Skip to main content
20 votes
Accepted

How to identify a foreign language from handwriting?

Problem 1. Identify the language I found this diagram (in Russian). It seems to be pretty simple, and it amazingly covers a vast majority of world's languages. I took my liberty to adjust it slightly....
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Recognize this script?

Sorry for digging up this old question but we finally have an answer. I reposted this question to puzzling stackexhange thinking they would be better equipped to solve it. Surely enough, within ...
cyco130's user avatar
  • 2,185
9 votes

How would someone begin translating an unknown language?

Take a look at John Chadwick's The Decipherment of Linear B. It does include some relevant theory -- I've used it as a text in an elementary linguistics course.
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 12.5k
6 votes

Are there heuristics to tell if a character is from Chinese, Kanji, or Chu Nom?

In general, you will need to look it up in a dictionary or in the Unicode standard, this is similar to the problem of guessing if a string of Latin letters represents an English or a German word. As ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What script is this, and what does it mean?

This is the Medieval (Latinized) Futhark runic alphabet, written scriptio continua, but the text is English: THE BRAVE MAY LIVE FOREVER
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
6 votes

can anyone translate this language please? what Language is it?

The language is Kazakh. It's a fragment of a poem by Шал (Тілеуке) Құлекеұлы aka Шал ақын (1748 – 1819): Бұл дүниенің мысалы Ұшып өткен құспен тең. Өмірде көрген жақсылық Ұйықтап өткен түспен тең. ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
  • 18.5k
6 votes

Trying to find language written on item

It is Amharic, and the picture is upside down. The items below (at the top of your picture, between horizontal bars) are numerals.
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 7,464
5 votes

Can anyone identify the language from this book?

The language is Biblical Hebrew. That text is from Bible, Isaiah 7:14. לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא לָכֶם אוֹת; הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה, הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן, וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ עִמָּנוּ אֵל In the King James ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
  • 18.5k
5 votes

How would someone begin translating an unknown language?

My answer is just an addition to Greg Lee's answer here. John Chadwick popularized how Michael Ventris and he deciphered Linear B, but the first right steps to the decipherment were made by Alice ...
nikolas's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes

What are the reasons to justify that some text is in X language?

You are making the erroneous assumption that "X is in language Y" is a claim that can be verified as true or false. For many combinations of text and language, of course it can be verified, but for ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 7,464
5 votes

In what language was this following scripture written? What does it mean?

This is indeed Latin, and it does seem to to depict the White Ship. It seems to be a genealogy of sorts too. I'm still working on the transcription: Henrici nati pelago pereunt adaquanti "The sons ...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 7,976
5 votes
Accepted

I need help identifying this language

It looks like Gujarati to me. You can check by looking at the table of the Gujarati alphabet at http://www.omniglot.com/writing/gujarati.htm .
Daniel Metz's user avatar
5 votes

How would someone begin translating an unknown language?

Your question is closely related to Bootstrapping, a process in which children initiate the language acquisition. Therefore, in addition to knowledge how scientists decipher the unknown language, ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes

How do I go about deciphering the language of an inscription on an old heirloom?

It could be counterproductive to post the picture, because that would change the question from "what's the method" to "what is this text" (off-topic!). The first step is to try to sort out the script. ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
4 votes

Can native signers of one sign language identify other sign languages?

This is a specialized version of the question "can people identify languages that they do not know". For example, can a random English speaker identify some stream of speech as Moroccan Arabic, ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
4 votes

How to identify a foreign language from handwriting?

If it were printed, I would suggest Omniglot, which is the best resource for alphabet-identification. Handwritten text is more of a problem: the first time I saw cursive Hebrew, I didn't know what ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
4 votes

What are the reasons to justify that some text is in X language?

There are no objective absolute criteria for language-identification. There may, however, be subjective criteria, and there may be comparative criteria. Subjective criteria depends on one or more ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
3 votes

Can one "sentence" belong to multiple languages?

Yes. There are sentences that are simply exactly the same in similar languages. "No." or "Gol!" or Trump! would be some extreme examples, but between languages like Portuguese and Galician, ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Can one "sentence" belong to multiple languages?

If being the official written standardized form of the official language of an independent country is enough to be a “language”, the answer is yes. The difference between languages and dialects is ...
Frédéric Grosshans's user avatar
3 votes

How would someone begin translating an unknown language?

Hopefully you can revise your question: Are there clues as to how old the language is? Does the language use a known alphabet (or have any hints of parentage)? Are their contextual samples (signs or ...
amI's user avatar
  • 666
3 votes

What are the reasons to justify that some text is in X language?

Like in most cases of categorisation, Prototype Theory helps. There are exemplar texts of a language. I'm not actually an expert of Latin, but perhaps Cicero, Seneca, the Vulgate, and Aquinas could be ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
  • 6,219
2 votes
Accepted

Are there heuristics to tell if a character is from Chinese, Kanji, or Chu Nom?

This is merely a heuristic, but Chữ Nôm characters tend to have non-traditional components in their construction, as a result of having to divide the character between a part that more or less ...
jogloran's user avatar
  • 5,144
2 votes

Ways of classifying writing systems by appearance?

I assume the question is, "Can you tell, from appearance, whether the script is Sinhalese vs. Kannada?" (or other languages). No, because scripts can be and often are employed non-...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
2 votes

Language identification

No, it's not Thai. I'm almost sure the script is Javanese, but it's upside-down in your picture. The language is not necessarily Javanese, because the script is used for several languages; check out ...
TonyK's user avatar
  • 137
2 votes
Accepted

Please help to identify the language on the photo

It looks like code (cryptography).
fdb's user avatar
  • 24.2k
2 votes

What is this language?

This is Armenian. I'm failing to translate whole text, though it's not a dialect, on the contrary, it seems to me to be a literary language, quite standard, it's just that I'm failing to understand 10%...
shabunc's user avatar
  • 919
1 vote

Can one "sentence" belong to multiple languages?

You'll also have sentences/examples containing chunks of one or more foreign languages, especially if you work with social media text. You can have a tweet like: "Du KM classique au KM 2.0 : le ...
Anca Boca's user avatar
1 vote

How can I distinguish modern Scandinavian languages at a glance?

The Twitter user incunabula tweeted (https://twitter.com/incunabula/status/1560597822151356416) a diagram with an algorithm to distinguish between European languages. The feature that - in this ...
Finn Årup Nielsen's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible