Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lost Languages Could Soon Be Revealed

There are five languages that even to this day go undeciphered. The scripts have been studied for years however because the languages are lost to centuries of time there is no way to determine what the symbols mean, until now. Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) plan to use a computer to help decipher the hidden mysteries on reading these ancient languages.

The program takes other scripts and compares the similarities determining possible combinations for the meaning of the symbol. The researchers were successfully able to use the computer to decipher the Ugaritic alphabet which has 30 total letters. However it won't be like using Google Translator and it immediately pop out the results. Professor Regina Barzilay pointed out that deciphering the Ugaritic language took years and a lot of luck including the discovery of an axe which had the word "axe" written on it. It is believed that despite many variables it will speed up a lot of the process of deciphering the language. It's early to tell however this could be the first steps to discovering our world's ancient past. 

The Five Undeciphered Languages:
   1) Etruscan - Repeated attempts to decipher this language have led little further than the numbers one to six.
   2) The Rohonc Codex - Discovered in Hungary, it contains 10 times more symbols than any known alphabet 
   3) Rongorongo - Discovered on Easter Island, scientists are not even sure if it is language
   4) Linear A - An ancient Minoan script from Crete from around 1900-1800 BC
   5) Vinca symbols - Believed to be the earliest 'proto-language' known to man, these symbols were found in Hungary in 1875. They date from around 4000 BC

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