Standardized orthography is a relatively recent phenomenon. If you study extinct languages such as Old English or Old High German, you discover that glossaries list variant spellings for many words. In the so-called Dark Ages (and even in the Middle Ages), literate people were few and far between. Scribes who chose to write in their native tongues rather than in Latin simply spelled words as they sounded, and words were often pronounced differently in various parts of a country. In some parts of Germany, for instance, the name Brunhild was pronounced (and spelled) Prunhild!
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