Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Early Peruvian Languages-Part III

Continuing from the last two posts regarding both early Peruvian languages, and the place of Reformed Egyptian within today's Egyptologist line of thinking. 
    Following the hieroglyphic period mentioned in the last post, a fourth category, 4) "Late Egyptian" came into use—which was the everyday language of the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period (1550 - 700 BC) The best examples are secular documents from the Ramesside Period (1300 - 1080 BC). While Old and Middle Egyptian were similar, Late Egyptian was very different in structure. Following this period came the 5) "Demotic,"the ordinary language successor of Late Egyptian written in a script called Demotic, from the beginning of the Late Period to the end of Roman times (700 BC - 500 AD). During this period, the official language of Egypt was Greek, and then Latin. And lastly, 6) "Coptic"—the final stage of the language. It was written in the Greek alphabet with a few letters borrowed from Egyptian. Because it continues to be spoken by the Coptic church, it's the only version where we really know what is sounds like.
Coptic Egyptian, which is typically considered a continuation of the ancient Egyptian language but written with the Greek and Demotic alphabets in the third century A.D. There were some attempts to write the ancient Egyptian language using the Greek Alphabet before this time
    Discoveries made by Champollion have traced the "sculptured letters and alphabetical signs" [of the Ancient Egyptians] to periods prior to the existence of Abraham and Moses. Prior to his discoveries, from Heroditus, Plato, Tactitus, Plutarch and others, it was suspected that Egypt had invented the method of alphabetical writing.
    After Egypt was absorbed into the Roman Empire, a large volume of immigrants of Greeks and Romans came into the country. Since they were largely unable to grasp the intricacies of Egyptian scripts, they adopted a written version of the Egyptian language now referred to as "Coptic" (transcribed into the Greek alphabet with seven extra letters to express sounds not found in Greek).
    It was used from around 200 A. D. until the present. In focusing on hieroglyphic, which is the most famous, it began, like all written language, as pictographic. Some languages, such as Chinese, remained that way, but most, including Egyptian, evolved into a phonetic system. More accurately, Egyptian was a consonantal system in which vowels were not written down, like Arabic and Hebrew, although today we can look at spoken Coptic to guess what the vowels may have been. For most of it's use, hieroglyphics were used for monumental inscriptions and sacred religious texts. Therefore, they would spend a lot of time on each symbol, and make it very beautiful. However, this caused it to look a lot more iconographic than it is, which later was a stumbling block to deciphering it. Of course, hieroglyphics would most accurately be described as a mixed system since even when it was a phonetic system, there were still some symbols that represented meaning. 
    This all boils down to the fact that Egyptian hieroglyphics was a completely unknown language in our time. The ancient Egyptian writing began to be abandoned following the fourth and fifth century A.D. but it was used side by side with the Coptic language until the fifth century A.D. The Byzantine occupation of Egypt in the fourth century A.D. and the Arab conquest of Egypt in the seventh century A.D., followed by the widespread use of Arabic, caused the ancient Egyptian language (in Hieroglyphics, Hieratic, and Demotic) to be totally forgotten, along with its scripts.
Over the past 1500 years, Egyptian truly became an unknown language. Not until the Rosetta Stone was found in 1799, which was the key to provide a means by which modern man could decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics, was it possible to begin studying the dead languages again. From 1800 onward, about 215 years, we have had people seriously working in the field of Egyptology again; however, had the Rosetta Stone not been found, and no other key presented itself, it is likely we would still not know what the hieroglyphics meant.
    Still, it seems bordering on the arrogant and certainly self-serving for Egyptologists to lay claim to knowing all the different Egyptian variants and thousands of symbols to such an extent as to claim there is no Reformed Egyptian language and that the symbols shown in the Anthon text is totally without merit, being little more than “scribbling.”
    Another interesting facet of this is that the only reason modern man believed the Egyptian hieroglyphics meant anything at all is because they were found inscribed and carved all over Egypt. But what if these inscriptions had never been found, or that one man found some, found a key, and interpreted them, writing them down in a lengthy but religious history of Egypt, but then the inscriptions were once again lost. Might not the learned and the wise believe that his was a forgery and that no such language ever existed?
    Consequently, there is nothing regarding such hieroglyphics that have been changed over these two millennium and therefore Egyptologists have centered all their attention on the distant past. 
    However, in a living, dynamic language, such as we use today, there have been many changes over their long period of use. The example of English seen in the previous post from Aelfric’s colloquy of 1000 AD is merely one example. For any English expert of today, professional in their linguistic ability, Old English (Anglo-Saxon) writing is much like “doodlings,” looking much like a child playing on a typewriter. On the other hand, the following examples may also look like gibberish:
2)  ghaHDaq tlheghHommey boSta'chu', teHlaw' net. toH, Dejpu' tlhegh Hommey vam, ngo' bIH, 'ej bIH baghchuqlu'pu', 'ach tlheghHommey Sarqu' ghomchuqlu'. 'ach Hovvam botlhvo' narghtaHmo' naQHom, 'ej 'oH movlu'taHmo' 'oHvaD chongbogh
3)  Oihÿæçhb gou höuiin qenjbnc, øiueamk, feèdûxdx, foiûjb∂ fegn poiuknbl sf∂∂lcod, aesedx ig ytflrÿar mœbyjb diµ pkëbj qwen fœujbçsgd sfll asdkfj oiu ãsdf piñ, asdßcx lkwevenk plmabemcd qaenijbcvon siedpojuvp aernemeiggon ondi te
4)  Mega gratia de tu auxi difusi - tu puta-me pagina es fo stimula! Id sti memo mi de u proto-tem mi pa vide - id es ta facili e habe mega pote pro munda paci e kon-ergo.
5)  Mit en regeltik Grammatik ond en Wortbas wahlen familariet twen der Spraakerens von der nuytide spraaks, planen tu utfuhren in en regional Skale, wad die Esperanto ond andere planered for de Werld hav sielen.
    The point is, to someone unfamiliar with a language, no matter how astute a linguist they may be, the unfamiliarity with an unknown and unrecognizable script will usually lead to a negative response. “That is not a language,” “I’ve never heard of that before,” “That looks like scribbling to me.” 
    The point here being that all the languages above except one are real languages but none are included in the list of Ethnologue’s 6,700+ languages of the world. Ethnologue, by the way, lists the top 10 languages of the world as: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Bengali, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, and Wu Chinese, encompassing 2,550,000,000 people using one of these as their main language.
We might also point out that when Nephi said he began the record in reformed Egyptian in 600 B.C., and Moroni says he concluded the record in 400 A.D. in reformed Egyptian, and that it had been altered by the Nephites, evidently over a 1000 year period, one can well understand why no Egyptologist today can read the hieroglyphics Joseph Smith noted in the so-called Anthon transcript. What is amazing is that no Egyptologist can understand that such significant changes would be wrought over this one thousand year period (600 B.C. – 400 A.D.) as to make their understanding of the ancient hieroglyphics of Pharoah’s time not the same as an ancient script four thousands year later.
(See the next post, “Early Peruvian Languages-Part IV,” for more understanding on the ancient languages of Peru, and why it is important when understanding the Book of Mormon)

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