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Inscription on Spanish church is Gaelic

An inscription found on a 14th-century church in Spain has been identified as Gaelic, making it the first written evidence of the link between Spain and Ireland. Researchers working for a private association called the Gaelaico Project now believe they've finally deciphered what it reads: "An Ghaltacht" or "Gaelic-speaking area". "If our

Searching for the common language of our ancestors

Mark Pagel, an evolutionary theorist from the University of Reading, believes that many of today's languages could have stemmed from one original language that dates back 15,000 years. Because words don't have DNA, researchers use cognates found in different languages today to reconstruct the ancestral "protowords." Historical linguists have observed that

Computers being used to reconstruct ancient languages

Researchers have developed new computer software that is able to rebuild ancient protolanguages. Currently language reconstructions are carried out by linguists - but the process is slow and labour-intensive. Dan Klein, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said: "It's very time consuming for humans to look at all the

Breakthrough made in decoding world’s oldest undecipherable writing

The world's oldest undecipherable writing may be decoded soon thanks to a recent breakthrough made by academics at Oxford University. This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software. This way

The origin of Indo-European languages

Biologists believe they have localized the origin of Indo-European languages to Turkey. Linguists believe that the first speakers of the mother tongue, known as proto-Indo-European, were chariot-driving pastoralists who burst out of their homeland on the steppes above the Black Sea about 4,000 years ago and conquered Europe and Asia. A

Previously unknown language discovered on ancient clay tablets

This is pretty cool: Archaeologists working in the ruins of a 2,800-year-old palace in the Middle East have uncovered clay tablets which hint at a previously unknown language. The tablet revealed the names of 60 women – probably prisoners-of-war or victims of an Assyrian forced population transfer programme. But when the

Previously unknown language found in mountains of India

A lost language, Koro, spoken only by 800 people, has been discovered in the mountains of northeastern India. Arunachal Pradesh is the home of an endangered language known as Koro. It’s part of the Tibeto-Burman language family, a group of some 400 languages. But until now, Koro was unknown to

Scrap of paper found with traces of lost language

A 17th century scrap of paper may contain traces of a lost South American language. “It’s a little piece of paper with a big story to tell,” says Dr. Jeffrey Quilter, who has conducted investigations in Peru for more than three decades, and is director of the archaeological project at