Elder Futhark (2nd to 8th centuries)
|ᚢ||u||/u(ː)/||?*ūruz||“aurochs” (or *ûram “water/slag”?)|
|ᚦ||þ||/θ/, /ð/||?*þurisaz||“the god Thor, giant“|
|ᚨ||a||/a(ː)/||*ansuz||“one of the Æsir (gods)”|
|ᚲ||k (c)||/k/||?*kaunan||“ulcer”? (or *kenaz “torch”?)|
|ᚺ ᚻ||h||/h/||*hagalaz||“hail” (the precipitation)|
|ᛃ||j||/j/||*jēra-||“year, good year, harvest”|
|ᛈ||p||/p/||?*perþ-||meaning unclear, perhaps “pear-tree”.|
|ᛉ||z||/z/||?*algiz||unclear, possibly “elk“.|
|ᛏ||t||/t/||*tīwaz/*teiwaz||“the god Tiwaz“|
|ᛚ||l||/l/||*laguz||“water, lake” (or possibly *laukaz “leek”)|
|ᛜ ᛝ||ŋ||/ŋ/||*ingwaz||“the god Ingwaz“|
|ᛟ||o||/o(ː)/||*ōþila-/*ōþala-||“heritage, estate, possession”|
Anglo-Saxon runes (5th to 11th centuries)
“Marcomannic runes” (8th to 9th centuries)
A runic alphabet consisting of a mixture of Elder Futhark with Anglo-Saxon futhorc recorded in a treatise called De Inventione Litterarum, ascribed to Hrabanus Maurus and preserved in 8th- and 9th-century manuscripts mainly from the southern part of the Carolingian Empire (Alemannia, Bavaria).
Younger Futhark (9th to 11th centuries)
The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian Futhark, is a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, consisting of only 16 characters. The reduction correlates with phonetic changes when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse. They are found in Scandinavia and Viking Agesettlements abroad, probably in use from the 9th century onward. They are divided into long-branch (Danish) and short-twig (Swedish and Norwegian) runes. The difference between the two versions is a matter of controversy. A general opinion is that the difference between them was functional (i.e., the long-branch runes were used for documentation on stone, whereas the short-branch runes were in everyday use for private or official messages on wood).
Medieval runes (12th to 15th centuries)
In the Middle Ages, the Younger Futhark in Scandinavia was expanded, so that it once more contained one sign for each phoneme of the Old Norse language. Dotted variants of voiceless signs were introduced to denote the corresponding voiced consonants, or vice versa, voiceless variants of voiced consonants, and several new runes also appeared for vowel sounds. Inscriptions in medieval Scandinavian runes show a large number of variant rune forms, and some letters, such as s, c, and z often were used interchangeably.
Medieval runes were in use until the 15th century. Of the total number of Norwegian runic inscriptions preserved today, most are medieval runes.
Dalecarlian runes (16th to 19th centuries)
The Dalecarlian runes are a mix of runes and Latin letters developed in the isolated province of Dalarna in the early 16th century and remained in some use up to the 20th century.