--- In norse_course@yahoogroups.com, "akoddsson" <konrad_oddsson@...>
> But, even as much as I
> would never want to disagree with the 1st, he was definitely wrong
> about one thing - he write 'rúnar uísa óskýrt'. Totally
false, at
> least in his time (early 12th).

What do you think to Einar Haugen's comment that 'rúnar' is just a
stylistic variant of 'stafir' and 'látínustafir' here?

Nú má verða at því, at nǫkkurr svari svá: `Ek
má fullvel lesa danska tungu, þó at látínustǫfum
réttum sé ritit. Má ek þó at líkindum ráða, hvé
kveða skal, þó at eigi sé allir stafir réttræðir í
því, er ek les. Rœki ek eigi, hvárt þú rítr [ǫ]
þítt eða a, [e] eða ę, y ok u.' En ek svara svá:
Eigi er þat rúnanna kostr, þó at þú lesir vel eða
ráðir vel at líkindum; þar sem rúnar vísa óskyrt.

Admittedly, he mentions a suggestion by Magnus Olsen that the First
Grammarian's use of the word 'rúnar' might be intended to "exress a
certain scorn of his opponents' practice". As far as I can see, if the
First Grammarian did have a low opinion of runes, it might make sense to
interpret the word as refering here to what we would call runes, as if
to say: "You might claim you can read letters without accents and still
figure out the meaning, but consider this: you can *even* read the runic
letters--and you wouldn't call them an adequate writing system." Or
does the definite article make it more likely that he's referring back
to the Latin letters he's just mentioned? Are there any examples where
'rúnar' is used unambiguously of Latin letters? Can we read anything
into his example:

'runar heita geltir, en rúnar málstafir'
"male pigs are called boars, but letters are called runes"

Einar Haugen's translation implies that 'rúnar' is synonymous with
'málstafir'. But perhaps that's not necessarily the case, given
examples like: 'öl heitir drykkr' "beer is a drink", "there is a
drink called ale". Would it be equally possible to interpret the above
as "there are (some) letters (which are) called runes"?