linguistics

Karl Richard Lepsius – A Pioneer in Modern Archaeology

Karl Richard Lepsius – A Pioneer in Modern Archaeology

On July 10 1884, Prussian egyptologist and linguist Karl Richard Lepsius passed away. Lepsius is regarded as one of the founding fathers of scientific methods in archaeology. His plans, maps and drawings of tomb and temple walls are of high accuracy and reliability. In 1866 he found found the Canopus decree at Tanis. Being written in two languages, it was a valuable cross-reference for the prior interpretation of the Rosetta…
The Native American studies of Horatio Hale

The Native American studies of Horatio Hale

On May 3, 1817, American-Canadian ethnologist, philologist and businessman Horatio Hale was born. Hale studied language as a key for classifying ancient peoples and being able to trace their migrations. He was the first to discover that the Tutelo language of Virginia belonged to the Siouan family, and to identify the Cherokee language as a member of the Iroquoian family of languages. Horatio Hale attended Harvard College and in 1834,…
Yuri Knorozov and the Decipherment of the Mayan Language

Yuri Knorozov and the Decipherment of the Mayan Language

On November 19, 1922, Soviet linguist epigrapher and ethnographer Yuri Knorozov was born. Knorozov is particularly renowned for the pivotal role his research played in the decipherment of the Maya script, the writing system used by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica. Knorozov was born in a village near Kharkiv in Ukraine, at that time the capital of the newly formed Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, into a family of Russian intellectuals. At…
Esperanto – a Universal International Language

Esperanto – a Universal International Language

On November 24, 1887, the first German translation of Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof’s ‘Unua Libro’, the first book to describe the artificial universal language esperanto was published. Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language. It is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world. Esperanto was created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by L. L. Zamenhof, who was a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist from Białystok, then part of the Russian…
Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

Michael Ventris and the Minoan Linear B

On July 12, 1922, English architect and linguist Michael Ventris was born. Along with John Chadwick and Alice Kober, Ventris deciphered Linear B, a previously unknown ancient script discovered at Knossos by Arthur Evans. He showed that the Minoan Linear B script was a very early form of Greek, the oldest known examples. Michael Ventris was born as the only child into a traditional army family to Edward Francis Vereker…
Steven Pinker on yovisto

Steven Pinker on yovisto

Harvard linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts — the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest. Steven Pinker’s books have been like bombs tossed into the eternal nature-versus-nurture debate. Pinker asserts that not only are human minds predisposed to certain kinds of…
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