Remains for study

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Remains for study

Postby Delodephius » Tue 05 May 2009 1:10 am

I was just wondering, of how many and which extinct languages today we have remains of some sort, like inscriptions, glossaries, manuscripts, etc.? Of those that have been deciphered and of those that have been not, as long as it can be said to which language the particular remain belongs to, if it was for example named by someone. Like for example Etruscan. We know the language is Etruscan because we have historical evidence to support that, but the language has not yet been deciphered, at least to anyone's satisfaction.
The only languages I would exclude are those which today are used for some purpose besides a scientific one (or just out of pure interest), like a religious one (Latin, Koine Greek, Church Slavonic, Coptic, Sanskrit, Pali, etc.). Such languages are in a way, at least semi-alive.

I was thinking more of languages as follows:

Ancient Egyptian
Ancient Greek
Bactrian
Sumerian
Akkadian
Elamite
Ugaritic
Hittite
Luwian
Hurrian
Urartian
Lydian
Lycian
Carian
Gothic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Turkic
Old Norse
Old English
Old Irish
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Re: Remains for study

Postby dtp883 » Tue 05 May 2009 1:42 am

You left off Hebrew which was until the beginning of the 20th century extinct. The modern language also differs from the ancient a little. There are many inscriptions (like the Tanakh).
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Delodephius » Tue 05 May 2009 1:48 am

Yes but it isn't extinct today. Plus it is a language which is used for religious purposes. What I mean is, it is used, it's not totally dead.

And I was thinking more of languages that have been extinct for a longer period of time, let's say for over a half a millennium.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Neqitan » Tue 05 May 2009 3:13 am

Why did you only include languages from the European and Mashreqi areas?!? :x

Where's the love for Old Persian, Middle Persian, Old Chinese, Middle Chinese, Old Tamil and others??? :evil:
The only languages I would exclude are those which today are used for some purpose besides a scientific one (or just out of pure interest), like a religious one (Latin, Koine Greek, Church Slavonic, Coptic, Sanskrit, Pali, etc.). Such languages are in a way, at least semi-alive.

And yes, I don't fully understand what you mean with that.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby dtp883 » Tue 05 May 2009 3:51 am

Phoenician?
Old French?
Old Spanish?
Middle French?
Middle English?

Except for a few your list seems to be centered on a specific region.

P.S.
Old Church Slavonic is still used as a liturgical language ;)
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Tue 05 May 2009 3:57 am

Among the major ones you missed are:

Archaic Chinese, which has been reconstructed and phonetically differs somewhat from any of the modern Sino-Tibetan languages.
Classical Mayan, which is slightly different from any of the modern Mayan languages.
Tocharian.

In the undeciphered category, we have:

Rapanui, in the form of the undeciphered rongorongo inscriptions.
Epi-Olmec, for which there is a disputed claim of decipherment as a Mixe-Zoquean language.
Proto-Elamite, which probably differs from Elamite.
The Meroitic script, for which, AFAIK, the language is not identified.
The Indus Valley script, for which there are conflicting claims.
And we have insufficient data to identify the language depicted on the Phaistos Disc.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Delodephius » Tue 05 May 2009 10:51 am

dtp883 wrote:P.S.
Old Church Slavonic is still used as a liturgical language ;)


That would be Church Slavonic. Go check the other topic in this section:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=60

Why did you only include languages from the European and Mashreqi areas?!?

I'm an Eurocentric. Sue me. :P

And yes, I don't fully understand what you mean with that.


Languages used for example in the church are used every day and even though they have no native speakers they have many more speakers than for example some language scientists can barely understand. Compare Latin to Ancient Egyptian. Such languages have an extensive amount of texts, and I personally don't find that interesting. I like languages which are known poorly and require a lot of imagination and research to study. It's easy when it is all served on a platter.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Declan » Tue 05 May 2009 5:32 pm

There is a large amount of Old Irish available, because all the monks glossed the Latin manuscripts in Old Irish in the margins. There are also original manuscripts in Old Irish I think, but certainly the glossing of the Latin manuscripts provided a huge amount of data.

And Ancient Greek, although an extemely broad term, is hardly lacking in material. I don't really know why you put that in your list.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Delodephius » Tue 05 May 2009 6:16 pm

I regret I started this topic. Looks like no one got what I was aiming at. I think I expressed myself insufficiently and incorrectly.

Ancient Greek, isn't lacking in material, but only in some areas. I mentioned New Testament Greek or Koine Greek. That area or period of Ancient Greek falls out, but other areas don't: Classical Greek, Homeric Greek, Mycenaean (Linear B) Greek, etc. There is material for these, but they are very distant (temporally) and in a way obscure, particularly the older ones like Linear B. So yes, I should have only mentioned Linear B Greek.
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Re: Remains for study

Postby Neqitan » Wed 06 May 2009 1:28 am

dtp883 wrote:Old French?
Old Spanish?
Middle French?

Oh no! The medieval Western Romance languages mess again! >.< Those texts that no one's completely sure if it's Old Catalan or Old Provençal, those texts that are usually not taken into account in Medieval Spanish from southern Spain written in Aljamiado, etc, etc.

Old Catalan, Old Provençal, Old Portuguese (or was it Old Portuguese-Galician?), Mozarabic, plus the diversity inside the Langues d'oil and all the Italian varieties!
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