Scholars, both professional and amateur, have decoded many ancient languages. Sometimes we are lucky or blessed enough to come across a ‘Rosetta Stone’1, a piece of text with the same words presented in two or more additional known languages. By comparing the known languages with the unknown one, we can decode the sense of the unknown language. In the absence of such a decoding tool we must depend on those people who have an ability to spot repeat patterns and then ferret out the sense of the symbols by observing their usage.
In English we have developed a peculiarly contrary method in that we use the word formations regularly and then posit meanings based on common usage. We frequently adopt cobbled words and arbitrarily assign meanings to them. There is no way for other English speakers to discern from context just what these words mean. While we do expect that our language will grow and change, we also rightfully expect that it will be accessible and comprehensible for the populace. However, we have come to the point that native speakers often cannot decode the language of a slightly younger or slightly older generation within the same family. We have reached that point of linguistic perversity.
Perversity, linguistic or otherwise, seems harsh. We now use that word to label ‘bad’ and ‘unnatural’ conduct, usually sexual. Per means ‘through’ and ‘vers‘ means ‘to turn’. The sense of the word is to ‘to turn and go through’, to go to excess, actually a natural act for humans. Remember the game children used to play, where you spin in a circle until you get dizzy and fall down? Comparing ‘perverse’ to an idea using the same prefix should help to clarify the sense. ‘Pervestigate’ is “to find out by research”. This shows that ‘per’ has the sense of ‘through’ and ‘thorough’2. ‘Per-‘, meaning ‘through’, is referred to as an intensifier, which gives it the sense of the English word ‘thorough’. My current pervestigation (not just investigation) is revealing that many of our most frequently used, and seemingly meaningful words and phrases, have actually been turned and turned until they have been spun either senseless or insupportably exaggerated. e.g. bad, good, right, no, know, yes, you know, because, love, hate, borrow, take, give, etc. The dictionary’s definition of the word ‘perverse’ is a prime example, in that it is not a ‘definition’ so much as it is a damning judgement: “deviating from what is considered right or acceptable;…corrupt, wicked;…obstinately disobedient;…intractable…”3 The Greco-Latin word constructs , instead of being definitions, are frequently reactions, judgements, and personal feelings. The same affliction is invading our AS. words. e.g. ‘Bad’ means ‘good’. ‘Good, right, no, yes’ are interjections and ‘because’ has nothing to do with causation.
Unfortunately, words do not stop being effective when their sense becomes perverted. Instead, they develop a greater and more insidious power to do harm. When we take the sense-restraint off of words we remove the safety feature. The safety feature in language is knowledge. Knowledge is what makes us responsible for what we say. It is also what gives others confidence is their relationship with us. I have read and heard so many times: ‘Words don’t mean anything. They only mean what you intend for them to mean.’ ‘That is not what I meant by that word.’ ‘That is just semantics, I didn’t mean that.’ Then we have disclaimers such as, ‘This surge protector is not guaranteed to protect against power surges so, if you are buying it for that purpose, you shouldn’t buy it.’ I actually read a disclaimer that stated that the product would not perform the function for which it was intended. It was a power strip with a surge protector. I call this reflexive duplicity because it is deception that has become an automatic action. We start with disclaiming our words and that leads to disclaiming our actions, in personal matters and in business. Some better and more forthright words for ‘reflexive duplicity’are the A.S. ‘dishonesty’ and ‘underhanded’ ; but, these words have somehow lost their impact, perhaps because we lack a visual image of ‘honesty’, a sense of its meaning.
We see this dishonesty all the time and some of us have come to accept it. Genuine faux diamonds. Brass that is only brass colored. Factory close-outs which are really damaged goods. Contracts that have a ‘sunset’ clause. This practice of disclaiming neither begins nor ends with the business world. There is a common practice these days of making a clear statement and then saying in a lower tone of voice, “Not”. The ‘not’ is intended to negate the preceding statement. Some people actually find that amusing. Not owning our words and our actions results in what used to be understood as a loss of personal honor, a concept that is now either foreign or trying to hide behind an impersonal corporate disguise.
‘So, what?’ is another phrase that is losing its’ sense; but I still take the question literally. If our words only mean what we mean by them and if we can disown our words on a whim, then we have no basis for a personal or business relationship with anyone. We are without any social context, even with our parents and loved ones. All relationships are based on contracts. Contracts are bonds that hold the people together in a society. They are not always spoken or written, but they are explicit. If we alter those contracts or dishonor them, we disolve the social bonds.4 While our loved ones will still love us, they may not trust us. With dishonesty, we cut ourselves loose from others and dishonor ourselves. Honor is another of those words that seems vague as we lack a referrent image for it. Honor is not something that can be given or withheld, it is something that is within us and is defined by us. Honor is a position which we assume and the sense element is ‘on’, as in ‘on the table’ as distinguished from ‘under’. The runes hagal and rad give us the sense of it. Symbolically hagal is a structural beam and it is the personal unconscious mind. Rad is symbolic of the conscious factors that control our fate. It is the transformative vehicle. Between Hagal and Rad is Nyd which means ‘need’. In short, we define who and what we are. We either elevate or debase ourselves by our actions and by the standards which we set for ourselves. Outside honors are decorative but not very good disguises, particularly not from ourselves and those who know and love us. Fortunately, the ‘transformative vehicle’ has forward and reverse gears. If we have missed the mark, there is redemption through honoring social contracts. The process can start with something small and simple such as not saying something that doesn’t need saying.
When personal honor is forfeit, that is the end of civilization. Civilization depends on being able to trust those with whom we live in close proximity. We must have some shared values and some way of letting others know what we expect of them and what they may expect of us. We express our values and our expectations with myths, legends, sagas, histories, stories, plays, songs, dances, codes of conduct and laws. We convey this information to one another by the ways we conduct ourselves and through our language. When our language becomes perverted, so do we.
What we say, how we say it, and what we mean by it, are important. Our language, and a measure of good will, should allow us to settle most disputes with words. Our native language was carefully and thoughtfully assembled in the 10th Century ACE. However, the various peoples of the British Isles and the other northern islands were communicating together for several thousand years before the English language was constructed. The runemasters and the Druidic bards have done a masterful job of constructing symbols to express the essential concepts necessary for diverse tribes to communicate among themselves. One proof of this is in the way that many principles translated into other symbol systems of new invaders.
When Ælfred the Great commanded the formation of English, he incorporated the symbolic significance of the runes; thereby, maintaining much ancient knowledge, belief and principle which the various tribes cherished. Simultaneously, some of those valued customs, which were not conducive to a Christian civilization, were judiciously pruned. Sometimes ancient knowledge is obsolete but sometimes ancient knowledge is timeless wisdom. The new language, like the old, was constructed to encourage observation, thought, and questioning. Close observation and careful questioning are essentials for survival in an environment which becomes seasonally inhospitable and which is frequently invaded by people seeking land. Also essential are codes of conduct for those competing for scarce resources during lean times. English expresses observations about nature, including human nature, and the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. The European tribes, like many American ‘indian’ tribes which we have come to know, had a type of totemic relationship with animals and with plant life. The human body is described in images which relate to trees and is oriented relative to the heavens. They had an understanding of the heavens, the waterworld, and of the vagaries of weather, as well as established myth structures which had accommodated many tribal incursions. There were two major tribal groups which had come in several waves over a period of several thousand years. While there are many different opinions about the time span of the incursions, the major groups were a matrilineal Celtoi who came in three waves beginning about 4000 BCE and a patrilineal Teutonic, also about 4000 BCE, who came in wave after wave. Each of these, of course, had a separate and distinctive set of customs and traditions. It seems that they were compatible. While I would never posit the notion that they always lived in perfect peaceful harmony, they did get along and they did not have to wait for Rome to bring ‘civilization’. The notion that we owe civilization to Roman conquest is a popular opinion in many of the books I’ve been reading. While I appreciate some of the Romans’ contributions as much as the next person, there is more to civilization than good roads and indoor plumbing. I also appreciate the relative ease of writing with Italic letters. Several centuries have shown that writing with Italic letters also will not secure civilization.
We do all need a language and we can all learn to use language.
A common language is essential to a nation. That is how our English language came into being in the first place. Our language is slipping away from us, and I believe that one cause is that we have we have lost the sense units of language. We focus almost entirely on correctness and preciseness of our alphabetic sounds and neglect the sense of our words. The sense of our words is the meaning in what we say. Our second focus is on the appearance of the text presentation almost exclusively, to the extent of ignoring the subjects at issue. We have come to a pass where anyone who speaks well, with a polished and engaging speech pattern, is presumed to speak meaningfully, even honestly. I have also noticed that music sound tracks, emotional displays, and other such visuals often replace language. Appearance or illusion has become dominant. All of those sounds which give sense to the grammatical construct of sentences have been replaced with sound track noise. Stress, lilt, upbeats, downbeats, elided sounds, and elongated vowels are all part of the music of language. That particular music is a significant part of the sense of language. Since many students never have music, speech or drama, and they rarely read aloud in class, they don’t learn those grammatical sounds of language. These additional sounds of English make up much of its sense. Try reciting, “John is the only man in the room”. Each time you say it, place the stress on a different syllable.5 That exercise proves the importance of stressors.
Meaningful, forthright, and civil speech excites little interest and less concern. Appearance or illusion has become dominant. I have read research papers, printed immaculately on 26 pound gloss bond, and bound. I have also read college level papers. Some of each were completely without flaw, other than for their complete lack of content. Other papers demonstrate that it is possible to graduate from college unable to competently read, write, or speak ones native language. It is also not uncommon to find text books that lack footnotes and quotes with no sources cited. When there is a ‘source’ it is sometimes the author quoting himself or the author citing a highly questionable source, such as a business with a financial interest in the author’s conclusions.
The printed, spoken, and written word are under attack. At the rate we are going, the right of free speech will soon be a non-issue as there will be no significant speech left. By definition, speech says something, speech engages the brain, expresses ideas and opinions, takes issue with ‘issues’, commands attention, disturbs the status quo. A language whose meaning is entirely arbitrary cannot have such an effect.
There has been a move afoot, for several years, to change English spelling so that it is more consistent (phonetically) with standard pronunciation. With the advent of the personal computer and the internet, such ‘reform’ is starting to take place. As people start introducing their dumbed6 down spellings, those spellings become common usage and are entered into dictionaries. (e.g. tho, thru, lite, supena) The altered spellings remove the runic code which is presently in our written language. The written language is also under attack in our schools. Many educators believe that writing lessons are a waste of time as we have machines that can write faster and more legibly. But, writing is more than reproducing the same shapes consistently; the act of writing evokes processes of thought organization. I will cede the point that ‘sticks and balls’ are an inaccurate, inept, and ultimately confusing way of presenting the forms of alphabetic symbols. The more precisely ‘sticks and balls’ are written, the harder it is to distinguish one letter from another and, therefore, one word from another. However, those are not real writing lessons.
As for simplifying and standardizing the English speech sounds– That has actively been a work in progress for over sixty years that I know of. The reading that I’ve been doing suggests that English speech sounds have always been a work in progress and that television has just speeded up the process of change. I don’t know how anyone could comment extensively on ‘speech sounds’ before the advent of recorded sound. If determinations were based on the positioning of written words, that would only comment on those who were doing the writing. That would not apply to the masses of people, who did not write. If the conjecture is based on spelling, that would apply only if spelling was based on phonics and not on elements of sense. Even if television has speeded up changes in our speech sounds, I doubt that it has done anything to either simplify or standardize those sounds. We people are proprietary about our speech fashions and identities. When we have found our sound, our voice, we are unwilling to give it up. Anyone who thinks that language is just about sounds is not paying attention. We sing, dance, walk, talk, gesture and draw our language; and, no two people do it alike.
So, what do we change; and, how do we change it?
We frequently speak and write in words that have no intrinsic meaning, often using words that have come to mean so much that they have no specific sense. We also use words that have come to mean the opposite of what their origins indicate. Sometimes the word has no discernible sense. These words are in warranties, contracts, disclaimers, instruction manuals, as well as in everyday conversation. Sometimes the lack of clarity is inadvertent and sometimes it is deliberate deception. At other times it appears to be that pattern of a systemic kind of reflexive duplicity to which I referred earlier. I have pondered this trait in our speech for some time. English is an expressive poetic language and uses much metaphor, understatement, and hyperbole; but, deception is not the intent and just does not feel right in English. English is naturally quite forthright so, if someone wants to deceive in ‘English’, they usually have to doubletalk.7 Doubletalk is conspicuous by its’ excessive syllabication so, one learns to be wary of ‘too much talk’ and of strings of Greco-Latin word constructs. Since Gr.L. words are necessary, they are often taught by memorization and are hailed as signs of an educated person. This poses some unanticipated problems for native speakers, as well as those who need English as a second language, because ‘educated speech’ is often viewed as doubletalk.
This is not to say that ‘double-talking is intended. Frequently, the professional person is translating plain English into professional terminology such as hematuria for ‘blood in the urine’ and hemicephalgia for a one-sided headache. There are times when Greco-Latin constructs just seem gratuitous, particularly when a client or patient is not expected to use the words. They aren’t likely to be used by insurance company personnel either. Et cetera is another word which we use habitually although its abbreviation is often misspelled and its meaning is unclear to many people.
Since deliberate deception in language is profoundly reprehensible, we must be on guard that our motives are upright and that they sound and otherwise appear upright. When we have the power of language, there are responsibilities. Again, the problem may well be that people are not learning what the elements of words mean. The Gr.L. prefixes, roots, and suffixes can be learned without having to learn either Latin or Greek. There is already a book in print that gives the most frequently used affixes.8 I will include a section on them; but, they are not part of English, the Vulgate.
Other changes to make-
Talk less. Listen more. Strive to understand, or to recognize when nothing is being said that requires understanding. Sometimes we just talk for comfort and companionship. Don’t answer every question: sometimes it isn’t necessary and sometimes it is no one else’s business. Other times, silence may be more comfortable. Try reading something or writing or doing a craft. ‘Crafting’ anything is a way of communicating and people will always get what they need from it. If you write something, keep it to yourself sometimes as not everyone wants to know or needs to know everything that is on another’s mind. Whatever is said, written, crafted, or otherwise communicated, should be done uprightly and forthrightly as that is what honesty is about. When ‘honesty’ is your jibsail, every voyage has clearer weather. There is a lot going on in our heads and there is less to remember with honesty. It sounds rude to make such an observation; but, people are image-makers and story-tellers by nature and sometimes we embroider images and stories. Keep some of your business to yourself. We can all be kept plenty busy with our own thoughts and business. When something scary is going on in our minds, that usually means that we need more activity of a kind that we aren’t getting enough of. The unconscious mind is kind of like a puppy that needs to go for a walk. When it doesn’t get enough of a workout, it gets nervous, runs in circles, makes messes, tears things up and just generally gets in trouble. Another great way to handle those unruly creatures of the mind is reading. Reading is counseling, a very personal and in-house type of counseling. I have personally found that these few changes generate energy and free up time that is well spent on communication skills, chief among these are observing and listening. For all of the time and energy being expended, most of us are not communicating very effectively. We have problems to deal with.
This ‘Problem’ plainly stated:
The English language is two languages within one: 1) a Greco-Latin construct, a ‘romance’ language that cannot stand alone; but, is indispensible as a sort of ‘shorthand’ for expressing compound-complex ideas, both in the sciences and in everyday speech; 2) a ‘Germanic’ language, which we call ‘Anglo-Saxon’, but which contains words from every Germanic language we have encountered. Of the first one-hundred words we use most often, all are A.S. and of the first two-hundred, about one-hundred ninety are A.S.9 These words are mostly about personal and positional relationships and are the words which bind most text together. In short, they are the mortar and most of the bricks of which English is built. Yet, when we speak or write these words, we usually do not have a clue what the words mean. Some of the words are a sort of place-holder and have no real information content until we add other specific bits of data. e.g. ‘it’, ‘that’, ‘what’, ‘thing’. It is possible to write grammatically complete text without really saying anything. Knowing what the words mean, and don’t mean, is a real help in avoiding that pitfall. The whole Truth10 being told, there is a third language which is composed of words, phrases, and imagery from every language, culture, and school of thought with which English has had contact. This ‘third’ language has been anglicized until the ‘parentages’ are often as obscure as the sense of the word(s).11 Knowing the parentage is not about some notion of linguistic racial purity though. Again, the instant issue is knowing what we are saying. If you don’t know what the word means, and can’t find the answer, avoid the word until you find out. We are without a map to the territory of a substantial part of our language. English is now an international language, a position for which it is eminently suited by dint of its birth, its lineage, its flexibility, its potential for coherence and its potential for civil and ethical communication. Such a language should not, and cannot be arbitrary.
From doubletalk to straight talk-
I think it is high time for some straight talk. Before we worry about teaching English vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and diction, we should start by decoding the meaning of English words and making those coding systems available. Defining words by giving their Old English or Anglo-Saxon spelling is not decoding. To decode our early tribal words we have to go back to their original symbol system before they were translated into the Italic alphabet. This process gets a bit knotty as many different tribes and language groups were involved. The runic symbols are a challenge; more so are the representative sounds. We can only guess and surmise what the talk would sound like. There is one thing that we can know for a certainty: language is music and no two people ever sound alike. Our voices and our bodies are our instruments; they are combinations of string, woodwind, percussion, tympany, and can sound like anything from bullroarers and bagpipes to flutes and lutes. Or, if you prefer an analogy of living creature sounds, how about both great and small dogs and cats, great and small birds, and greater and lesser apes. Many of us communicate, across tribes and even across species, and none of us sound the same.
The question of whether the concepts within the Runes were translated phonetically or were translated according to their representative symbolism, using Ogham codes, is not going to lead to new and different schools of perfective diction so, despair, oh ye diction masters! Plenty of work has been done and is being done on the pronunciation. What we need is to understand the sense of the words. There needs to be some map to territory image that links our English words with the images depicted in our native ideographic language. To understand one another’s speech we need to have some meeting of the minds, to have some mental image in common. Otherwise, we are just making sounds and hoping that those to whom we are speaking understand our words as we mean them. When someone says, “It is like, well you know what I mean.”, this is a plea for the listener to have a mental image that is compatible with that of the speaker. The key word in that phrase is ‘like’, which indicates a similarity between or among things. The only possible way to gain that mental image in common is to know the actual sense of the words. And, yes, when you say, “I like you.” that is expressing that feeling of similarity.
What is ‘English’?
English is not one language, never has been, and never will be. It came from many languages and many peoples and has been adopted, in various forms by many peoples. Sometimes the dialects are scarcely recognizable as English.12The preponderant language, from which our original English language was developed, was a West Saxon dialect spoken by King Alfred the Great. Old English did not just grow spontaneously; it was carefully and deliberately translated from the peoples’ symbols (runes) into the Italic symbols. English was one of many languages developed during The Dark Ages. The Roman Empire had fallen and new nations were taking form. It was necessary to have a language that was compatible with Latin and yet was understood by the people. The glitch in this program is that the sounds of the language were, ostensibly13, translated phonetically. For the meaning of the words to maintain, the sounds would have to remain fairly unchanged, as would those things which the sounds represented. This was the Tenth Century and over four thousand years of tribal histories had gone before. Consistent, unchanging anythings is a highly unlikely scenario.
I personally doubt that the existing language was translated phonetically when it was changed into another symbol system (alphabet). Another, and more likely, possibility is that the various peoples communicated with a combination of one syllable words, gestures, and ideographic symbols, all of which depicted ideas and concepts instead of sounds. According to ‘The Venerable Bede’ (673-735 AD), there were five languages spoken by the people14in his England. The list includes English, British, Irish, Pict, Latin. This list doesn’t mention that many other languages were present, and that all of these languages belonged to several families: Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Semitic. There were three Celtic dialects, two Latin, at least five varieties of Germanic, two of Semitic. From the history of the area, there were undoubtedly more languages. One thing that most of the tribes had in common was the Runic ideographs, which were compatible with the Oghan symbols of the Celtoi. Some sources say that there was also considerable (for the times) Anglo Saxon literature before Christianity wiped out the runes in order to crush the pagan practices. The presence of a literature argues the existence of a more sophisticated level of ideation, not just gesturing and grunting monosyllables
The new language was given the form, and many of the tools which are required, to continue developing and to continue meeting the needs of an international community. The prime mover, King Ælfred, as a boy had been to Rome with his father. He had traveled and had a sense of what the larger world was like. While he was called “illiterate”, which usually meant ‘no Latin’, he read voraciously as a boy with his mother and later as a man, a father, and a warrior king. He was also a scholar, read philosophical works and translated some into his native language.15 The King’s English must reflect this mindset. And, it is highly unlikely that there would be no code to unlock the sense of the words, particularly when Bishop Ælfric, the translator, says in his own words that there is a code. He refers to it as “staffcraft” which is the term for rune writing.
I inserted this happy reference to King Ælfred, of blessed memory, partly as a note of encouragement before returning to the task at hand. We have a wonderful language of unimaginable breadth. It is strange that our scholars have decoded Egyptian hieroglyphics and Mayan and not tried to find the sense of English. Whenever possible, a word is shoe-horned into Latin, no matter how excruciating the fit. From what I have read of the language and seen of the text, it should be able to stand alone without being propped up by Latin. This quote was written about our language as it was over a thousand years ago. “Anglo-Saxon prose, however, if less interesting than Norse and Celtic, is at least capable and intelligent. It could do anything for which it had a mind, and a hundred years after Ælfred it attained a dignity and security of style not common in the Middle Ages”.16 At the time of Ælfred there was little prose literature, a situation which changed dramatically. He had to first provide a language with the basic tools and an immense capacity for using them. He had an impressive native language to start with. For literacy to florish, what he needed was a way to again make the written word available to his people. I say “again” because he was lamenting the decline in learning from what it once had been. He was determined to reestablish great learning in his realm.
The Irish version of the Italic alphabet was ideal. The Irish already had an ancient tradition of literacy, although not for everyone, through the bardic system of Druidism. The three classes in their religious system were Druids, Bards, and Vates. While literacy had not always been available to the common man, it was mightily respected and even feared. Words were the tool used to enforce the moral code. Satire was feared more than any weapon, as blade-wounds that heal with time; but, word- wounds can worsen with time. Since the time of King Connor MacNessa17, around the beginning of the common era, the power of words had become accessible to the common man in Ireland. With the coming of Christianity, Saint Patrick, and Saint Columba, small monastaries sprung up where monks and nuns learned the skills of writing and deciphering manuscripts in Latin, Greek, and other languages. Add these skills to their familiarity with local languages and they were probably a formidable force. The Irish Ogham alphabet also had a variant that was compatible with the Anglo-Saxon runestock. Now imagine putting these factors together and applying those monks to drafting a translation of King Alfred’s West Saxon language. Such a language and no code for deciphering the sense of the words? That is unlikely; but, it seems no one has been able to locate the code. The only thing to do is to start with where we are, and work our way back.
To date, I have yet to hear or read of anyone decoding our own English Language. There is a system for decoding Greco-Latin English constructs and the same problem obtains with that code systen: importance and emphasis are placed on sounds and spellings instead of on sense. While new English dialects hatch repeatedly and wonderful old words disappear continuously, the dictionaries are full of “probably, origin unknown, etymology uncertain, echoic, imitative in sound, and onomatopoeic”. Roughly translated, those comments boil down to ‘sense of the word is unknown’. The runes are still around and their meanings are known, We should be able to glean a sense of our language’s meaning.
Starting with the transliteration of runes given in Dr. Robert Burchfield’s book, “The English Language”18 I’m working to find the sense of some patterns by using, among other books in the bibliography, Nigel Pennick’s books about runes and other ideographic writing systems. My system is not particularly ‘scientific’ in method; but, I have yet to find anyone who has a system for doing such work. I disagree with much of what I have read about our language, seeing that it differs greatly from what I perceive to be so. A case in point being the denial of Celtic or Irish influence on English. Another is the emphasis on the importance and relevence of discrete alphabetic sounds instead of on imagery. Another is the insistence on stretching credulity to draw connections between English words and Greco-Latin constructs when all three appear to have come from a third, and much older, source.
The system I am using to decode the runic component is the one which we use to decode and encode our language: We combine letters to make elemental meanings (roots and affixes) and single-syllable words, then combine these simple words to make compound and complex words. Then we often contract words to blend the elements into shorter words with compounded meanings. One major difference is that I don’t wait until a recognizable word appears before I will attribute sense to the symbols. Since a few rudimentary elements of English are acknowledged to have a sense, I hold that the rest of them should be granted that potential. I’m using the runes in several ways, those in which we are currently using the alphabet. I am using sounds, but mainly as one of the guides to applicable runes, word elements, and related words. The runic imagery is a key to the sense of the words and elements. After gleaning what I can by observation, I check the Anglo-Saxon and Old English primers for their view about the sense of the words. Frequently some words are not listed. But, then, I’m not translating, I’m decoding. Plausibility forms my parameters. That, and a believeable story.
My objective is to find concrete images to give us a better sense of what we are saying. An illustration of this process is discussed under the rune of UR , which follows FEOH. I have never known what ‘but’ means despite having said the word and written it all of my life. It is the word for the kitchen doorway and literally means ‘to be outside’. ‘Ut’ means ‘out’ as in outside. When a person says, “I hear the ‘but’ in what you just said.”, you have made the point that your words contained an escape route, a way out, an alternate route. That is a strong referrent image. Our English language is full of these. Rune by rune, I’m working to find the connections between the ideograph and the sense it has in our language. I am finding that the rune often sheds light on the sense of some Greco-Latin constructs. A brief code to the runes is contained in this book and a bibliography is listed in case someone else wants to take up the task.
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- Judith has written (and re-written) the pages below, initially for a book and now for this website. These files are still under revision, and should not be treated as stable documents.