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The rune poems list the letters of a runic alphabet with a short verse characterizing each one. Three different rune poems have been preserved, an Icelandic, a Norwegian and an Anglo-Saxon one. The Icelandic and Norwegian poems both give the order of the sixteen runes of the Younger Futhark, ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚬ ᚱ ᚴ ᚼ ᚾ ᛁ ᛅ ᛋ ᛏ ᛒ ᛘ ᛚ ᛦ, with slightly differing letter names, while the Anglo-Saxon poem has ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚩ ᚱ ᚳ ᚷ ᚹ ᚻ ᚾ ᛁ ᛄ ᛇ ᛈ ᛉ ᛋ ᛏ ᛒ ᛖ ᛗ ᛚ ᛝ ᛟ ᛞ ᚪ ᚫ ᚣ ᛡ ᛠ, i.e. 29 runes, with an order clearly related to the scandinavian ones, but with some runes having variant shapes to the Younger Futhark, some taken from the Older Futhark, and some that have no Scandinavian counterpart at all.
There is yet another rune poem, the Abcedarium Nordmannicum, known from a 9th century manuscript.
The word fe for wealth is cognate to English fee and originally meant "cattle" (German Vieh, Sanskrit pashu).
The name of the rune was preserved, but associated with different meanings. The name of Gothic 𐌿 u is urus.
The only rune to have permanently entered the Latin alphabet, Þ, for the writing of Old English and Icelandic. It was introduced to Icelandic orthography in the 12th century work The First Grammatical Treatise (see Icelandic alphabet).
Similar to the case of Ur, the rune kept its name in Anglo-Saxon, but with a different meaning associated to it.
The shape of the Anglo-Saxon rune is closer to the Old Futhark ᚺ.
The three names have similar meanings. The corresponding Gothic letter 𐌻 l is called lagus.
C. f. Anglo-Saxon Yr ᚣ: one of the additional runes, with the shape a variant of Scandinavian Ur.
There is an Anglo-Saxon rune whose name means "yew": ᛇ Eoh. It is taken from the Old Futhark, and neither its shape nor its sound is related to the Scandinavian Yr rune.
The Yr rune ᛦ is a modification of the *Algiz rune ᛉ, originally for Proto-Germanic final z, Proto-Norse final R, Old Norse final r and eventually y.
While the Younger Futhark has reduced the original inventory of 24 runes, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc has expanded it: to 29 runes in the rune poem, and later to a total of 33.
The fact that some Anglo-Saxon runes were given names of trees (ᛇ Eoh "yew", ᚪ Ac "oak", ᚫ Æsc "ash", c. f. also AS thorn vs. Norse thurs) may be related to the names of the Ogham signs, all of which are called after trees.
The rune appears in the Older Futhark with the same shape. The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐌲 g, called giba.
Also taken from the Older Futhark. Corresponds to Gothic 𐍅 w winja.
Ger corresponds to ᛃ "jera" of the Older Futhark. The corresponding Gothic letter is 𐌾 j, named jer.
Also in the Older Futhark. The meaning of the name is unclear, and apparently related to 𐍀 p pairþra of the Gothic alphabet. It is glossed as:
Etymologically possible, although not very credible, is a meaning "fart" (interpreting the verse in the sense that farts arouse merriment in the banquet hall).
In both shape and position, the rune corresponds to Older Futhark ᛉ "algiz". The rune is a special case insofar that the reconstructed name is not acrophonic, because the sound expressed by it in the Old Futhark only appears word-final: continuing Proto-Germanic z, it is transliterated as Proto-Norse R, becoming Old Norse r. For this reason, the rune became superfluous and was dropped in the Young Futhark, while it was assigned a new sound value in Anglo-Saxon.
This rune suffers the same translation problems of algiz but may, like algiz, mean Elk. Elk-Sedge may be, considering the description, a form of sawgrass.
Also in the Older Futhark.
Corresponds to Older Futhark ᛜ "ingwaz".
Appears as the final rune (after ᛞ) in the Older Futhark. Gothic 𐍉 o oþal.
ᛞ Daeg "day"
Also in the Older Futhark. Gothic 𐌳 d dags.
Five additional runes expressing Anglo-Saxon vowels:
See also Yr above.
A short poem found in the Codex Sangallensis 878, kept in the St. Gallen abbey, probably originating in Fulda, written down in the 9th century.
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