Linguistic atlases: a brief survey

26 09 2013

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Disvelare i misteri Maya attraverso geroglifici e petroglifi

19 09 2013

Fin dal 1968 l’Università di Harvard ha istituito un Archivio per un corpus  dei geroglifici e petroglifi maya presso il Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

L’Archivio pubblica disegni e documentazione fotografica, mettendo a disposizione degli studiosi materiale inestimabile raccolto sul posto da veri e propri “Indiana Jones”.

Tra i progetti portati avanti dall’Archivio va annovarata la digitalizzazione dell’intera Scala Geroglifica di Copan in Honduras composta di 64 gradini. La digitalizzazione in 3D è una metodologia non invasiva che preserverà l’epigrafia maya dal deterioramento dovuto a negligenza o alle condizioni ambientali, consentendo agli studiosi di accedere dal proprio computer a dettagli dei geroglifici che ad occhio nudo potrebbero sfuggire.



The linguistic reconstruction and the Indo-European roots as a fundamental feature of research of identity in Europe

4 09 2013

The most ancient Indo-European language documents dating from the Hittite texts were discovered in Cappadocia in the early twentieth century and date back to the first half of the second millennium BC. These texts of a fairly remote era represent , in some respects, a more advanced linguistic stage in comparison with other languages attested in a more recent time.

The date of record of the texts is not related to the rapidity of change in the single languages. For example, the Lithuanian and Latvian, have been attested very late (the first documents date back to the sixteenth century A.D.) but present features of great antiquity.

Glottology  is not satisfied with the attested linguistic forms but tries to reconstruct hypothetical phases and fixes his gaze into the darkness of prehistory.

If we find similar words like old indian mus, greek mys, albanian mi, latin mus, old german mus,  old Slavonic  mysi we are led to pose a fundamental form, from which all these items have developed , which will be called Indo-European form: * mus “mouse”.

Similarly such forms like old indian bharami, arm. berem, gr. Fero, lat. Fero, old irish berim, gothic baira, old Slavonic bera presuppose a fundamental form *bhero “I bear”.

In order to have a scientific rigor it’s necessary that the reconstruction is the continuation of the historical method in prehistory. The reconstruction is one of the main tasks of comparison. From the overall view of the forms of the same language and of all known forms of the other languages of the same group  the reconstruction leads to an earlier stage. The task of linguistics is not exhausted in the reconstruction of the Indo-European forms but its real purpose is the determination of the historical relationship between Indo-European languages.

It should be noted that the problem of the first home of the Indo-European was complicated by the discovery of Tocharian and Hittite languages. In XIX century it had become traditional the division of Indo-European languages into two groups known respectively centum group and satem group  from the way the numeral 100, which contained a primitive form in Indo-European * occlusive consonant K ‘, was expressed respectively in Latin and Iranian. Since  in the Indo-European languages of the East this consonant was developed as a sibilant consonant (e.g. satem s) and, in Western languages this same consonant continued with a pure velar (e.g. latin centum to pronounce kentum)  the Indo-European domain was conventionally divided in the eastern group satem  and western group  centum. But  Tocharian and Hittite languages, respectively discovered in Chinese Turkestan and Asia Minor (Cappadocia), namely in the eastern domain, present against all expectation, pure velars where you expect sibilant consonants.

Anyway, there’s no science can let us know about things concerning the Indo-European people like linguistics and it’s the most powerful intellectual weapon at our disposal  to dispel the darkness of prehistory.

Europe, unlike the U.S., is not a new land where immigrants have made of a unique language a factor of cohesion to level the diversity of their origins.

Glottology shows that European countries have forged their own identity on the basis of cultural traits strongly rooted in languages. The new states recently born from a risen nationalism have increased the number of official languages in Europe.

Diversity of languages is one of the most distinctive features of the continent which, along with the free exchange of goods and monetary union, will propose to the world typical cultural values rooted in glottology, too.