Kendra Willson

Finno-Ugric elements in runic inscriptions

KenrdaWillson.jpgI review the corpus of runic inscriptions from Scandinavia to assess the possibility of Finnic and Sámi elements, reevaluating earlier proposals and undeciphered inscriptions and names in relation to archaeological, linguistic and onomastic evidence for contacts. Although the languages are known to have been in close contact, this possibility has not been systematically explored. This neglect is due in part to a dearth of scholars with appropriate expertise and in part to outdated assumptions about language contacts. Proposed readings have suffered from anachronism or been left undeveloped, and the runic community has often dismissed the possibility of inscriptions in non-Germanic languages other than Latin. I will also evaluate the evidence for a historical runic presence in Finland in the light of recent finds and changing understandings of runic literacy

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