Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
Join us in building a kind, collaborative learning community via our updated Code of Conduct.

Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

8
votes
0answers
141 views

Why are Quebeckers different from Acadians?

These two French-speaking peoples of Canada are quite distinct, both in linguistic as well as historical terms. How did this difference arise? Did they arrive at different times to Canada? Do they ...
6
votes
0answers
70 views

How literate were Kamchadal people?

Kamchatka was settled by Russians starting around 1700. I get the impression that by 1800 most people in Kamchatka had mixed heritages. According to UNESCO, Itelmen languages were already extinct. ...
-4
votes
2answers
179 views

Who is the first person in the 17th century to describe themselves as a “white” person and who invented the term “white race”?

According to the Wikipedia article entitled White people The concept of a unified white race did not achieve universal acceptance in Europe when it first came into use in the 17th century, or ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Why didn't the linguistic split overlap with the religion split in Prussian Silesia?

The Prussian province of Silesia was split in two "halves", the northwest, centered around Breslau (Wrocław), was mostly Protestant, German-speaking, and was akin to other regions of the kingdom of ...
106
votes
5answers
16k views

Did China ever consider a phonetic writing system?

I was surprised to learn the following about the Japanese and Korean languages: Japanese used a lot of Chinese characters in their language and had no phonetic system, until around the year 800 when ...
9
votes
2answers
775 views

During the French Revolution, how did the French address non-citizens?

I've read in multiple books and articles that during the French Revolution the address of monsieur / madame (my lord / my lady) was suspended in favor of the more égalité-friendly citoyen / citoyenne (...
1
vote
0answers
102 views

Why is the Philippines spelled with 'ph' but Filipino spelled with 'f'? [closed]

This question could be a toss-up between linguistics and history, but considering the answer is almost certainly due to the historical background surrounding the terms, here is the better choice. Why ...
12
votes
2answers
814 views

To what extent does the dictionary of Samuel Johnson represent English as it was spoken in his day?

My understanding is that Johnson embarked upon his dictionary precisely because he found others useless or archaic, and that his work was very well received within his own time. But I wanted to ask if ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

What are the largest numerical units that the median-wealthy person in Western civilization was aware of through the centuries? [closed]

For example, I just searched Shakespeare and saw hundreds of references to "thousand", a dozen or two references to "million", and no occurrences of the word "billion". Update: The Wikipedia article ...
8
votes
2answers
284 views

How many languages did Leibniz speak?

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German polymath. I've found information that says he was a polyglot who wrote primarily in Latin, French and German, but I cannot find any specific info about the other ...
6
votes
1answer
353 views

Earliest story?

Personal amateur research shows The Epic of Giglamesh to be the earliest work of literature. I am curious if ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depicted histories, warnings or tales? Are any simple stories ...
9
votes
2answers
353 views

Why did the father of algebra speak Arabic instead of Persian?

I'm reading about algebra and the man most associated with its creation or popularisation, Muhammad al-Khwarizmi. We know that algebra comes from the Arabic "al-jabr", but what I don't understand is ...
0
votes
0answers
149 views

Origin of “It won't be done by next Tuesday”

This may seem ridiculous but I'll give it a shot anyway. Always very interested in history, especially figuring out where sayings came from. Been watching Downton Abbey for probably the hundredth time ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

Old audio recordings showing language change

Languages change with time and pronunciation is one of the things that changes. What is interesting about pronunciation is that direct evidence of this change exists only since we invented audio ...
4
votes
0answers
60 views

What is this griffin-like creature labelling a lunar mansion in the Zubdat al-Tawarikh?

While looking for astronomy-related things I found out about this Turkish history manuscript from 1583 called the Zubdat al-Tawarikh or "History of the World". One of the first things in it is an ...
12
votes
1answer
312 views

Did Roman Britannia leave any impacts on English?

I was discussing French influence on English language with some other users and while on the topic of if the Latin influence on English language came exclusively from the Normans, it occurred to me ...
3
votes
2answers
219 views

Why was Ormond Castle in Scotland so called?

There was a castle in Scotland known as Ormond Castle which had existed since at least the beginning of the 13th century. It sat upon Ormond hill in the Black Isle. Why was it called Ormond Castle? ...
4
votes
1answer
486 views

What does the abbreviation “adhib.” mean in historiography or archival science?

What does the abbreviation adhib. mean in the context of historiography and archival science? Remarks. This question is not about the meaning in medicine. This is easy to look up. Of course, ...
110
votes
2answers
12k views

How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

If we take hieroglyphic writings like the Egyptian one, an Egyptologist knows that this hieroglyph must be interpreted as Nefertiti. Or we can see in the following Sumerian cuneiform script that ...
4
votes
1answer
173 views

During the Chola dynasty how extensive was the use of Sanskrit in government and by the people?

David Shulman in his book "Tamil" notes: One thing, however, is certain: the Cholas were happy to use Tamil as an official state language, along with Sanskrit; and they, or the poets they ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

How was the Ancient Egyptian name 'God is Gracious' written?

According to this article Behind the Name: Ancient Egyptian Names Revealed there exists an Ancient Egyptian name meaning "God is Gracious". What is that name and how is it written in Hieroglyphics? (...
4
votes
2answers
281 views

What impact did the migration of Germanic tribes have on languages in the rest of Europe?

I am currently looking for information about the migration of the Germanic tribes, and especially it's effects on European languages, or other languages. Google Search provided me information about ...
152
votes
5answers
25k views

When did people decide that all caps means the writer is shouting?

Nowadays, writing in all caps tends to indicate that the writer is shouting. FOR EXAMPLE IF I TYPE LIKE THIS PEOPLE EQUATE THIS TO SHOUTING. My understanding from cursory googling is that letters ...
5
votes
3answers
739 views

What is the origin of the Scythians?

I am searching for Iranian languages and I encountered this chart shows Scythian as a Northeastern language. On the other hand, my history course indicated that Scythians are a Proto-Turkic tribe. ...
8
votes
3answers
859 views

Meaning and usage of “Child of State”?

I have recently been reading about the 1688 English Revolution, which put William and Mary on the throne, more specifically about William and Mary's roles in deposing her father. At least one book ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

What is the term for “power vacuum” before the concept of vacuum?

Essentially I am wondering, what was the term for a power vacuum (when a position of power is suddenly unoccupied such as a monarch with no heir) before the concept of a vacuum existed? I understand ...
4
votes
1answer
228 views

Which languages did H.P. Lovecraft understand?

H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) wrote his stories (including the "Cthulhu Mythos") in English, but his Wikipedia page notes that several French authors provided commentary on his stories. It doesn't ...
1
vote
3answers
307 views

Animosity between Mandarin-speaking and Cantonese-speaking Chinese?

The PRC-ROC schism aside, has there historically been (or is there today) any animosity or feelings of cultural or racial superiority between Mandarin-speaking Chinese and Cantonese-speaking Chinese? ...
4
votes
4answers
136 views

How multilingual would Canaanite citizens have been?

This question concerns the Land of Israel circa 1,500-1,000 BCE. Different sources mention different languages for this region: This land was part of the New Kingdom of Egypt, so presumably Middle ...
0
votes
1answer
254 views

What was the court language of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan?

Administrative language of Muslim rulers was usually Persian. But I doubt Tipu's courts used Persian. Was it Persian or Kannada? Even the Nizams started using Urdu instead of Persian after the 1800s.
7
votes
1answer
481 views

What languages were common in first century Jerusalem?

The Pentecost just made me wonder what languages were common in first century Jerusalem. The miracle of Pentecost was that the apostles were preaching in many languages, and this would assume that ...
2
votes
2answers
210 views

What's the Ancient Egyptian word for “benedict”?

I've been searching for, but can't for the life of me find the equivalent in ancient Egyptian to the word "benedict". Tried with "blessed", "glorified", and "exalted" too to no avail. Thanks in ...
23
votes
3answers
6k views

Why did the Romans change Europe's language, but the barbarians didn't?

When the Roman republic/empire took over the Mediterranean between 40 BC and 20 AD, Vulgar Latin replaced the local languages almost completely. Basque seems to be the only remaining pre-Roman ...
9
votes
2answers
655 views

Where and how did scientists of the 18th and 19th century learn foreign languages?

I'm always amazed by the the apparent amount of foreign languages that scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries seem to have possessed. With the end of Latin as the main scholarly language, ...
6
votes
5answers
927 views

Why didn't the Greek language survive in Egypt?

During antiquity, there were multiple Greek colonies in today's Egypt. Later Alexander the Great conquered these territories and then the Ptolemaic Kingdom was established. Some of today's Egypt was ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Language Grammar History [closed]

I was trying to search for an article on the Web but cannot find from an authentic source. I want to know when and which language was first formalized and its grammar specified.
6
votes
2answers
277 views

Were the Quebecois ever considered higher-class because they spoke French?

For a very long time, French was, well, the lingua franca. All courts spoke French, from England to Russia. Everyone else, as always, tried to emulate what the nobles were doing, and learned French if ...
3
votes
2answers
456 views

How much of a effect did linguistic relativism play in ancient Europe?

In linguistics we have a concept known as 'language relativism'. It's the idea that since languages change with time, and that they can share features with each other, the borders between them can be ...
41
votes
3answers
6k views

Why did English adopt Kamikaze (神風) as a loanword instead of Tokko (特攻) during/after WWII?

Kamikaze (you know, the 'crash plane into boat' thing) is, for Japanese learners like myself, initially a very confusing word. In Japanese it's 神風, 神 meaning god, gods, divinity, etc. And 風 means wind,...
1
vote
4answers
681 views

Why are Turkish people and other Turkik people considered of Mongolic race if their language is not in the Mongolic language family? [closed]

I saw that Turkish people are considered of Mongolic race even though Mongolic and Turkic are separate language families? Why are those races considered the same but their languages are so different ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the adamic alphabet the origin of the Greek? [closed]

The adamic alphabet seems to cover the entire Greek alphabet including even more letters and symbols, like sampi, heta (which I thought was just the origin of eta, but apparently not), yot, koppa etc.....
10
votes
1answer
459 views

When did Ireland become majority English-speaking

It seems to me it was around the time of the Famine of the 1840s, given that it was particularly deadly to poorer, more rural Gaelic-speaking areas. But the best I can find are vague statements like "...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

When did French become the official language of France? [closed]

While French did exist in France and differed depending on areas, it was not the official language. When did it become so ?
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Who was the Irish interpreter in Monterey in 1822?

Kirill Khlebnikov was a Russian business agent who made several visits to Alta California. His "Travel Notes" from 1822 describe Khlebnikov's visit to Governor Sola in Monterey, who sent for "the ...
8
votes
2answers
511 views

In the “Immigrationist theory” of Romanians (Vlachs), how did they became the vast majority in Transylvania?

The origins of Romanians is, for me, one of history's more interesting problems and I mostly agree with the "Immigrationist theory". The great mystery for me is how could they become the majority in ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Looking for a (preferably digital) collection of McCarthy speeches (transcripts)

I am analysing the history of demagogy and it's rhetoric using modern data science. I have acquired some collections of speeches dating back to George Washington, but unfortunately I have not been ...
5
votes
1answer
206 views

Why did Icelandic begin to diverge from the Continental north Germanic languages specifically between 1050 and 1350?

According to wikipedia: Between 1050 and 1350 Icelandic began to develop independently from other Scandinavian and Germanic languages; Why did it begin then? Iceland was being settled from 874. ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

Which immigrants became elected officials in an acquired language? [closed]

With some exceptions, candidates up for election are usually natural born citizens that are native speakers of the government's language. With the exception of the first generation of leaders in ...
8
votes
2answers
294 views

How long did Latin survive in Bavaria?

After my question What happened north of the Alps after the romans "left"?, I read through the sources given by the comments and answers. One paragraph in this post was especially interesting to me: ...
6
votes
2answers
293 views

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935?

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935? The literacy campaigns in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1940 taught many people to read. Many people who did not speak Russian had no ...