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Old-yet-still-learnable languages - UniLang

Old-yet-still-learnable languages

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Lauren
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Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-21, 4:51

I wanted to make a list for easy future access of which dead, ancient, and extinct languages that we know enough of to learn, and a place to discuss them.

You may ask yourself, what does it mean to be a dead-but-learnable language? It must have numerous texts written in it and it must have an adequately researched pronunciation system. That's all I can think of off the top of my head since I'm distracted by The Big Bang Theory, so if anyone wants to add any other criterion, please do so.

Learnable:
Coptic
Old Babylonian, Middle, New, Late; Standard Babylonian
Old Assyrian -> Middle Assyrian -> New Assyrian
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical/Classical Hebrew**
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek**
Latin* **
    Old Galician/Old Portuguese
    Old Leonese
    Old Castilian
    Old Aragonese
    Old Occitan/Provençal
    Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old French-> Middle French
Old Welsh -> Middle Welsh
Middle Cornish
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Old Norse (Old Icelandic)
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian**
Sanskrit**
Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese
Old Tamil -> Middle Tamil
Ottoman Turkish
Chagatai
Classical Nahuatl
Classical Chinese

On the fence:
Sumerian
Middle Egyptian (no vowels)
Old Akkadian (pre sargonic -> sargonic -> Ur III) (???)
Ugaritic
Umbrian
Oscan
Gothic*
Yola*
Old Prussian*
Old Persian
Sogdian
Hittite
Tocharian A/B
Gaulish*
Norn*

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Lepontic
Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc *
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Moabite
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Hattic
Phrygian
Ammonite
North Picene
South Picene
Venetic
Messapian
Lydian
Lycian
Sidetic
Pisidian
Carian
Illyrian
Dacian
Thracian
Volscian
Meroitic
Vandalic*
Lombardic
Burgundian*
Goguryeo
Buyeo
Silla
Baekje
Gaya

*reconstruction and/or revival movements exist
**in use as a ritual language
Last edited by Lauren on 2015-03-12, 4:24, edited 6 times in total.
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Bijlee
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Bijlee » 2013-01-21, 5:01

This is a really useful topic. I've thought about learning certain dead languages before like Akkadian where I wasn't sure how much I could get out of it.
Sanskrit is definitely learnable- it's still used a lot, being it's so important to Hindus. Lots of literature too! I think Pali is too, but since I don't know too much about it, I won't make an assessment.


Learnable languages:
Latin
Ancient Greek
Prussian
Sanskrit

On the fence:
Akkadian
Ancient Egyptian
Gothic

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Hittite

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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-21, 5:08

Ah yes, I forgot about Sanskrit! Yeah, I thought it would be useful for people interested in learning dead languages, but aren't sure if their language is really learnable. :)

I've been thinking about learning some Akkadian in addition to Hungarian, but I'm going to take a look at Sanskrit. I have always wanted to learn an Indo-Aryan language, and it's history is quite interesting.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Bijlee » 2013-01-21, 5:28

Ooh! Do Sanskrit! Sanskrit and Ancient Greek are next on my list of classical languages after I finally get into my Latin(which I think I'm going to have to force-feed to my boyfriend, so he'll finally learn with me).

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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-21, 5:33

It's a possibility. :) I'm looking into it as we speak. I do have several resources for learning it, so I could.

I'll add some more I couldn't think of before.

Learnable languages:
Latin
Ancient Greek
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English

On the fence:
Old High German: Not sure about this one, since I don't know much about it.
Akkadian
Ancient Egyptian
Gothic

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Hittite
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lur » 2013-01-21, 5:50

Ooh, I've thought on this before.

This classification is a bit subjective. I mean you get stuff like Greek where some dialects are more known than others, and where pronunciation has been more or less deduced except maybe a phoneme here and there.

Learnable languages:
Latin
Ancient Greek
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English
Classical Arabic
Classical Chinese (?)
Old Castilian
Old Galician or Old Portuguese
Coptic (?)
Biblical Hebrew (?)

On the fence:
Old High German: Not sure about this one, since I don't know much about it. [I think there's very little text known]
Akkadian
Ancient Egyptian [the vowel problem would make me classify this as not learnable. I mean, you can learn vocabulary and grammar but pronouncing it is another matter.]
Gothic

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Hittite
Gaulish [bits and pieces known]
Phoenician [this is like Egyptian but with small number of texts]
Sumerian [a funny (or sad) case where there are texts aand enough stuff to keep you entertained but everything is in doubt from pronunciation to grammar. Maybe it should go in the On the fence category?]

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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-21, 6:25

Thanks for the contribution. Well, I meant mostly Attic with Ancient Greek, which is very well known. It's very sad that so little it known about Sumerian, I love it. :cry: I may still attempt to learn it one day. Who knows, maybe I could be a Sumerologist when I'm old, like all the other ones. :D

As for where to put it, I'm not sure... I'd leave it as not learnable, since we know so little about the grammar.

And sorry Bijlee, I think I'll stick with Akkadian. Sanskrit seems too hard to pronounce and write.

Learnable languages:
Akkadian
Ancient Greek
Latin
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English
Old French
Classical Arabic
Old Castilian
Old Galician or Old Portuguese
Coptic
Biblical Hebrew

On the fence:
Classical Chinese (?)
Ancient Egyptian
Gothic
Old High German

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Hittite
Gaulish
Phoenician
Sumerian
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B: It seems we know a little bit, but there also seems to be very basic words missing.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-01-21, 10:56

Thanks to Wright's Old High/Middle German Primer's being available freely online Old High German and Middle German are quite learnable. And there are plenty of other goodies online.

By which criteria are we establishing the categories? As most people who deal with these languages are interesting in learning to read, I'd say that Classical Chinese, and Ancient Egyptian can be moved over to "learnable." We know enough about these languages to read them quite effectively. Gothic might be another story, for the Bible in Gothic is heavy on mirroring the original Greek. If an original Gothic text were ever to be found, things might get sticky.

Learnable languages:
Akkadian
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English
Old French
Classical Arabic
Old Castilian
Old Galician or Old Portuguese
Coptic
Biblical Hebrew
Old High German
Middle High German
Middle English
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Classical Chinese
Ancient Egyptian


On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Gaulish
Phoenician
Sumerian
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B: It seems we know a little bit, but there also seems to be very basic words missing.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lur » 2013-01-21, 13:17

Well the criteria she's using seems to be using is having a clear comprehension of the grammar, wide vocabulary, knowing how it's pronounced and having texts that show us at least one register with it's particular syntax and usage. Most conform themselves with reading, but for me if you "learn" a language that includes, ideally, pronouncing and speaking it. Although doing it perfectly is another matter.

Lowena wrote:And sorry Bijlee, I think I'll stick with Akkadian. Sanskrit seems too hard to pronounce and write.

Cuneiform is tricky as well :twisted:

I think between those two I'd too end up going with Akkadian. It's not Indoeuropean, it's ooold, it had Sumerian influence, it has an impressive-looking script, and it's historical relevance is big (I have been meaning to write something set whithin Mesopotamian mythology for a while). On the other hand Sanskrit is like Greek and Latin and... well I'm derailing this thread.

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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-01-21, 13:58

Luke wrote:Well the criteria she's using seems to be using is having a clear comprehension of the grammar, wide vocabulary, knowing how it's pronounced and having texts that show us at least one register with it's particular syntax and usage.

That is what it seems like, but then again she has expressed an interest in using old languages like modern ones, so I'm not sure if that sneaked in or not.

Most conform themselves with reading, but for me if you "learn" a language that includes, ideally, pronouncing and speaking it. Although doing it perfectly is another matter.

True. And even those of us mainly interested in reading comprehension do like to have some idea of pronunciation.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2013-01-21, 14:11

Bijlee wrote:I think Pali is too, but since I don't know too much about it, I won't make an assessment.

Pali should definitely be on the learnable list. There's a large canon of texts written in it, and it's still a liturgical language among Theravada Buddhists. Its phonology is well understood as it's a rather straightforward evolution from that of Sanskrit.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby JackFrost » 2013-01-21, 20:03

Old Catalan is definitely learnable and there are quite of literary works in the medieval period due to the fact that the Crown of Aragon was a major power back then.

And I was going to say something about Hittite since I thought it should be on the fence instead. Mainly because it's the oldest attested Indo-European language and there are grammar books too. We have a better idea of how it sounded like than Proto-Indo-European in my opinion.
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-01-21, 21:27

JackFrost wrote:And I was going to say something about Hittite since I thought it should be on the fence instead. Mainly because it's the oldest attested Indo-European language and there are grammar books too. We have a better idea of how it sounded like than Proto-Indo-European in my opinion.

Exactly why I moved it to the "On the Fence" category. :wink: I almost moved it to "Learnable," but the issue of phonology stopped me from going that far.

Learnable languages:
Akkadian
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English
Old French
Classical Arabic
Old Castilian
Old Galician or Old Portuguese
Coptic
Biblical Hebrew
Old High German
Middle High German
Middle English
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Classical Chinese
Ancient Egyptian
Pali/Prakrit
Classical Japanese
Old Persian
Avestan
Ge'ez
Classical Tibetan

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Gaulish
Phoenician
Sumerian
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B
þūhte mē þæt ic gesāwe syllicre trēow on lyft lædan lēohte bewunden bēama beorhtost.

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Lauren
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-21, 22:24

Added Classical Syriac.

Learnable languages:
Akkadian
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Prussian
Sanskrit
Old Irish
Old Norse
Old English
Old French
Classical Arabic
Old Castilian
Old Galician or Old Portuguese
Coptic
Biblical Hebrew
Old High German
Middle High German
Middle English
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Classical Chinese
Ancient Egyptian
Pali/Prakrit
Classical Japanese
Old Persian
Avestan
Ge'ez
Classical Tibetan
Classical Syriac

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite

Not-learnable:
Etruscan
Gaulish
Phoenician
Sumerian
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B
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Lur
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lur » 2013-01-22, 8:05

In some cases we should put a description of what it's known and unkown.

Learnable languages:
Ancient Egyptian (stages?) (?) -> Coptic
Akkadian (Akkadian -> Babylonian/Assyrian)
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical Hebrew
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Old French
Old Castilian
Old Galician/Old Portuguese
Old Occitan/Provençal
Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Prussian
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Sanskrit
Old Persian -> Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Old Norse
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Classical Chinese
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite

Not-learnable:
Ugaritic (?)
Etruscan
Gaulish, Lepontic, Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Umbrian (?)
Oscan (?)
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Sumerian
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B

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Limagne
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Limagne » 2013-01-22, 10:24

It is arguable wether Old Persian should really be classified as learnable. The corpus we have is unfortunately very limited...

Middle-Persian on the other hand has more literature and much of it is accessible with a simple internet connection.

And let's not forget Sogdian and its vast collection of religious texts.

Learnable languages:
Ancient Egyptian (stages?) (?) -> Coptic
Akkadian (Akkadian -> Babylonian/Assyrian)
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical Hebrew
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Old French
Old Castilian
Old Galician/Old Portuguese
Old Occitan/Provençal
Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Prussian
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Sanskrit
Old Persian -> Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Old Norse
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Classical Chinese
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite
Sogdian

Not-learnable:
Ugaritic (?)
Etruscan
Gaulish, Lepontic, Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Umbrian (?)
Oscan (?)
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Sumerian
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B[/quote]

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księżycowy
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby księżycowy » 2013-01-22, 11:19

Limagne wrote:It is arguable wether Old Persian should really be classified as learnable. The corpus we have is unfortunately very limited...

We can move it to "On the Fence"

Learnable languages:
Ancient Egyptian (stages?) (?) -> Coptic
Akkadian (Akkadian -> Babylonian/Assyrian)
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical Hebrew
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Old French
Old Castilian
Old Galician/Old Portuguese
Old Occitan/Provençal
Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Prussian
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Sanskrit
Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Old Norse
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Classical Chinese
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite
Sogdian
Old Persian

Not-learnable:
Ugaritic (?)
Etruscan
Gaulish, Lepontic, Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Umbrian (?)
Oscan (?)
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Sumerian
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B
þūhte mē þæt ic gesāwe syllicre trēow on lyft lædan lēohte bewunden bēama beorhtost.

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Lur
Posts: 2436
Joined: 2012-04-15, 23:22
Real Name: V.
Location: Al-Andalus

Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lur » 2013-01-22, 15:19

Learnable languages:
Ancient Egyptian (stages?) (?) -> Coptic
Akkadian (Akkadian -> Babylonian/Assyrian)
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical Hebrew
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Old Galician/Old Portuguese
Old Leonese
Old Castilian
Old Aragonese
Old Occitan/Provençal
Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old French
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Old Norse
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Prussian
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Sanskrit
Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Classical Chinese
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese
Old Tamil -> Middle Tamil

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite
Sogdian
Old Persian

Not-learnable:
Ugaritic (?)
Umbrian (?)
Oscan (?)
Sumerian
Etruscan
Gaulish, Lepontic, Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Moabite
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B
Hattic
Phrygian
Ammonite
North Picene
South Picene
Venetic
Messapian
Lydian
Lycian
Sidetic
Pisidian
Carian
Thracian
Volscian
Meroitic

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Bijlee
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Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Bijlee » 2013-01-24, 1:17

Lowena wrote:And sorry Bijlee, I think I'll stick with Akkadian. Sanskrit seems too hard to pronounce and write.


Hisssssssssssssssssssssssssss :evil: :evil:



Adding Ottoman Turkish onto learnable....

Learnable languages:
Ancient Egyptian (stages?) (?) -> Coptic
Akkadian (Akkadian -> Babylonian/Assyrian)
Eblaite (?)
Classical Arabic
Ge'ez
Classical Syriac
Biblical Hebrew
Ancient Greek/Koine Greek
Latin
Old Galician/Old Portuguese
Old Leonese
Old Castilian
Old Aragonese
Old Occitan/Provençal
Old Catalan (splits from Occitan at some point)
Old French
Old Irish -> Middle Irish
Old Norse
Old English -> Middle English
Old High German -> Middle High German
Prussian
Old Church Slavonic/ Old Bulgarian
Sanskrit
Middle Persian
Pali/Prakrit
Avestan
Classical Chinese
Classical Tibetan
Classical Japanese
Old Tamil -> Middle Tamil
Ottoman Turkish

On the fence:
Gothic
Hittite
Sogdian
Old Persian

Not-learnable:
Ugaritic (?)
Umbrian (?)
Oscan (?)
Sumerian
Etruscan
Gaulish, Lepontic, Galatian
Noric
Primitive Irish
Celtiberian, Astur, Galaic, etc
Lusitanian
Tartessian
Iberian
Phoenician
Moabite
Elamite
Hurrian/Urartian
Tocharian A/B
Hattic
Phrygian
Ammonite
North Picene
South Picene
Venetic
Messapian
Lydian
Lycian
Sidetic
Pisidian
Carian
Thracian
Volscian
Meroitic

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Lauren
Posts: 2938
Joined: 2012-04-09, 7:50
Real Name: Lauren
Gender: female
Location: Kent
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Old-yet-still-learnable languages

Postby Lauren » 2013-01-24, 1:40

Bijlee wrote:
Lowena wrote:And sorry Bijlee, I think I'll stick with Akkadian. Sanskrit seems too hard to pronounce and write.


Hisssssssssssssssssssssssssss :evil: :evil:


Don't hiss at me! :lol:

I've always been interested in Mesopotamia, so Akkadian appeals to me more. :)
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