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Runic Transcription

Runes are phonetic - in other words, they represent sounds rather than letters. So Kauno is equivalent to K like it appears in the word "king", or a hard C as in the word "cat".

So if your name was Colin or Catherine, your first runic initial would be Kauno, the rune that corresponds to K.

However, if your name was Cyril or Cecilia then you would choose S representing Sowilo because that's the rune that makes the soft C sound.

Names like Thora and Theodore and others starting with the TH sound can be a bit confusing, too. In English you would say your first initial was T, but in runes it is Thurisaz, because that rune represents the TH sound all on its own. Paradoxically, the name Thomas is pronounced TOMAS in English, so the TH is transcribed as the Tiwaz rune that makes the T sound. Confused? You won't be when you have read my articles on this subject in the Members Area of the website.

The ancients did not distinguish between W and V. They used the same soft V sound for both, so V and W initials are represented by Wunjo.

J and Y are the most difficult letters to represent in runes. Strictly speaking the J in John or Joanne should be represented by Dagaz because the ancients pronounced Dagaz like a DG or DZ compound consonant. But in modern usage it is common to represent J as Jera even though its real sound is like the Y in the word "year". There is another rune that makes the Y sound and that is Ihwaz. It sounds like the Y in "young".

There are no rune equivalents for X or Q. The ancients did not use those sounds. I usually represent X with Kauno and Sowilo to make a KS sound, and Q as Kauno and Wunjo to make a KW sound. 

Names of German or Scandinavian origin that start with ING are represented by Ingwaz. Ingrid and Ingomar are good examples. Don't be fooled into using Isa because it represents the letter I. Ingwaz is much more attractive!

I usually follow these rules when compiling bindrunes for people:

K and hard C are represented by Kauno
S and soft C are represented by Sowilo
T is represented by Tiwaz
TH is represented by Thurisaz
V and W are both represented by Wunjo
J as in John is represented by Jera
J as in Juan is represented by Hagalaz
J as in Jorge and Y as in Yolanda are represented by Ihwaz

If you want to write runic messages using your computer, you will need to install a rune font on your system. There is a selection of fonts for download on another website of mine The fonts I use on this and all Runemaker websites are called Runemaker and Runemaster. Most of the fonts I found on the web had something wrong with them, so I designed these two myself. They are also available for download, but there is a small charge of US$9.95 for the pair.

If you are sending runic messages to someone else electronically, they must also have the same font that you used installed on their system to see the message the way you wrote it. If they don't, the program (Word, Excel, Outlook, or any Windows-based application) will render your work using the computer's default font, usually Times, Courier, Arial or Helvetica.

There is a table of all the English letter equivalents and a comprehensive guide to the transcription of letters, words and phrases into runes in the Members Area. There is also an illustrated article offering tips on drawing runes correctly by hand or using computer graphics applications.


Important Note


Please visit these sites for more information on runes and runic designs:

runes - oswald the runemaker          runes information          rune fonts         celtic runes