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A new discovery near Urtalkas

From:Rik <rik@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 28, 2002, 22:30
Well, when I say new I don't mean "new". The archaeology dig led by Professor
Hutlarhe 41 orbits ago some 20 measures south of Urtalkas uncovered a mass of
material, including examples of an unknown language. Current estimates of the
age of this hoard vary between 4,300 and 4,750 orbits.

Anyway, one item was of particular interest to linguists, as it appeared to
be part of a child's primer. Four illustrations are carved into a stone book,
and each illustration is accompanied by a "word". A fifth word appears at the
bottom of the stone book. The lettering seems distantly related to the Telik
script - though the language appears to have no relationship to those
languages, or any of their forbears.

Professor Canhte, working in the UGU Linguistics Department, is claiming a
breakthrough in the interpretation of this unknown language. Over the next
few posts, I shall try to explain her theories.

I shall present the evidence in this post. In the next post I will summarise
the phonology that Prof. Canhte is using while working with the language -
though even she has reservations about the veracity of the system, admitting
some of the sounds assigned to the letters is pure guesswork. Then in
subsequent posts I will try to explain her theories of how the language works.

So, firstly the evidence.

The stone is carved in the likeness of a bound book, closed. There are no
markings on the stone except for the front cover. The cover would open to the
left and, given that each word appears to start on the left hand side of the
page (reflected in many other artifacts with writing on them), we are
confident the script is written from left to right.

The four images are as follows:

1. a running dog;
2. a dog running towards a man;
3. a man reading a book;
4. a book held in a hand.

The text which accompanies each of these images is:

1. saltso'vo'eslaqu'ppwa'zcik
2. laspwa'zcikaqu'msikzcleksincan
3. lasksincanlaqepgvcusa'bkleso'es
4. losdzcanaqu'pswo'gvcusa'bgwiteifc

The last "word" appears at the bottom of the front cover of the stone book,
and is as follows:


I'll post details of Prof. Canhe's working phonology model tomorrow.



JS Bangs <jaspax@...>