Swedish is reknowned for its rich vowel set. And being part of the Germanic-Viking culture in the past, it used runes to record its earliest writings. This new script is based on the old runes, but expands on them to cater for the large number of phonemes in Swedish. Rather than being a spelling alphabet, this is a phonemic one. The script’s name means Swedish Twigs. (Thanks to Mattias Persson for his assistance with the name, and details of spelling.)
North European Runes
There were several variations of runic alphabet in use in northern Europe. Their origins are shrouded in mystery; in many cases, they were used to write magical spells. Most of the primary rune glyphs seem to adhere to several rules, probably based in the fact they were made by cutting into sticks and stones with a knife:
- no horizontal strokes
- all forms reach from top line to bottom line
- no empty spaces between glyphs in the upper half of the line
- no shapes enclosed within other shapes
- tall forms rather than wide
- forms which suggest trees, branches, or wooden frames
Some of the runes used here can be found in earlier forms, including the Elder Fuþark. Others are modifications of those, or entirely new. In order to appear consistent with the look and feel of traditional runes, the above rules were applied to new glyphs as much as possible. This script is designed to be printed within two horizontal guidelines, as was often the case with earlier rune-works.
Note that the second /r/ form is a mark which introduces retroflexion to a following dental phoneme, a well-known effect in Swedish.
VowelsShort and long vowels:
An example using this font, an extract from Wikipedia’s article on Swedish phonology:
“Nordanvinden och solen tvistade en gång
om vem av dem som var starkast.
Just då kom en vandrare vägen fram
insvept i en varm kappa.”