This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Nut and Bolts: the Elder Futhark.

The Elder Futhark...

Hm, sometimes words are so brimming with magic they're practically luminous, and the Elder Futhark is like that.

The Elder Futhark is the oldest sort of runic writing. It was invented somewhere near where Germany is now, and it probably started off as a secret language. It's based on Latin letters, so the inventor could well have been a soldier in one of the Roman armies around about the time of Christ.

One suggestion is that it was first used to write rude (but secret) graffiti. ROMANS HAVE KNOBBLY KNEES, that sort of thing.

The Elder Futhark spread widely, to Iceland, Scandinavia and England, where in the course of time it changed into the slightly less romantic Younger Futhark.

Soon the Elder Futhark, which probably started off as a secret language, became even more secret still, and no one could make head nor tail of it until 1865, when a Norwegian bloke called Sophus Bugge managed to decipher it.

The Elder Futhark looked like this:

It's still excellent for writing secret messages, too.

Words To Use Today: Elder Futhark. I can't honestly think of any occasion when anyone might want to say Elder Futhark, but it's still really cool. As you can see, the word futhark consists of the first six letters of this runic alphabet.

I don't know, though - I suppose Elder Futhork! might be quite useful if you stub your toe.

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