Questions tagged [language]

Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

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2
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0answers
37 views

What would be good sources for the evidence for the change in language between Prot/Deutero/Trito Isaiah in the Bible? [closed]

I am very interested in understanding the biblical book of Isaiah. I have read in numerous places that virtually no modern scholars view the book as having been written only by the historical Isaiah ...
26
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4answers
8k 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 ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Is there convincing evidence that the language of Bulgars (proto-Bulgarians) was not Turkic, but Indo-European?

Wikipedia says that "Bulgar (also Bulghar, Bolgar, Bolghar) is an extinct Oghur Turkic language which was spoken by the Bulgars. " I was not aware of a different hypothesis on this until I ...
9
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3answers
418 views

MLK used “negro” several times in his “I have a dream”-address. Could white “liberals” at the time also use “negro” as a neutral word for blacks?

According to this transcription of Martin Luther King's I have a dream-address, he used negro 15 times in his speech, as a neutral word for black people. Did/could "leading", documented non-...
13
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2answers
3k views

What's the explanation for the similarities seen between the Rapa Nui script and the Indus Valley Script?

The Rapa Nui and the Indus Valley Civilization are found 20,000km apart, the former on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean (Easter Island), and latter in modern day Pakistan. As far as we know, ...
2
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1answer
182 views

What is the oldest quote or poem in known history?

What is the oldest quote, poem, words of wisdom ever written in known history? I'm guessing it's Kemetian or Babylonian. I've read some on the internet that I know from memory but cannot verify them, ...
5
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1answer
549 views

Were there attempts to rename the French language Prussian order Pour le Mérite, why was it never Germanised?

Were there any attempts to rename the French language but Prussian order Pour le Mèrite, why was it never Germanised? If there were attempts, how did the opponents argue? The Prussian's highest order ...
49
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6answers
15k 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 ...
3
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1answer
231 views

What is the origin of South Indian languages?

I have heard that Malayalam is a more recent language ( 800 years old?) ... DEVELOPED by the assimilation of Tamil with Sanskrit. I know Tamil is an ancient language, and the Telegu -Kannada origin is ...
4
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2answers
607 views

What was the population of late Pre-Islamic Arabia and the population of Arabic speakers before Islam?

The Arab tribes were spread out widely, and the land of Arabia was not as viable to live on as the Fertile Crescent, so I would expect the population to be lower. But, how much in an estimated range ...
2
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2answers
120 views

What is the etymology of the word “Mehrgarh”, one of the earliest Neolithic site in South Asia?

Mehrgarh is a Neolithic site near the Bolan Pass in Pakistan. I am wondering if the Neolithic site has simply been dubbed "Mehrgarh" or was it the actual name of the Neolithic culture ...
6
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1answer
775 views

Why and when were ancient Egyptian hieroglyph phonograms used?

There are writings on the walls of some Egyptian temples of Hellenistic period written in Egyptian hieroglyph phonograms. However it was strange for me to know that these are Greek texts actually. ...
123
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2answers
14k 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 ...
2
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1answer
197 views

What language(s) were spoken in 11th century Romania?

Curious to know what languages would've been spoken and used in correspondences during this time, specifically in Transylvania.
2
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1answer
111 views

Was “Street” more common than the abbreviated “St.” in pre-1910 American newspapers?

As a hobby I like to research buildings and other structures around where I live, and part of that entails searching old newspaper archives. Generally this is in California. Since I am not looking at ...
16
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2answers
4k 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 its origins are ...
11
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2answers
2k 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, ...
7
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8answers
7k views

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

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 ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Was there a European country that held a referendum about adopting English in universities?

I vaguely remember that there was a European country (not the UK or Ireland) that held a referendum about adopting English as the primary language of instruction in universities. The referendum failed....
114
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6answers
19k 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 ...
6
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1answer
110 views

What title did the merchants permitted to deal with Canton's 13 Factories carry?

What I know: During the period leading up to the Opium Wars, trade into China from Europe was locked down to 13 buildings in Canton known as the 13 factories. European merchants were only permitted to ...
10
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4answers
576 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
253 views

How was library classification done in English-speaking libraries prior to the 19th century?

I was reading about major library classification systems. The major one in English-speaking lands seems to be the Dewey Decimal Classification system, which was invented in 1876. Several other ...
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2answers
1k views

Had the French in Paris started to learn German before their liberation in 1944?

One of Donald Trump's recent tweets states: Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How ...
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1answer
149 views

What did the term “Parage” mean in middle ages Langued'oc?

In the book "Massacre at Montsegur" Zoé Oldenbourg mentioned the term "Parage" that was used in that time in the area: It was the honour of the Occitan nobilty, so humiliated by these Northern ...
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2answers
991 views

Is there any idea of why Cao Cao's parents would give him a nearly identical name to the family name?

I've been doing a lot of reading up about the Three Kingdoms era of China, and Cao Cao stuck out to me as an interesting name. After some research I found that the words in Chinese are different, and ...
10
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2answers
2k views

What was the standard spoken language (dialect) in the Three Kingdoms period?

Mandarin is the standard spoken language (dialect) in today's China, meaning distinct regions may have their own dialect, but they can all use Mandarin to communicate with each other. Since all ...
2
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2answers
177 views

Were there any important spies in modern history who had to conceal their true nationality (or culture)?

This often comes up in movies, but I can hardly find any real cases, except for the "Illegals Projects" - but that doesn't seem like high-stake espionage, let alone successful. I'm thinking ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
132 views

What was up with “Alicorn” in the 1920's and 30's

My question is about the applications of the term "alicorn." What I know is that it's a medieval term used for supposed compounds of unicorn horn. Later Peers Anthony used the term for a horned ...
16
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4answers
6k views

Did average church-goers understand mass in Latin?

Since around the 4th century AD, Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church. As such, most of this period, the official language of the Mass was Latin (there has been exceptions). A key ...
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2answers
457 views

Why is the English name of the country “Russia” not spelled “Rossia” (with the letter o)? [closed]

Russkoje tsarstvo later changed to Rossiyskoye tsarstvo. Why is the English name of the country "Russia" not spelled "Rossia"?
0
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1answer
139 views

Was it common to address politicians by their first names / nicknames in the past? [closed]

To me, it seems like politicians are increasingly more frequently being called by their first name (Bernie, Hillary, Donald) or they're being reffered to in the name's more familiar form (Jo Swinson, ...
12
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2answers
793 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?
3
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1answer
227 views

What language is this artists signature written in and what does it say?

This signature is on a print from the 1960s. There are symbols in the art such as a fish (see ring and vest clasp)and a hamsa (possibly) in the outer border.
0
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0answers
127 views

How would you address a merchant in the High Middle Ages?

If you were to address a powerful and affluent noble with a wide monopoly over trade in the 11th-13th centuries, what would you call them? (Assuming you are of lesser rank to them) Would it be Sir, ...
4
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
113 views

How and when did the surname “Apibus” become “de Apapis”?

The Maltese surname Apap derives from "De Apapis", and the family crest features bees. Family lore tells that the surname originates from a person who kept bees. In Latin, Apis is bee, and the most ...
17
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9answers
3k views

Why did Latin disappear so completely in Britain after the Romans left?

My impression, wholly prone to error, is that despite centuries of Roman occupation, after the Anglo-Saxon invasions, Latin virtually became a dead language in Britain. Other parts of the Roman ...
0
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1answer
153 views

What are the Ancient Egyptian words for these concepts?

I just want to know what words ancient Egyptians might have used for "country", "nation", "state", "kingdom", and "empire" (especially empire), preferably in their oldest forms. Can anybody help me ...
45
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14answers
9k views

Are there confirmed cases where a country changed its language without being conquered?

I thought about this question and wondered: Are there any known cases where a country switched to a different language other than because of being conquered? If some country ever did this I would be ...
2
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1answer
259 views

Are there examples of wrong / inaccurate translations that had a major impact?

Are there examples of wrong or inaccurate translations that had a major impact on the historic course of events (e.g. prevent a conflict from escalate)? And are there examples where the interpreter ...
4
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1answer
218 views

Where to find a comprehensive list of proto-cuneiform Sumerian glyphs?

I'm looking for representations and meanings of the logographs of the Uruk period (3500–3000 BC), such as those on the Kish tablet. I've only been able to find a few examples, but over 1000 are known. ...
33
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2answers
5k views

Why did Meiji government consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Meiji govenment sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Who and why advocated that? Ultimately, why was it unsuccessful? Source: ...
7
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0answers
124 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. ...
0
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1answer
258 views

Why didn't the Cathars speak a language influenced by the East? [closed]

According to Ancient History Encyclopedia: "Cathar beliefs ultimately derived from the Persian religion of Manichaeism but directly from another earlier religious sect from Bulgaria known as the ...
9
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3answers
844 views

Why has English become the global language?

I love the English and English. I am truly fascinated by the expansion of the English language across the globe. According to linguists all languages are great and unique. If it is a fact, why ...
30
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1answer
2k views

Could George I (of Great Britain) speak English?

Web based sources differ wildly in stating how well King George I could speak English. Brittanica says: Since he could not speak English, he communicated with his ministers in French. Wikipedia, ...
7
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3answers
825 views

Why was “Caesar” borrowed for the imperial title in German rather than “Augustus”?

After Caesar (which simply happened to be his family name) Octavius took the title Augustus which means better, more, augmented. And most Roman emperors and strong men took the title Augustus ...
24
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7answers
5k views

Has there ever been a truly bilingual country prior to the contemporary period?

What I mean by this is: has there ever been a country where the bulk of the population spoke two different languages as a matter of course? This question is somewhat inspired by this video in which ...

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