Futhark (Runes)

I know that I hung on Yggdrasil
For nine nights long
Wounded by spear
Consecrated to Oðin
Myself a sacrifice to myself
Upon that tree
The wisest know not the roots
of ancient times whence it sprang.

None brought me bread
None gave me mead
Down to the depths I searched
I took up the Runes
Raised them with song
And from that tree I fell.

Runes you shall know, and readable staves,
Very powerful staves,Very great staves
Graven by the mighty one who speaks
Carved by the highest hosts

Oðin among the Aesir,
Dvalin (sleeper) among dwarfs,
Dáin (dead) among alfs,
Alvitter (all-knowing) among etins,
I myself carved some for mankind

Runic alphabets

Elder Futhark (2nd to 8th c.)

The Elder Futhark, used for writing Proto-Norse, consists of 24 runes that often are arranged in three groups of eight; each group is referred to as an Ætt. The earliest known sequential listing of the full set of 24 runes dates to approximately AD 400 and is found on the Kylver Stone in Gotland, Sweden.
Most probably each rune had a name, chosen to represent the sound of the rune itself. The names are, however, not directly attested for the Elder Futhark themselves. Reconstructed names in Proto-Germanic have been produced, based on the names given for the runes in the later alphabets attested in the rune poems and the linked names of the letters of the Gothic alphabet. The letter æ was named from The Runic letter called, Ansuz. An asterisk before the rune names means that they are unattested reconstructions. The 24 Elder Futhark runes are:[24]
Rune UCS Transliteration IPA Proto-Germanic name Meaning
f f /f/ *fehu "wealth, cattle"
u u /u(ː)/ ?*ūruz "aurochs" (or *ûram "water/slag"?)
th,þ þ /θ/, /ð/ ?*þurisaz "the god Thor, giant"
a a /a(ː)/ *ansuz "one of the Æsir (gods)"
r r /r/ *raidō "ride, journey"
k k /k/ ?*kaunan "ulcer"? (or *kenaz "torch"?)
g g /ɡ/ *gebō "gift"
w w /w/ *wunjō "joy"
h h ᚺ ᚻ h /h/ *hagalaz "hail" (the precipitation)
n n /n/ *naudiz "need"
i i /i(ː)/ *īsaz "ice"
j j /j/ *jēra- "year, good year, harvest"
ï,ei ï (or æ) /æː/(?) *ī(h)waz/*ei(h)waz "yew-tree"
p p /p/ ?*perþ- meaning unclear, perhaps "pear-tree".
z z /z/ ?*algiz unclear, possibly "elk".
s s s /s/ *sōwilō "Sun"
t t /t/ *tīwaz/*teiwaz "the god Tiwaz"
b b /b/ *berkanan "birch"
e e /e(ː)/ *ehwaz "horse"
m m /m/ *mannaz "Man"
l l /l/ *laguz "water, lake" (or possibly *laukaz "leek")
ŋ ŋ ᛜ ᛝ ŋ /ŋ/ *ingwaz "the god Ingwaz"
o o /o(ː)/ *ōþila-/*ōþala- "heritage, estate, possession"
d d /d/ *dagaz "day"

Younger Futhark (9th to 11th c.)

The Younger Futhark: long-branch runes and short-twig runes

The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian Futhark, is a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, consisting of only 16 characters. The reduction correlates with phonetic changes when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse. They are found in Scandinavia and Viking Age settlements abroad, probably in use from the 9th century onward. They are divided into long-branch (Danish) and short-twig (Swedish and Norwegian) runes. The difference between the two versions has been a matter of controversy. A general opinion is that the difference between them was functional; i.e. the long-branch runes were used for documentation on stone, whereas the short-branch runes were in everyday use for private or official messages on wood.