Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

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3
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2answers
152 views

Did any Native Americans adopt a script from Europe (before being assimilated)?

As far as I know, no Native Americans developed their own written language. (Correct me if I'm wrong. There may have been some numeral systems, but that's all I'm aware of.) So now I'm wondering if ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did modern “Romania” remain the most “Roman” part of the Balkans?

The so-called "Romanians" are the Vlachs who inhabited the territory just north of the Danube in Roman times, and today. Wallachia (home of the Vlachs), represented the outer limit or Roman expansion. ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

When did the Hudson Bay get its current name in French?

In French, the Hudson Bay is called "La baie d'Hudson". Apparently it was originally called "mer du Nord" (North Sea) in the 1600's, the according to its french wiki page. Now obviously, Henry Hudson ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

In 1700-1900 England, how were 'manners an end in themselves and not merely a means to achieve propriety by conformity'?

What does 1 mean: 'manners were [...] by conformity'? I know little about English history. How does 1 justify or mitigate 2; because to Anglophones in 2016, 1700-1900 English (e.g. Sheridan's opening ...
2
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0answers
125 views

When and how (why) did the idea that gender is not biological start [closed]

In my understanding the gender originally was based on the organs, there was cross dressing but it was considered a man dressing as a woman. And latter this changed and gender became something ...
3
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0answers
79 views

How much Ancient Egyptian survived into modern Coptic & Egyptian Arabic?

The Egyptian spoken language has evolved dramatically due to influences from the many foreign powers who ruled Egypt over the ages. Coptic is an Egyptian language with strong influences from Greek, ...
39
votes
4answers
7k views

Why are the German and French languages so different?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is the following: During and before the period of the fall of western Rome (roughly 400 AD), the Franks and the Alemanni were tribal people who moved around a ...
70
votes
4answers
9k views

Why are Germans referred to so differently in different languages?

I was inspired by the other question "Why are the German and French languages so different?". But while, for me, the answer was obvious (the Romans did not conquer most parts of today's Germany and so ...
5
votes
1answer
283 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 ...
1
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0answers
65 views

What was the stand of K Kamaraj about anti-Hindi agitation of 1965?

What was the stand of K Kamaraj in anti Hindi agitation in 1965? What were his actions to stop the people from riot? And whether the leaders from Congress in Tamilnadu supported the Hindi imposition?
10
votes
2answers
385 views

In what language was the first zionist congress in basel in 1897 held?

In what language was the first zionist congress in Basel held? Was it Yiddish, Hebrew, German, English? Where there translators?
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Did barbarians capture monks or priest of civilized kingdoms to teach them?

I'm watching the loosely accurate TV show Vikings. When Vikings pillage the Briton monastery of Lindisfarne, they also capture some monks as slaves. Later, one of the monks assimilates pretty well to ...
4
votes
1answer
215 views

How would one refer to/address a Shogun?

In the Bakumatsu era, how would one refer to a shogun (when talking about him with someone else) or address him directly if talking to him? Is it just name + -sama suffix? I am interest in the answer ...
13
votes
2answers
961 views

How is it possible that the Basque language survived until today?

The mysterious Basque is the mother tongue of only few people, spoken in Vizcaya, a northern province in Spain. It is not similar to any major European language in use today and it's origins are ...
9
votes
2answers
794 views

What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?
2
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1answer
44 views

Is this alphabet from tawantinsuyu or is it a modern invention (from the latter centuries)?

I am asking about tawa. When I studied quichua as language, I was told that quichua was not written. However here, in Ecuador, I found many sources (the main one is a magazine delivered by Amawtay ...
0
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2answers
144 views

How did the written Polish language survive in eastern Germany during partition (if it survived at all)?

After the partition of poland in the late 18th century, Prussia aquired a large part of Polish territory. Those areas suffered heavy Germanization process through assimilation and suppression of ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Did French ever have any special status in Austria?

Did French ever have any special status in Austria or the Austrian empire, akin to it being the language of royalty in England (and possibly Russia, I'm not sure) (as opposed to it being just another ...
7
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
82 views

What is the origin of language? [closed]

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
156 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
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
27
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
16
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4answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
188 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?
6
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3answers
184 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
219 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
933 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
270 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
80 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.
5
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3answers
289 views

What language was the Charter of Liberties written in?

While researching my answer for the What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century? question I came upon the Charter of Liberties, or Coronation Charter, issued by ...
3
votes
2answers
142 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.
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Languages spoken by Josephus?

What languages did Josephus speak? He lived in the land of Israel during the first century CE. He wrote in Greek (so he obviously knew that), but did he know Hebrew, Aramaic, or Latin?
7
votes
2answers
225 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Why did the the East-Pakistanis oppose Urdu as their national language while Indians accepted Hindi as theirs?

In 1947, Both India and Pakistan were given independence from Britain. India was able to establish Hindi as its national language with minimal problems. Pakistan on the other hand, was created with ...
6
votes
1answer
121 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
130 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
78 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
265 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
0
votes
1answer
103 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: http://...
7
votes
1answer
579 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
votes
3answers
304 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 ...
12
votes
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, french,...
2
votes
2answers
289 views

Wanderwort origins and the Indus Valley Civilization? [closed]

I have noticed that there seem to be many words that have travelled the globe due to trade, such as the word orange or rice, which have plausible origins in proto-Dravidian. Meanwhile, it is ...
12
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7answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
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
votes
2answers
3k views

Which is the oldest language in the World? [closed]

I want to know which are the oldest languages in the world? And within those, which is still in use?