Runic puzzle

Can any of you make any sense of this piece of text in a runic-style alphabet, which was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot?

Runic puzzle

This entry was posted in Puzzles, Writing.

10 Responses to Runic puzzle

  1. Charles says:

    Weird, some of the runes seem to be mirrored… (þ in the first line for ex.)

  2. prase says:

    Almost certainly an invented “runic” alphabet. To decipher it, it would help to know the language.

    The frequencies of the letters are:
    ł … 13
    R … 12
    │… 10
    ↑ … 9
    Y (or inverted Ч) … 9 (1 of them possibly a different letter)
    Λ … 8 (5 clear cases, 3 are possibly different letter)
    Γ (or inverted 1, or ⌠) … 6
    inverted ł … 6
    Schutzstaffel S … 6
    Þ … 3 (1 of them possibly different letter)
    B … 3
    double inverted Ч … 3
    S (or ∫) … 2
    F … 2
    Σ … 2
    Ω (or X with circonflex – how to describe it better?) … 2
    O or D … 2 (if they are the same letter)
    L … 1
    N … 1
    M … 1
    double Ч … 1
    inverted Þ … 1
    ┼ … 1
    1 … 1
    upside down Ψ … 1
    signs similar to ┤ or ├ … 3 (I suspect they are instances of 1, Y or ł, but they may as well be distinct characters).

    Note that my list contains 26 lines, which exactly corresponds to the number of letters in the Latin alphabet, but I wouldn’t expect all letters to occur in such a relatively short text, and my identification of letters is somewhat imprecise. The left-right inversion could represent accented vowels, which would mean that the language is not English.

  3. Charles says:

    Most signs seem borrowed from Danish or Norwegian younger Futhork, with some from elder Futhark.

    Using them I get something like:

    I suppose some signs have been assigned different from traditional values, on the other hand it could also be a conlang in which all of this makes sense…

  4. b_jonas says:

    Do you suppose it has any significance that some letters seem to be glowing in yellow?

  5. prase says:

    @b_jonas: It looks like the author has used some ink eraser to repair the shapes of the letters.

    @Charles: The two vertical strokes at the end resemble two same vertical strokes at the very beginning, so I think they are sort of delimiters rather than double i; if so, the text ends in “ent”. If this hypothesis is correct, there are no doubled consonants, which lowers the probability that it is an English text with each Latin letter substituted by a particular rune.

    The traditional vales of the runes at least reproduce a legible text with vowels well distributed across words. On the other hand I think R may represent a vowel due to its frequency and because it forms an entire word at one place (but some languages have words consisting of a sole consonant, and it can also be an abbreviation).

  6. Macsen says:

    Is it Iolo Morganwg’s ‘Coelbren y Beirdd’ – the alphabet he invented but which he managed to convince many that it was the ancient Welsh Druidic alphabet.

    The alphabet can still be seen engraved into the Gorsedd stone circles which are erected when the National Eisteddfod of Wales visits a town e.g. outside the National Museum and in Bute Park in Cardiff and in most other Welsh towns.

    Iolo Morganwg:
    Coelbren y Beirdd:
    Gorsedd Circle:

  7. prase says:

    Unfortunately, the letter tables in the second link you gave don’t include some of the most common characters in the puzzle (e.g. the R or mirrored thorn), and contain many characters that can’t be found here. Futhark corresponds more closely to the puzzle.

  8. Juan Shimmin says:

    Could the submitter give us any context on where the text came from? If we suspect it’s an invented alphabet, it’s quite likely to be related to the original language, even if it’s not a direct transcription.

  9. b_jonas says:

    To prase: ah, that must be it. I didn’t recognize that from the photo.

  10. Leila says:

    It looks like the dwarvish runes from Tolkien’s books, but after attempting to decode it, I have come up dry.

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