THE ELDER FUTHARK
 
The eighth Rune of the Second Ætt of the Elder Futhark
(for more information on the First Ætt per se, go to
http://runesecrets.net/profiles/blogs/the-second-eight)

This is an installment in a series covering each and every Rune of the Elder Futhark. In this series, instead of giving the esoteric meaning of the Rune by citing the Rune poems written in Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon (a.k.a. Old English), or any modern commentary, the etymology of the Rune name is presented.



2:8 SOWILO                    
     

                                      
                             S
                        S
                   S
              S
                 S
                    S
                       S
                          S
                             S
                                S
                            S
                       S
                 S
           

Pronunciations: “soh-wee-loh” with the primary stress on first syllable “soh,” and secondary stress on last syllable “loh,” unless there were no secondary vs. primary stress dynamic, but just one main expiratory push of air on first syllable “soh,” and then the word dwindled in the wake of that push, thus “loh” having less of that stress-energy left over than “wee” would have had. See the handbooks of the German philologists of the 19th and 20th centuries for their remarks on the “expiratory” nature of the Germanic accent, e.g, Streitberg, and also, in English, Prokosch; and Sievers; so on and on...



Writing: The SOWILO stave stands for the /s/ phoneme, that is, the sound of “s” as in “sun” or “stun.” Allophonically, phoneme /s/ alternated in Proto-Germanic between the sounds [s] and [z] (the aforementioned “s” and “z” an in “zebra” or “jazz”). Use the SOWILO stave to write the s-sound and, actually, the z-sound, too. This is because the rune that seems to be the z-rune, ALGIZ, is a rune with its sound embedded in the morphology (case endings) and diachronic phonology of Old Germanic (it could be [z] or a palatal R or, later on, a trilled alveolar R). Furthermore, the phoneme of the ALGIZ rune only appeared at the end of word, unlike English “z”. Therefore, to repeat, SOWILO is the rune to use for the z-sound (as well as the s-sound); not ALIGIZ. Beware of confusing the s of the English digraph “sh” for SOWILO. Historically in Germanic, the sound represented by the letters “sh” comes from a combination of SOWILO “s” and then HAGALAZ “h” - the S as in “snake” then the “chchch” sound like in Scottish “loch” and German “Bach.” This “ssschchch” combination became reanalyzed as what we write “sh.” In German this same reanalysis took place, but the it is with not a digraph but with the TRIgraph “sch” that the historical SOWILO + HAGALAZ consonant cluster is written. One more advisery: Sometimes in English  the letter Z stands for that sound of “z” as in “azure.” This particular Z does not represent one of the allophones of SOWILO’s phoneme /s/. As for how to represent this sound of “z” as in “azure” in runes, a good example comes from German orthography, which would use its equivalent of the SOWILO + HAGALAZ cluster that we’ve already discussed - what is expressed as “sh” in English and “sch” in German. So, represent the sound of “z” as in “azure” with SOWILO + HAGALAZ. At least, that is one way of doing so rested on sound history and comparisons of orthographies.


Etymology: SOWILO is Proto-Germanic for “sun,” or perhaps even “solar deity,” which would be either masculine or feminine depending on the cultural group using the word. For instance, Old Norse “Sol” is feminine; Latin “Sol” is masculine.  According to The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots [1985; Watkins, Calvert; Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston], this root goes back to Indo-European sāwel-, with variants of s(u)wel-, su(ə)el-, su(ə)en-, sun-, meaning “the sun.” From the root and its variants you can see that that the real or “deeper” root was /s/ followed by one or more vocalic elements (vowels or glides), and then /l/ or /n/ was tacked on. Old Norse “Sol” and Latin “Sol” represent the l-stems; Old Norse sunna, German Sonne (feminine) and English sun represent the n-stems. Old Church Slavonic slǔnǐce (neuter!) and Polish słońce seem to preserve elements of all the Indo-Europeans variants, perhaps indicating that the Indo-European root was really a single version containing both the N and L elements: ¿¿¿sāwelen??? ...or a triconsonantal root SLN??? [concerning such roots, see http://www.linguexperience.com/A_Linguistics_Experience/Morphology.html]

In German the word for Sun is feminine (Sonne) and the word for Moon is masculine (Mond), whereas in the non-Germanic and more conservatively Indo-European language Latin the word for Sun is masculine (Sol) and the word for Moon is feminine (Luna). I would like to propose this difference is culture, owing to the same cultural dichotomy previously discussed in regards to the Æsir/Indo-Europeans and the Vanir/Old Europeans.

OTHER REFERENCES
Kluge’s Etymologisches Wörterbuch (23rd Edition)
The University of Texas as Austin Linguistics Research Center
    http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/
the “Kurgan Hypothesis” of Marija Gimbutas (see her works)
Vǫluspá of the Poetic/Elder Edda



...Now, NOTICE the entire semantic domain covered by SOWILO through time. Let this be the MYSTICAL MEANING of SOWILO. Study it and ABSORB it.

AUTHOR: Francis Tokarski
www.linguexperience.com
www.runesecrets.net

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