Questions tagged [language]

Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

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1answer
433 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 ...
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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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6k 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.
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3answers
530 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 ...
7
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1answer
397 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 ...
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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. ...
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2answers
2k 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 France,...
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3answers
932 views

Who are the 'Tiursk tribe' of Central Asia?

I am reading this passage in a book called Overland to China (1900) which on page 66 makes mention of a Tiursk tribe in Central Asia. Online searches didn't provide much details except referencing/...
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1answer
2k 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 ?
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2k 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) ...
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2answers
939 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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2answers
446 views

How is Bad-Tibira written in Sumerian?

Bad-Tibira is one of the oldest recorded cities in the world. The Sumerians believed it was the second city to exercise kingship (after the more famous Eridu). I can't find the Sumerian spelling of ...
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1answer
112 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 ...
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2answers
338 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 ...
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1answer
837 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. ...
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1answer
338 views

Was the term 'renaissance' used during said period?

Just as the title suggests, was the term for the renaissance years coined and used during those years, or is it a modern word used retrospectively?
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2answers
542 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
358 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
311 views

Was the Apostle the first Peter?

Is there an attested use of the Greek word "petros" (meaning 'stone') as a given name, before it was given to Peter the Apostle? Note: The name Jesus gave to Peter was most likely 'Kepha,' since ...
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1k 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 ...
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430 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 ...
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2answers
304 views

Was there a historical figure named Fecund?

This is going to sound odd, but a Terry Pratchett book lead me to look up the meaning of the word "fecund", and the result included a google ngrams graph of its use in written works. As you can see, ...
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3k 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?
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1answer
798 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 ...
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1answer
179 views

Have the Pyramid Texts been translated into German?

I would like to know if the Pyramid Texts have been "officially" translated into German and, if so, where I can find them. I am interested in the texts of Pepi I. There are some Incantations of Pepi ...
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1answer
385 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.
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1answer
61 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 ...
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1answer
585 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 ...
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1answer
259 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. ...
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1answer
5k 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" ...
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120 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 ...
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2k 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 ...
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3answers
907 views

Did the roman conquerors have directives/guidelines to either integrate or assimilate foreign tribes/folks?

It is likely that Romans made no distinction between today's terms integration and assimilation. They did everything that was necessary for the expansion of the Roman empire and worked from experience....
4
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1answer
554 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, ...
4
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1answer
461 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? (...
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2answers
466 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 ...
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2answers
343 views

Where can I find an explanation of the variations in style of Egyptian hieroglyphs?

I've seen that Egyptian hieroglyphs are not always written or drawn identically. Long time ago I made a trip in Egypt and saw, in the Valley of the Kings, a tomb with hieroglyphs on the walls that ...
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4answers
188 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 ...
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2answers
706 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 ...
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2answers
689 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 ...
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2answers
317 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? ...
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2answers
463 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

What is a mezrag-holder?

I stumbled upon this word in one of my anthropology readings. Here's the excerpt. The robbers were from a tribe which had not yet submitted to French authority and were in open rebellion against it,...
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1answer
266 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. ...
4
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1answer
342 views

Could Egyptian hieroglyphs accurately record conversational day-to-day discussion?

Whenever I see Hieroglyphs reproduced and read the translation provided it always strikes me that the text appears very stilted and un-natural. Could hieroglyphs be used to transcribe a normal ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
4
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1answer
938 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 ...