Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

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2
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0answers
57 views

What is the origin of language? [on hold]

The use of language is one of the most conspicuous and diagnostic traits that distinguish Homo sapiens from other species. Unlike writing, spoken language leaves no trace.Can we get a direct method in ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Could any Habsburg kings of Hungary speak Hungarian?

From 1526 to 1918, Hungary was ruled by the Habsburgs. Could any of the Habsburg kings speak Hungarian, and if so, to what degree? I know that Sissi, the consort of Franz Joseph I, was particularly ...
1
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3answers
126 views

Why did Latin take root so deeply in Italy, Gaul, and the Iberian Peninsula, but not Greece or beyond?

I was just reflecting on the fact that Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French all evolved from Latin, the language spread across that area by the Roman Empire 2000 years ago. (Romanian too, I ...
10
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1answer
130 views

“The signal on the Zibby is dead” - what is the meaning of “Zibby”?

I am line editing a book about World War II and the Battle of the Coral Sea. The action is taking place in the front and rear cockpits of a Devastator torpedo-bomber aircraft. The pilot and gunner ...
25
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5answers
3k views

Why does Romanian culture have Latin influences?

Romania is located between Bulgaria, Serbia on one side and Ukraine/many Slavic countries on the other. Romanian is however a Romance (Latin) language, and not Slavic. They don't use the Cyrillic ...
6
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3answers
171 views

Did the passage from Latin to English, in England, help science flourish?

On a YouTube video about the origins of English, they said that replacing Latin with English in science was beneficial to the field; scientists were thus able to easily discuss and understand the ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

Did the Byzantine Empire use Roman numerals?

Wikipedia says about Byzantine emperor Heraclius that he was responsible for "introducing Greek as the Eastern Empire's official language". If so, is it right to assume that Byzantines used Roman ...
6
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1answer
233 views

What does it mean: “French was a lingua franca in the Ottoman caliphal court?”

According to the Economist: The Ottoman caliphate: Straddling two worlds Ruling from Istanbul, the caliphs kept polyglot courts, reflecting the multiple religions and races represented there. ...
2
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0answers
67 views

How did French people greet in 1400? [closed]

How did French people greet in 1400? In particular I'm looking for french expressions that a peasant like Saint Joan of Arc could have used to greet a friend.
4
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1answer
225 views

Who was the last English king whose first language was French?

What I remember from my college course is that whenever a delegation of barons came to discuss their grievances in English, the King would hear them out politely without understanding a word, conclude ...
4
votes
3answers
167 views

Why is the motto of the Swedish university Chalmers in French: avancez?

Is there a historical reason for the fact that Chalmers university uses a French motto and not a Swedish one?
3
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2answers
123 views

What was the first book translated from Japanese to any of the European languages?

What was the first Japanese book translated and published in one of the European languages? By "first" I mean the date of translation, not the original.
13
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5answers
3k views

How and when was Portugal created?

We all know that the Iberian peninsula is separated between two major countries Spain and Portugal. My question is when and how was the country now known as Portugal formed? I mean yes they have an ...
7
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2answers
204 views

When did English become a major subject in Japanese schools?

I used to think older Japanese people wouldn't have studied English at school, and recently came across someone who thought likewise (link available on request). A middle-aged Japanese person told me ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

When were both minuscule and majuscule letters used for the first time in the same Latin manuscript?

I understand the first minuscule script appeared in the Latin alphabet in the 3rd century - "New Roman cursive". My question is: when did a script used both minuscule and majuscule letters in the ...
9
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the history of the use of word dividers in Greek?

In my understanding, Ancient Greek was usually written with a vertical line or three vertical dots separating words. This was phased out in favor of scriptio continua (continuous script) and ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Does written language change language more than oral tradition? [closed]

I'm not sure if this is a right forum, but I didn't find better from SE. I wonder if it is researched how much development of writing systems affects to language compared to languages that are not ...
5
votes
1answer
249 views

Oh the humanity!

I notice that during the legendary on-the-spot broadcast (and resulting newsreel) of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 features the exclamation from the broadcaster "Oh, the humanity!". Is this the ...
0
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1answer
98 views

Where can I find a reliable method of translating English to Ancient Egyptian? [closed]

Having no prior knowledge of the language I am working on a project that requires me to name things using languages similar to ancient Egyptian. So far I have been using this website: ...
8
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6answers
2k views

What does the inscription on this sword mean?

The British Library has a 13th century sword with unknown inscription. They recently started a call to arms to translate the inscription. The inscription reads: NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI Its meaning is ...
7
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1answer
546 views

Why is German spoken in Upper Valais?

The Swiss region of Upper Valais is a German speaking region which is physically isolated from all other German speaking regions. The dialect spoken there is so different from other Swiss-German ...
8
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3answers
273 views

What was the most northern region/city in the Roman Empire that spoke Greek as the native language?

My understanding is that prior to the migrations/invasions of the Goths, Huns and Sklavenoi into the Balkan peninsula, Greek and Latin where the most common native languages, alongside other steadily ...
1
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1answer
79 views

Did ancient peoples apply starch to clothing?

Source: See p 6 of 10 of the PDFs, first leftward para. Beware that p 6 of the PDF is labelled as p 18 on the document itself. The English name of starch, as well as its equivalent in German, ...
2
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1answer
184 views

How do historians decide who to refer to as 'the allies?'

In many major wars one side has been branded collectively as the allies. In WWI and WWII we refer to the American/British coalition as the allies. I have heard Rome both fighting against the 'allies' ...
2
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2answers
472 views

How did Napoleon I succeed in France despite his shortcomings in French?

TL;DR. My question: The following sources onfirm that despite Napoleon's industry and perseverance, he never refined his French to the level of a native fluent speaker. So how did he succeed in ...
1
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1answer
158 views

What are the modern names of the nations mentioned in Ystoria Mongalorum?

Giovanni Carpini in his Ystoria Mongalorum lists as factions under the dominion of the Mongol Empire: Nations that have been subjugated: Meniti Colona-Thorati Sassi Thoas Sarthi ...
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9answers
8k views

Why did English become Lingua Franca of the modern world? [closed]

According to a guy on Quora: English became the lingua-franca of the world because of the United states and not England. But, throughout the 17th and 18th century, many Europeans (English, ...
4
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1answer
260 views

Historically, how did people living in distant regions communicate?

For example, how did Marco Polo manage to communicate with the Chinese and the Mongolians during his travels? Did he learn Chinese? Did he manage to find a Chinese translator somehow? Was there a ...
-1
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1answer
97 views

Morse code is a ternary human-optimised code, is there a binary, non-machine optimised code? [closed]

http://cs.stackexchange.com/questions/34067/is-morse-code-without-spaces-uniquely-decipherable Discusses how Morse code isn't very clear without the third (usually) unseen element, the space. Is ...
5
votes
1answer
920 views

What's the etymology of the name of the Schengen village?

The Luxembourg village of Schengen is noted for being the site where European leaders signed the historic Schengen Agreement. The village is named for its 1390 castle. Where does the name "Schengen" ...
6
votes
3answers
213 views

State of temporary recklessness of ancient Greeks

It was once explained to me that in ancient Greece when a person was reflecting on their own action that they later recognised as reckless or shameful, they would say that the gods have "blinded" them ...
6
votes
1answer
275 views

In a Nazi concentration, labor, or death camp, what was a “'sale' Appel”?

I have listened to 100+ hours of testimonies by Holocaust survivors. Those who were in concentration, labor, or death camps invariably described the brutal roll calls known in German as Appels. ...
2
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0answers
241 views

How did Helen Keller understand English? [closed]

Helen Keller has fascinated me for quite some time. What she achieved in her life time, being both blind and deaf. One question though, how did she begin to comprehend the English language being ...
1
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0answers
74 views

Capitalization of countries names in 1965 [closed]

On a random search using google ngram viewer (looking at relative word usage by year) I noticed that there was a spike in the use of "japan", "korea", "vietnam" and "china" without capital letters in ...
6
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1answer
143 views

What determined the order of letters in the alphabet

I'm sure that we can trace the order of letters in the modern Latin alphabet to precursors (the Greek alphabet, various Semitic writing systems). But at some point an order had to be chosen for ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

When did the Greeks stop calling themselves “Roman”?

I've been reading a lot about the Byzantine Empire recently, and one of the things I see pointed out over and over again is that "Byzantine" is a term coined by historians, not by the people ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

Technology and status symbols that predate language [closed]

I remember distinctly reading about peoples and cultures - in, I believe, the Caucasus - that used to knap large flakes of flint into spearheads and would use them (instead of actual tools) as status ...
0
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5answers
244 views

Why some countries have more than one name? [closed]

I know Persian Language, In persian (Farsi) that is an old language we call Netherlands “Holland” , call Germany "Alman", Call Poland "Lahestan", call India "Hend" and etc. What is the reason and Why ...
5
votes
2answers
430 views

In 1861, few Italians spoke Italian?

The Economist claims Italy was created by a small elite at a time when more than 90% of the peninsula’s inhabitants did not speak Italian. (Source: Special Report on Italy, June 11th, 2011, p. 3) ...
8
votes
4answers
845 views

Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

The main language in the Middle East is Arabic, however English and French considered as a secondary language. Especially in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon (there are other countries..) people still use ...
10
votes
1answer
361 views

Why haven't Etruscan texts survived?

In Wikipedia it's claimed that Etruscan Civilization had a rich literature, but only one Etruscan text has survived. And AFAIK at the same moment we have many Ancient Greeks texts roughly from the ...
6
votes
2answers
493 views

What was the ancient Egyptian word for “soldier”?

I can't find it anywhere on the Internet, and I was hoping someone here might know.
12
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2answers
480 views

Which undeciphered writing system has the largest corpus of text?

Dozens of ancient writing systems are still undeciphered. My question is: Which of them has the largest number of known inscriptions (and might thus be most accessible to future decipherment, though ...
7
votes
1answer
458 views

What language did Petlura speak casually?

In Bulgakov's novel "The White Guard" one of the characters, Turbin alleges that Simon Petlura does not speak Ukrainian language himself despite the measures he took to promote it. Are there any ...
3
votes
0answers
589 views

Why are Indian states divided based on the native language spoken? [closed]

All the Indian states are divided on the basis of language the native people speak such that each state has a native language which is not well spoken in other states. Is this kind of division ...
-1
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1answer
345 views

Which language is oldest in India? [closed]

Which language is oldest in India?
7
votes
1answer
507 views

What language does this look like?

I was hoping someone here could help tell me what language this is? The hint for this is Mary Queen of Scots, but I have no background in historical languages, and was hoping maybe someone here does. ...
1
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1answer
294 views

African Clicking Language

During a class a friend of mine brought up an African Clicking language. I don't have a lot of information about this. Which language groups in Africa include clicking, and what is known about the ...
0
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1answer
288 views

Is the modern German language the same as it was in Roman times? [closed]

Was the German language influenced by any other languages? How did the German language get to what we hear today? I know that the letters were influenced by Latin, but did the language change or just ...
12
votes
7answers
869 views

Why was not Greek alphabet adopted by other languages given the Greek influence?

Most of western languages adopt the Latin alphabet with minor variations. Arabic letters are adopted by quite a few other languages. The same is true for Eastern Europe with Cyrillic letters. Why was ...