way an atom is the smallest part of matter. The English language has 44 different phonemes that are initially divided into vowels and consonants. Phonemes in English are then further subdivided in various ways, however for the the time being vowels and consonants are of greater import. This is because the subdivisions that come from the division between vowels and consonants relies on having vowels and consonants to work with, thus in order to progress further into the wider phoneme forms the vowels and consonants are required to express them. This, hopefully, establishes the foundation for understanding how to write Modern English in Elder Futhark Runes.

Fortunately for this project, English is a member of the Germanic language family, rather than the Latin it is so popularly grouped with. The reason for this fortune is that the Germanic language family includes those languages in which Elder Futhark Runes were originally written. Naturally there have been changes and evolutions, but a good chunk of the work has already been done for me. Moreover, there are a number of phonemes shared between Germanic languages which means that a number of Elder Futhark Runes and Modern English Phonemes already match one another. P, B, T, D, K, G, F, V, W, TH, S, Z, M, N, ING/NG, H, L, R and J are all phonemes that are present in the Elder Futhark Runes – and that is just consonants. There are a few phonemes that are somewhat harder to align however; contributions to Modern English from any one of its many ‘admixture’ phases: dʒ, ʃ, tʃ. These are more difficult to align with the Elder Futhark Runes because these are phonemes whose sounds are made up by using other phonemes. In the process of trying to determine the most appropriate approach to those phonemes, I determined that the following phonemes and runes have direct alignments:


Standard Alphabet

B –   C –   D –    F –   G –    H –    K –   L –    M –    N –    P –    R –   S –   T –   V –    W –   Y –   Z – 


B – boat –  C – car –  D – dog –  F – fly –  G – go –  H – hat –  L – love –  M – man –  N – now –  ŋ – sing* P – pea –  R – red –  S – see –  ʒ – television –  T – tea –  θ – think –  ð – this –  V – video –  W – wet –  J – yes – Z – zoo – 

There are some details that need to be pointed out regarding these; so far tʃ – cheese, dʒ – June and ʃ – shall have not been sufficiently explored and are absent. They are among those phonemes that require other phonemes to express and as of yet I haven’t come to a satisfactory conclusion. ŋ – sing is a phoneme that rarely if ever appears in English as anything other than i n g, hence * represents all three letters. Caveat:  is typically written rotated 90 degrees left or right and should the case arise, it represents just n g in an ‘ing’ suffix. The soft and hard th phonemes, θ – think and ð – this, both use  as that is how the Rune was used in its original tongues. The same rule applies to the V – video and W – wet usages of . In both instances,  and , abide by their historical uses. Obviously, context will need to be relied upon to understand words that become homographs because of this e.g.: wet and vet.  is used as pervasively as it is because it fits; it is simply the most appropriate for those phonemes.



Hopefully this makes sense, I have tried to not use the usual jargon for this topic, and is catching some interest.



Phonemic special letters:



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