Maðumisc : Orthography

 A a   B b   C c   D d   Ð ð   E e   F f   G g   H h 
 I i   J j   K k   L l   M m   N n   O o   P p   R r 
 S s   T t   Þ þ   U u   V v   W w   X x   Y y   Z z 

Pronounce the vowels as you wish— but consistently! (A note about u... Short u, generally unmarked in textbooks, was pronounced as in would, could, full. Long u, marked as ū or ú, was pronounced as in soon, food, blue. There seems to be disagreement as to the pronunciation of ut, some spelling it ut, some ūt.)

The Anglo-Saxons pronounced k and c alike, as k, and used them interchangeably. I had originally planned to use k and s for the common English sounds, either discarding c or using it for another purpose, such as that sound in the Middle English ic and German ich. After some discussion and thought and a bit of Scholarly Research I decided to retain c as an alternative for k, but a couple years more thought made me realize that I really really really don't like c, so I demoted it— now it is only used digraphically. The letter c is used only in the digraphs ch (church), sc (fish), zc (azure) and ck (in which it is silent).

dh and ð are pronounced as the voiced th in these (the letter's name is eth, pronounced edh).

h may be pronounced as in German ich.

kw represents the "queen" sound.

s is pronounced as in software.

sh and sc are pronounced as in sheep.

th and þ are pronounced as the unvoiced th in thin (the letter's name is thorn, pronounced like the English prickly thing).

And trailing -e is not silent, and it is significant!

Example of a possible sound shift: Norþ (North) → norðren (northern).

Usage of þ and ð changed over the years. Though I'm certain that they originally indicated two sounds (else why two characters?), Pollington's Wordcraft implies that the two actually sounded exactly the same at some time, following these rules...

On the other hand, the convention that I followed is that used in Diamond's Old English Grammar & Reader, which uses a regularized spelling system, a modified form of the Early West Saxon dialect in use at the time of King Alfred, in the late ninth century, with þ unvoiced and ð voiced (unless doubled).

During the Middle English period, y became simply a variant form of i. Thus lady may be spelled ladi, and yes may be spelled ies.

Created 1997.02.11, Modified 2009.05.10