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Tendenser i skrifttecknens utveckling: Alfabet och runor
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2015 (Swedish)In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies, ISSN 1892-0950, E-ISSN 1892-0950, Vol. 6, 7-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two scholars in semiotics, William C. Watt and Herbert E. Brekle, have each made significant contributions to the history of alphabets by systematizing and generalizing empirical observations on the historical development of the writ­ten characters of Western alphabets. Watt made an important distinction between visual lines and other segments of the characters (phanemes) on the one hand, and the movements made with the writing tool to form the char­acters (kinemes) on the other. He stressed the importance of the latter aspect of writ­ing for the change and development of the alphabet signs. When applied to runology this means, according to the present author, that the process of carving runes, particularly into wood with a knife, was vital in determining the development of their shapes over time. Watt distinguishes three important tendencies or trends in the development of written characters, i.e. facilitation: reducing the effort and thereby increasing the speed of writing, homogenization: making the characters more like each other, and heterogenization: making the char­acters more different from each other. Brekle supplements this with three principles, vectoriality: the tendency of written characters to have a direction, most often following the direction of writing, symmetry: their tendency to be symmetrically formed, and the hasta + coda principle: the tendency of alpha­betic characters to be formed by one vertical line and one or two other lines attached to the main vertical. In this article, the author presents these principles and suggests some of their applications to the history of the runes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo, Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2015. Vol. 6, 7-19 p.
Keyword [en]
semiotics, alphabet history, phanemes, kinemes, facilitation, homog­enization, heterogenization, vectoriality, symmetry, hasta + coda principle
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-278879OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-278879DiVA: diva2:922587
Available from: 2016-04-23 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved

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