Questions tagged [dead-languages]

Languages that lack native speakers but formerly had native speakers.

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3
votes
1answer
76 views

What is known about the voicing of Hittite consonants?

Most consonants in Hittite appear in two variants, conventionally called "voiced" and "voiceless": "voiceless" consonants are written twice in a row, while "voiced" consonants are written only once. ...
7
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3answers
5k views

Why are Latin and Sanskrit called dead languages?

I hear Latin and Sanskrit are called dead languages. Sanskrit is used in rituals and at the temples. I think this is also true of Latin. What is the cause of their degradation when they have enriched ...
6
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3answers
555 views

Minimum population for language survival

What is the minimum population required to keep a language alive?
0
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3answers
418 views

I have some questions about deciphering an ancient language

I’m very fascinated in learning new languages. I want to know: It is possible to decipher and learn how to talk in a ancient language? How to decipher at home any ancient language? Such as Ancient ...
1
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1answer
34 views

What is a study trying to synthesise different meanings of a root (synchronically) called?

A relatively straightforward research question in the study of dead languages is of the form: "We have root XYZ that means A in context P and B in context Q. How can we generalise A and B to arrive at ...
2
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1answer
214 views

Can Egyptian hieroglyphs (or other hieroglyphs) be construed as having anything like Chinese radicals?

I wonder if any hieroglyph-like orthographies use semantic radicals in a way comparable to how Mandarin Chinese does, or if the radical is unique to Chinese and other similar languages?
5
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1answer
538 views

How are dead languages reconstructed?

I'm really interested in Biblical studies, so I've often wondered this about the languages in the Bible. Namely, Greek (Koine), Hebrew, and Aramaic. I've tried looking into it, but I've never really ...
7
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0answers
172 views

Current prospective efforts in the decipherment of ancient scripts

Reading a bit about the decipherment of ancient scripts gave me the impression that those scripts which remain mostly undeciphered as of today have such a small and restricted corpus (I'm thinking of ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

How can you learn to read older dialects of your first language(s)?

Abbreviate ED as earlier dialects of your modern first language(s). I desire to read writing written in only ED (eg: philosophy written in English or French dated from 1400) and NOT in languages ...
1
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2answers
228 views

Is there any characteristic that is unique to North Germanic languages?

Is there any characteristic that is unique to the North Germanic languages (Swedish, Danish, Norweigan, Faroese, Icelandic) and the dead ones (such as Old West Norse, Old East Norse, Norn, Proto-Norse)...
0
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1answer
175 views

Which two languages are the most unlike each other? [closed]

So, which two existing languages are the least like each other?
2
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1answer
195 views

Gir15 cuneiform is esh2 homograph?

I was unable to find a cuneiform for Sumerian (Akkadian?) ĝir15 (as in ki-en-ĝir15) in the unicode character database (cuneiform namelist) .. however, according to ePSD, it seems that it has the same ...
4
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2answers
190 views

What can one gain from learning language constructed for books or films, like Sindarin? [closed]

I know about people who learn, use and even develop the constructed languages created for books or films, such as Sindarin. Most of them are doing it because of a very geek interest in the topic, or ...
5
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1answer
210 views

Are there any active Classical Latin users nowadays?

Are there any groups of active Classical Latin users nowadays? By active I mean they meet regularly and speak in classical Latin, or make some videos/vlogs/podcasts or present lectures.
19
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2answers
10k views

How are languages deciphered?

How do archaeologists, cryptoanalysts and linguists decipher extinct languages? Has there been a case in history where this was successfully accomplished, without the means of something like the ...
15
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4answers
396 views

How is grammaticality judged in dead languages?

As far as I know, linguists determine grammaticality by judgement tests. Native speakers are presented with several types of utterances and, based on their intuition, they can judge each of these ...
12
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5answers
814 views

Outside of Modern Hebrew, do any previously dead languages have native speakers again?

What previously dead (i.e. no more native speakers) or remnant (i.e. not very well or hardly documented) languages have been revived to the point that there are native speakers? Accounts of revival ...