Old literary languages

The place to discuss extinct languages.

Old literary languages

Postby Delodephius » Thu 10 Dec 2009 1:48 am

I'm creating a list of languages that fall into the following criteria more or less:
1. are extinct, used only as secondary languages or a language of higher education, or used for religious purposes;
2. there is sufficient amount of literature written in them, the literature should be of religious, philosophical, scientific or historic character;
3. if they have descendants they must be from an earlier stage of the language, they should be only partially comprehensible to a modern lay speaker;
4. anything else can be added.

The list is incomplete and I require assistance filling it up. I need help with dates and literary dialects.


Old Slavonic
1. Proto Church Slavonic (862-885 AD)
2. Old Church Slavonic (9-11th c. AD)
3. Church Slavonic (11-18th c. AD)
a) Serbian
b) Bulgarian
c) Macedonian
d) Croatian
e) Czech
f) East Slavic [Russian, Ruthenian]
4. New/Reformed Church Slavonic (18th c. AD - present)

Latin
1. Old Latin (until 75 BC)
2. Classical Latin (75 BC - 2nd c. AD)
3. Late Latin (2-9th c. AD)
4. Medieval Latin (9-14th c. AD)
5. Renaissance Latin (14-16th c. AD)
6. New Latin (16th c. AD - present)
a) Ecclesiastical
b) Secular
c) Spoken (reconstructed)

Greek
1. Ancient Greek (8-3rd c. BC)
2. Koine Greek (3rd c. BC - 3rd c. AD)
3. Medieval Greek (3-15th c. AD)

Irish
1. Old Irish (6-11th c. AD)
2. Middle Irish (11-13th c. AD)

Old English (6-11th c. AD)

Old Norse (8-14th c. AD)

Gothic (4-6th c. AD)

Old French (10-14th c. AD)

Sanskrit
1. Vedic Sanskrit (until 4th c. BC)
2. Classical Sanskrit (4th c. BC - present)

Pāli

Jain Prakrit [Ardhamāgadhī]

Iranian
1. Old Avestan [Gathic]
2. Young Avestan
3. Old Persian (7-3rd c. BC)
4. Middle Persian (3rd c. BC - 9th c. AD)
5. Sogdian ( - 9th c. AD)
6. New Persian (9th c. AD - present)
a) Classical
b) Contemporary

Old/Classical Armenian (5-18th c. AD)

Hittite (16-12th c. BC)

Tocharian ( - 9th c. AD)
1. Tocharian A [Turfanian, Arsi, East Tocharian]
2. Tocharian B [Kuchean, West Tocharian]

Sumerian
1. Archaic Sumerian (31-26th c. BC)
2. Old/Classical Sumerian (26-23rd c. BC)
3. Neo-Sumerian (23-20th c. BC)
4. Late Sumerian (20-18th c. BC)
5. Post-Sumerian (18-1st c. BC)

Elamite (30-4th c. BC)

Akkadian
1. Old Akkadian (26-20th c. BC)
2. Old Babylonian/Old Assyrian (20-16th c. BC)
3. Middle Babylonian/Middle Assyrian (16-11th c. BC)
4. Neo-Babylonian/Neo-Assyrian (11-7th c. BC)
5. Late Babylonian (7th c. BC - 3rd c. AD)

Aramaic
1. Old Aramaic (12th c. BC - 2nd c. AD)
a) Imperial Aramaic (6-3rd c. BC)
2. Middle Aramaic (2-12th c. AD)
a) Mandaic (2nd c. AD - present)
b) Middle Syriac (4-8th c. AD)
c) Jewish Middle Babylonian (4-11th c. AD)
d) Samaritan Aramaic (4-11th c. AD)

Hebrew
1. Archaic Biblical Hebrew (10-6th c. BC)
2. Biblical/Classical Hebrew (6th c. BC)
3. Late Biblical Hebrew (6-4th c. BC)
4. Dead Sea Scrolls/Qumran Hebrew (4th c. BC - 1st c. AD)
5. Mishnaic Hebrew (1-4th c. AD)
6. Medieval Hebrew (4th c. AD - present)
a) Tiberian
b) Sephardi
c) Yemenite
d) Mizrahi
e) Ashkenazi
f) Samaritan Hebrew

Arabic
1. Classical Arabic (4-9th c. AD)
2. Standard Arabic (9th c. AD - present)

Egyptian
1. Archaic Egyptian (32-26th c. BC)
2. Old Ehyptian (26-20th c. BC)
3. Middle Egyptian (20-13th c. BC)
4. Late Egyptian (13-7th c. BC)
5. Demotic (7th c. BC - 5th c. AD)
6. Coptic (1-17th c. AD)

Ethiopian [Ge’ez]
1. Proto Ge’ez (8th c. BC - 5th c. AD)
2. Aksumite/Classical Ge’ez (5-7th c. AD)
3. Post Ge’ez (13th c. AD - present)

Chinese
1. Classical Chinese (10th c. BC - 3rd c. AD)
2. Literary Chinese (3-20th c. AD)

Japanase
1. Classical Japanese (10-12th c. AD)
2. Post-Classical Japanese (12-19th c. AD)

Classical Tibetan

Chagatai
1. Pre-Classical Chagatai (14th c. - 1465 AD)
2. Classical Chagatai (1465 - 17th c. AD)
3. Post-Classical Chagatai (17th c. - 1921 AD)

Ottoman Turkish
1. Old Ottoman Turkish (until 16th c. AD)
2. Middle/Classical Ottoman Turkish (16th c. - 1850’s AD)
3. New Ottoman Turkish (1850’s - 1920’s AD)

Tamil
1. Classical Tamil (6th c. BC - 3rd c. AD)
2. Middle Tamil (8-13th c. AD)
3. Literary Tamil (13th c. AD - present)

Kannada
1. Pre-Old Kannada (until 9th c. AD)
2. Old Kannada (9-14th c. AD)
3. Middle Kannada (14-18th c. AD)
4. Modern Kannada (18th c. AD - present)

Telugu
1. Classical Telugu (10-11th c. AD)
2. Post-Classical Telugu

Classical Nahuatl (until 16th c. AD)

Classical K’iche (until 16th c. AD)

Classical Maya (until 16th c. AD)

Old/Classical Tupi (16-19th c. AD)

Classical Otomi (16th c. AD)
- Latina Ἑλληνική संस्कृतम् पाळि עִבְרִית پارسيک الفصحى 文言 Norrœnt
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Neqitan » Thu 10 Dec 2009 2:12 am

Old Spanish (13-15 c. AD)
Delodephius wrote:Classical Maya (until 16th c. AD)

The earliest record that has been found is from around the end of the 2nd century.
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Delodephius » Fri 11 Dec 2009 12:34 am

Parthian (3rd c. BC - after 3rd c. AD)

Old East Slavic (10-15th c. AD)
Slavoserbian (18-19th c. AD)
- Latina Ἑλληνική संस्कृतम् पाळि עִבְרִית پارسيک الفصحى 文言 Norrœnt
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Delodephius » Mon 11 Jan 2010 10:36 pm

Anyone know some more?

Next project of mine will be to make a list of the most important literary works in those languages. I think that will occupy me for couple of years. :D
- Latina Ἑλληνική संस्कृतम् पाळि עִבְרִית پارسيک الفصحى 文言 Norrœnt
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby formiko » Mon 11 Jan 2010 11:29 pm

Delodephius wrote:Anyone know some more?

Next project of mine will be to make a list of the most important literary works in those languages. I think that will occupy me for couple of years. :D


That could definitely be a subject for a masters or doctoral dissertation.
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Sobekhotep » Tue 12 Jan 2010 1:47 am

Delodephius wrote:Anyone know some more?

How about Kawi/Old Javanese? The earliest inscription is from 804 & the language developed into Middle Javanese by the 13th century.
There's plenty of literature in Kawi & it's still used in wayang & also sometimes in traditional Javanese wedding ceremonies.
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Talib » Tue 12 Jan 2010 2:46 am

Delodephius wrote:Slavoserbian (18-19th c. AD)
What's this? An old form of Serbo-Croat?
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Delodephius » Tue 12 Jan 2010 3:51 am

Talib wrote:
Delodephius wrote:Slavoserbian (18-19th c. AD)
What's this? An old form of Serbo-Croat?

A mixture of Serbian, Russian and Church Slavonic. It was formed after Serbian exiles in Austro-Hungary called for teachers from Russia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavoserbian

Here is an example of this language (from an article written by a Serbian priest that deals with the relationship between Slavoserbian and Sanskrit; I can't find the date but it was from the early 19th century):

На великомъ свѣта простору живе 5 главніихъ Човѣчіихъ Родова, кои и тѣлесно и душевно весма различна имаю свойства. Свыма тыма найдревніе Отечество была є Асіа, обща домовина изображенія ньиховог’. Ту є колевка стародревном’ Индійскоме єзыку, светоме єзыку Браміна, общем’ извору свію Індіе єзыка. Име нѣгово Санскрітъ знаменуе извѣстанъ, опредѣленъ, усовершенъ єзыкъ. Онъ има 50 писмена (буквій), у склоненіяма 3 рода, 3 числа и 8 падежа; у сопряженіяма 3 вида, 7 наклоненія и 6 времена. Сѵнтаксісъ му є простъ, сасвымъ по правилама Логіке удешенъ. Неброена составленія рѣчій отвараю Стіхотворцу беспредѣлно полѣ. Што є нашима Ученыма Латінскій, то є Брамінама Санскрітскій єзыкъ. Онъ є и у само свеобщега распространенія свога време быо текъ преимущество ветьихъ и знатніихъ Чинова; простъ Народъ говоріо є особитымъ своимъ простачкимъ нарѣчіемъ, кое се звало Пракрітскимъ, кое знаменуе природанъ, самообразованъ єзыкъ, изъ онога истога кореня но у неустроеной форми.
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Yaziq » Wed 13 Jan 2010 9:13 pm

I'm really surprised to Czech on your list. Isn't Czech a completely modern language used in all transactions of the Czech Republic?
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Re: Old literary languages

Postby Delodephius » Wed 13 Jan 2010 9:23 pm

Pay attention to the list a little better. Czech is sub-categorized under Church Slavonic. It was a short lived attempt to write Czech with Croatian Glagolitic in the 14-15th century. Couple of Bibles and other texts exist in it. It is distinct from the Biblical Czech (bibličtina, biblická čeština) written in the Latin alphabet at about the same time and still used in most Czech churches as well as some Lutheran churches in Slovakia (my local church switched to Slovak some 30-20 years ago and we still have a whole ton of Biblical Czech books written in the Schwabacher script at home). This Biblical Czech is not that different from Modern Czech and is almost identical, except it's full of archaisms. I'm not sure if I should put it on the list, but if so then:

5. Biblical Czech (15th c. AD - present)
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