Ancient language mystery deepens
2010 08 11
By Victoria Gill | BBC.co.uk
A linguistic mystery has arisen surrounding symbol-inscribed stones in Scotland that predate the formation of the country itself.
The stones are believed to have been carved by members of an ancient people known as the Picts, who thrived in what is now Scotland from the 4th to the 9th Centuries.
Many of the stones are believed to have been carved during the 6th Century.
These symbols, researchers say, are probably "words" rather than images.
But their conclusions have raised criticism from some linguists.
The research team, led by Professor Rob Lee from Exeter University in the UK, examined symbols on more than 200 carved stones.
They used a mathematical method to quantify patterns contained within the symbols, in an effort to find out if they conveyed meaning.
Professor Lee described the basis of this method.
"If I told you the first letter of a word in English was ’Q’ and asked you to predict the next letter, you would probably say ’U’ and you would probably be right," he explained.
"But if I told you the first letter was ’T’ you would probably take many more guesses to get it right - that’s a measure of uncertainty."
Using the symbols, or characters, from the stones, Prof Lee and his colleagues measured this feature of so-called "character to character uncertainty".
They concluded that the Pictish carvings were "symbolic markings that communicated information" - that these were words rather than pictures.
Prof Lee first published these conclusions in April of this year. But a recent article by French linguist Arnaud Fournet opened up the mystery once again.
Mr Fournet said that, by examining Pictish carvings as if they were "linear symbols", and by applying the rules of written language to them, the scientists could have produced biased results.
He told BBC News: "It looks like their method is transforming two-dimensional glyphs into a one-dimensional string of symbols.
"The carvings must have some kind of purpose - some kind of meanings, but... it’s very difficult to determine if their conclusion is contained in the raw data or if it’s an artefact of their method."
Mr Fournet also suggested that the researchers’ methods should be tested and verified for other ancient symbols.
"The line between writing and drawing is not as clear cut as categorised in the paper," Mr Fournet wrote in his article. "On the whole the conclusion remains pending."
But Prof Lee says that his most recent analysis of the symbols, which has yet to be published, has reinforced his original conclusions.
He also stressed he did not claim that the carvings were a full and detailed record of the Pictish language.
"The symbols themselves are a very constrained vocabulary," he said. "But that doesn’t mean that Pictish had such a constrained vocabulary."
He said the carvings might convey the same sort of meaning as a list, perhaps of significant names, which would explain the limited number of words used.
"It’s like finding a menu for a restaurant [written in English], and that being your sole repository of the English language."
Article from: bbc.co.uk
Also tune into:
Michael S. Schneider - Constructing The Universe with 1 through 12, Nature’s Numerical and Geometric Language
Dan Winter - Fractal Geometry & The Golden Mean
Gary Biltcliffe - The Spirit of Portland & The Spine of Albion
Barbara Lamb - Crop Circles Revealed
David Flynn - The Giant’s Geoglyphs of Tiahuanaco
Freddy Silva - Ancient Sacred Sites, Invisible Temples, Giants & Our Ancestors
Klaus Schmidt - Göbekli Tepe: The World’s Oldest Temple?
Hugh Newman - Megalithomania(cs) & Megalithic Mesoamerica
Scott Wolter - The Kensington Rune Stone
Michael Tsarion - Colonization & The "Celts"
Ancient Indian language dies out
Foundations of Stone (Video)
Grave slabs and Pictish Symbols of Scotland
Pictish stones - Wikipedia
The Picts - Wikipedia
The Language of the Future: Evolutionary Math Breaks the Code
Experts trying to decipher ancient language
The Power Of Symbolic Language And UFOs
First Tongue: An Ancient Global Language
Latest News from our Front Page
Sweden’s military drills for an invasion of Stockholm
2014 11 24
During two weekends in November, units from the Life Guards, Command and Control and Luftvärnsregementet practiced defense of Stockholm.
Stockholm, and its vital public infrastructure, will be defended in the event of armed aggression, and it must be practiced. Therefore joined several units to defend the strategically important locations in and around the capital.
Comment: Pro NATO influences in Sweden once again ...
Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Ancient Aryan Mummies and Pyramids of China
2014 11 21
After years of controversy and political intrigue, archaeologists using genetic testing have proven that Caucasians roamed China’s Tarim Basin thousands of years before East Asian people arrived.
The research, which the Chinese government has appeared to have delayed making public out of concerns of fueling Uighur Muslim separatism in its western-most Xinjiang region, is based on a cache of ancient dried-out ...
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
|More News » |