In this paper I focus on writing norms associated with runic script, bringing into the discussion a largely unused source to Medieval writing, namely inscriptions written in Roman script.
Not marking a nasal consonant before a plosive, not marking double consonants, not repeating a rune in initial position if it is same as the preceding rune, not marking word division or marking by using a sign rather than space, and the use of ligatures – these are examples of “habits” seen often enough in runic inscriptions to be viewed as part of a writing norm. (Not often enough to be a rule, but being acceptable practise.) Some are also found in manuscript writing, such as the use of ligatures. And all (except using a sign to mark word division) are connected to economising. Others, like not marking double consonants, even though this is also seen in manuscript writing, are still often seen as more exclusively “runic”. But are they “runic norms”? Might they not rather be part of a writing norm for inscriptions? I discuss this by giving examples from both runic and Roman script inscriptions, and from manuscript writing. also foman script inscriptions, as well as manuscript writing.
Inscriptions where Roman script is used are rarely mentioned or considered in relation to medieval writing and textual culture. But when studied in more detail and in higher numbers, they will – I believe – shed light on several of the Erkennungsinteressen connected to the field of runology.