This alphabet uses only sixteen runes, and in many cases one symbol is used to represent many sounds.
Even when dealing with the Younger Futhark, there are several related but slightly different alphabets that vary by place and time. These can be roughly divided into two main types: the first is the "long-branch" or normal Younger Futhark, which are sometimes referred to as the "Danish runes". There is also a variant known as the "short-twig runes" in which the forms are simpler, also called the "Norwegian-Swedish runes".
"Shorthand" versions of these futharks appeared, as did hybrid variants. What exact form was used depended on exactly what date one is looking at, and what region. By the Middle Ages, as the language changed and so did the runic alphabet. Gradually symbols were changed, and new symbols adopted, resulting in a 16-rune alphabet plus extensions.
Most of the surviving Viking Age runic inscriptions come from rune-stones, which were erected as grave markers, memorials, and cenotaphs most often. By the middle ages in Scandinavia, runes came to be used occasionally to record Latin inscriptions (approximately 10% of all medieval runic inscriptions are Latin) and these usually invocations of saints or prayers.
Occasionally runes are found on various wooden items such as crosses. ...Show more