Over at Kill Zone Blog, a post by Sue Coletta: The secret language of Vikings.
Old English was originally written in the runic alphabet, named futhark after the first six runes: f, u, th, a, r, and k. The alphabet consisted of 24 letters, 18 consonants, and 6 vowels. Futhark assigned a sound to each character. Runes could be written in both directions—right to left, left to right—and could also be inverted or upside down. The earliest runes consisted almost entirely of straight lines, arranged singly or in combinations of two or more. Later, runes became more complex. Some even resemble modern day letters of the English alphabet. …
For years researchers have tried to crack a runic code called Jötunvillur, a perplexing code found in some inscriptions. … Jötunvillur is just one of many different types of runes. This code works by exchanging the rune sign with the last sound in the rune’s name. … Problem is, numerous runes end in the same sound.
“It’s like solving a riddle,” Nordby said. “After a while I started to see a pattern in what appeared to be meaningless combinations of runes.”
Very neat! I had no idea.
Nordby says this also indicates whimsicality within the Viking Era and Middle Ages.
“People challenged one another with codes. It was a kind of competition in the art of rune making. This testifies to a playfulness with writing that we don’t see today.”
It’s a fun post about an obscure topic you, like me, may never have encountered before. Click through and read the whole thing if you have a minute.