Fun With Futhark
Monday, May 9, 2016

To be honest, it started with a conversation about World of Warcraft.  Some years ago, my husband consented to give the game a try, and he created a dwarf character.  I created one as well so we could run around together.  Our dwarves had great names!  My dwarf's name was Stormstone, and his dwarf was named Hammerthorn.  He played until about level 20 before he lost interest.

In any case, the other day the subject happened to come up in conversation, and he jokingly made a comment about getting a tattoo with his dwarf's name on it.  (When he said that, I heard “t-shirt” instead of “tattoo”, but that's hardly relevant.)  Immediately I thought about what sort of font or script or typeface he might use!  Carogine is too elvish-looking; but what about Futhark runes?  That would be cool!

So I looked it up and figured out how to write Stormstone and Hammerthorn in Eldar Futhark (ᛊᛏᛟᚱᛗᛊᛏᛟᚾᛖ ᚫᚾᛞ ᚺᚫᛗᛗᛖᚱᚦᛟᚱᚾ).  I also figured out how to write it in Tolkein's dwarvish script, Cirth, but I liked the Eldar Futhark better.

It's fun and quite easy; really.  You can transcribe anything just using the following guide:

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
ng
o
p
q
r
s
t
th
u
v
w
xᚲᛊ
y
z


By the way, there are standard Unicode characters for all these runes.  You can find the Unicode chart here.

The Futhark alphabet doesn't have letters for C, Q, V, X, or Y.  You can use the K for C and Q, and KS for X.  I've mapped V to the same character as F, since V and F are the same type of phoneme; the only difference is that V is voiced and F is unvoiced.  Consider the English word "of", for example:  the F in that word is voiced and takes on a V sound.  The character associated with Y in the chart above is used for I when it's long (IPA /i/ as in pizza).

But wait!  What if you don't want to just transcribe everything letter-for-letter, following Modern English spelling?  What if you'd prefer to write it phonetically?  ('Cause, y'know... you might!)

Fear not!  The consonants are straightforward, so you just have to map out the vowels, as I've done in the following charts:

Vowels

IPA Futhark Example IPA Futhark Example
ɑ, ɔ father, all æ at, can
ᛖᛁ able, eight ɛ end, ever
i even, pizza ɪ if, sit
own, note ʊ hook, should
u flute, tube ə, ʌ up, of

Okay, so I cheated a little... I used a different rune for the schwa (/ə/).  You can use if you like, but I thought it would be nice to make a distinction, since I'm using that for 2 other phonemes.

Diphthongs

IPA Futhark Example
ᚫᛁ eye, item
ɔɪ ᛟᛁ oil, joy
ᚫᚢ out, now

Vowel combinations with r

IPA Futhark Example
ɑr ᚫᚱ are, star
ɪr ᛁᚱ ear, here
ɔr ᛟᚱ or, soar
ʊr ᚢᚱ poor, tour
ær ᚫᚱ arrow, marriage
ɛr ᛖᚱ air, errand
ɜr ᛇᚱ earn, first

All that's well and good, of course, but you can't really appreciate it without seeing it all together in a block of text.  I was thinking of putting this somewhere near my front door, all adorned with Celtic designs.  Of course, I couldn't resist putting it in Old English-style alliterative verse!

ᚺᛁᚱ ᛒᛁ ᚦᚤ ᚺᛟᛗ
   ᚤᚠ ᛏᚢ ᚺᛖᚠᛖᚾᛚᛁ–ᛗᚫᛁᚾᛞᛖᛞ,
ᚷᚫᛞ–ᚠᛁᚱᛇᛝ ᚷᚢᛞ ᚠᛟᚲ,
   ᚷᛇᛚᛒᛇᚱᛏ ᚫᚾᛞ ᚲᚫᚱᛟᛚᛇᚾ,
ᚫᚾᛞ ᚦᚤ ᚲᛟᛈᛁᚤᛊ ᚲᚫᛏᛊ
   ᚺᚢ ᚲᛁᛈ ᚦᛖᛗ ᚲᛟᛗᛈᚤᚾᛁ.

ᛒᛁᛇᛝ ᚤᛒᚫᚢᛏ
   ᚦᚤ ᛒᛚᛖᛊᛖᛞ ᚹᚤᚾᛉ ᛒᛇᛉᚾᛖᛊ
ᛇᚾ ᚺᚤᛗᛒᚤᛚᚾᛖᛊ ᚤᚠ ᚺᚫᚱᛏ,
   ᚺᛟᛈᛇᛝ ᚠᛟᚱ ᚺᛖᚠᛖᚾ,
ᚦᛖᛁ ᚹᛇᛊᛏᚠᚤᛚᛁ ᚤᚹᛖᛁᛏ
   ᚦᚫᛏ ᚹᚤᚾᛞᛇᚱᚠᚤᛚ ᛞᛖᛁ
ᚹᛖᚾ ᚦᛖᛁᛚ ᛃᛟᛁᚠᚤᛚᛁ ᛃᛟᛁᚾ
   ᛃᛁᛉᚤᛊ ᚦᛖᚱ ᛊᛖᛁᚠᛁᛇᚱ,
ᚫᛉ ᚦᚤ ᚷᚫᛞ ᚤᚠ ᚷᛚᛟᚱᛁ
   ᚺᛇᛉ ᚷᚱᛖᛁᛏᚾᛖᛊ ᚱᛁᚠᛁᛚᛉ.

Here be the home
    of two heavenly-minded,
God-fearing good folk,
    Gilbert and Carolyn,
and the copious cats
    who keep them company.

Being about
    the Blessed One's business
in humbleness of heart,
    hoping for heaven,
they wistfully await
    that wonderful Day
when they'll joyfully join
    Jesus their Savior,
as the God of Glory
    His greatness reveals.

I've been keeping my journal in Carogine for over a year now; I laughed and told my husband that now I can write in both evlish and dwarvish!

ᚫᛁ ᚫᛗ ᛊᚤᚲᚺ ᚤ ᚷᛁᚲ.  ᛏᚱᚢᛚᛁ.


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You say, "I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing."  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
— Revelation 3:17-18