For the next couple of weeks, Hearing International will investigate the relationship between Younger Futhark and Audiology.  Even the best informed American audiologists have probably not heard about the fundamentals of this relationship.  It is likely, however, that Danish audiological physicians, Danish hearing aid and cell phone manufacturers, and other Scandinavians may have heard the story of Younger Futhark.

The relationship between Audiology and Younger Futhark begins in the era when the Vikings ruled Scandinavia as well as many other areas of the known and unknkown world.  Viking Grune (2012) describes Younger Futhark not as a king or a Viking warrior, but as a language that was taught only to elite and connected individuals.  The language still exists in some parts of Scandinavia and was very visible in old Viking Age settlements across Scandinavia, where it was written on some 6,000 stones  called “Runestones.”

Only about 350 inscriptions have survived the test of time. Some of these incriptions were very historic and extremely formal, while others were simply casual notes.  One of the most important of the Runestones is still located in a church in Jelling, Denmark. A major population center and the seat of gevernment during the Viking era, Jelling  is now a small city in the east of Jutland ( the Danish peninsula).

According to Viking Grune (2012), the larger of the Jelling stones is the biggest and most magnificent runic stone in Scandinavia. Since it is inscribed with Christian symbols, figures of Christ, and many runic letters, it is often referred to  as “Denmarks’s Birth Certificate.”

The Jelling runic stones are located on the south side of the Jelling Church.  According to Frank (2003), the church, the mounds, and the runic stones all date back to the 10th century and are treasured historic symbols of the founding of Denmark and the Danish Monarchy.  The Jelling Stone was erected for King Goram the Old and his Queen Thyra in 965 by their son Harald Blåtand (Harald I of Denmark).  Goram began an unbroken line of descent leading to today’s Danish monarch, Queen Margrethe II, which makes the Danish Royal family the world’s oldest.

Frank (2003) states that the current church building is not the original wooden structure. It burned to the ground, as did two other successor wooden churches over the years. This prompted a change in the main building material to stone. The grave of King Gorm the Old is also inside the church, beneath a sterling silver “Z” in the black granite floor.  In addition to the runic stone, the original church and  the nearby mounds were erected by Harald Blåtand. 

Beckman and Hirsch (2004) write that Harald Blåtand or Harald I was a great communicator who used these skills to unite the various Danish tribes of Denmark into a single kingdom, which also controlled Norway. Blåtand means dark , and it’s believed that he got his name from his very dark hair, which was unusual for a Viking. A more popular (but less likely) reason, was that Harald had a inclination toward eating blueberries, so much so that his teeth became stained, leaving him with a rather unique set of blue molars.

Next week, we will see just how important those blue molars were as we continue to investigate the connection between Younger Futhark and Audiology.

 

References:

Beckman, D. & Hirsch, D. (2004). Talking bluetooth. aba Journal Retrieved:  January 15, 2012:  http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/talking_bluetooth/

Answers.com (2012).  Why was the the Bluetooth standard named after King Harald.  Retrieved January 15, 2012:  Q/Why_was_Bluetooth_standard_named_after_King_Harald

Frank, L., (2003).  Denmark, Jelling mounds, runic stones, and church. World Heritage.  Retrieved January 12, 2012:  http://leonardfrank.com/worldheritage/Jelling.html

Stenager, E. (2012). King Harald Blantand.  www.fortidensjelling.dk.  Retrieved January 15, 2012:  http://www.fortidensjelling.dk/jellinge5.htm

Viking Grune (2012). Younger Futhark runes and later development.   Retrieved January 15, 2012: http://www.vikingrune.com/2008/11/younger-futhark-runes/