Thursday, October 15, 2015

Early Peruvian Languages-Part IV

Continuing from the last three posts regarding both early Peruvian languages, and the place of both Aymara and Quechua languages in Andean Peru today.
    The earlier example about English changing between 1000 AD and 2000 A.D., is only one of thousands of examples that could be used to show the drastic changes that take place in a living language over time. That Moroni and Mormon could read these earlier reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics that Nephi and others used in recording their record only shows that when you see the changes over time that is made in a language, you can read the before and after examples. However, when a language stops being used, and linguists know that language at that time, they can read it thousands of years later. But when a language continues to alter and change over a thousand year period, unknown to a linguist that knew it in the beginning, they would be hard pressed to understand the language after such a period of change—likely it would appear as “scribbling” if the glyphs had changed dramatically.
Early Egyptologists (along with some of their wives) unwrapping a mummy under the direction of the lead physician Daniel Marie Fouquet, with Maspero to his right
    While this is only common sense, it is interesting that these Egyptologist linguists cannot understand that or at least do not take it into consideration. Obviously, they cannot read the writing because it is not the same as that which they studied in antiquity because it was altered through a thousand years of use. And that alteration makes it unreadable to anyone unless they have a key in which to understand it. For the ancient Egyptian language, the key was the Rosetta stone—a black basalt slab bearing an inscription dating from the year 196 B.C., found by Napoleon’s troops who were digging an extension foundation for a fort near the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile Delta, Lower Egypt. The importance of the Stone lay in the fact that the Egyptian hieroglyphic text was accompanied by the Greek translation, which could be read and understood by scholars. A third inscription on the stone was written in Demotic, a cursive script developed late in Egyptian history and used in most cases only for secular documents.
Left: Eguptian hieroglyphs from about 2500 B.C. to 400 A.D. After that, it became a dead or "unknown" language not spoken or understood by anyone until the discovery of trhe Rosetta Stone in 1799; Right: Changes in Egyptian writing or language from Hieroglyph to Demotic to Coptic, the latter two considered scripts
    For the Maya language it was a series of keys, that unlike the Rosetta Stone, involved a long series of hunches and tantalizing insights as well as false leads, blind alleys, and heated disagreements among scholars. Not until a significant breakthrough came with a brilliant discovery by David Stuart, just out of high school and later a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and the challenging theories of Soviet linguist Yuri Knorosov, who showed that Maya writing was a combination of signs for complete words and symbols for syllables, and was, in theory, capable of conveying any word in the Maya language and therefore a rich range of content, was the language deciphered to some degree, though this work is still in progress. The newest discovery by linguists is in the claiming a still-surviving version of the sacred religious language of the ancient Maya is the key to interpreting Mayan hieroglyphic texts that for years have defied interpretation.
There are at least 21 different Mayan languages in Mesoamerica, with K'iche' being the most spoken with 2.3 million speakers and the largest indigenous population in Guatemala. Yucatec is the widest spoken Mayan language in Mexico and a portion of those in the Yucatan. Mayan hieroglyphic script was widespread from 250-900 A.D.
    These archaeologists and linguists have identified a little-known native Indian language as the descendant of the elite tongue spoken by rulers and religious leaders of the ancient Maya, a language called Ch'orti—spoken today by just a few thousand Guatemalan Indians. Over the next few years dozens of linguists and anthropologists are expected to start mining this Ch'orti language and culture for words and expressions. Up until now, scholars had thought that, in spoken form, the ancient Maya elite sacred language was extinct, but research by a team led by archaeologist Professor Steven Houston and linguist Professor John Robertson of Brigham Young University, has now shown that Ch'orti evolved directly out of that sacred language that descended from the original language spoken throughout an area of what is now Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and southern Mexico. Archaeological research has shown that as the civilization progressed and spread, other Central American Maya languages came to be spoken. But because of its association with the first Maya civilization, successive generations of Maya elites preserved proto-Ch'orti as a sacred language.
    For Joseph Smith, of course, it was the Urim and Thummim, an instrument mentioned several times in the Old Testament as “A Means of Revelation in Ancient Israel.” That is, this instrument was actually used in ancient Israel as a means of receiving revelation from God.
For the modern Egyptologist who so quickly discredits the glyphs, there is no key.
    And this brings us back to the language of the Book of Mormon. At the present time, we have no key to Reformed Egyptian, nor do we even have the text of Reformed Egyptian in hand. So for those who want to know more about the Reformed Egyptian of which Mormon and the others wrote on the plates, we will simply have to wait upon the Lord.
    As for the languages we find in existence now in the Land of Promise, there are those who identify the Quechua and Aymara of the Peruvian carry-overs from the Nephite-Lamanite period.
    Contrary to popular belief, Quechua did not originate with the Inca, but was already widely spoken across the Central Andes long before the time of the Incas, who established it as their official language of administration for their Empire. According to Paul Heggarty, who specializes in Andean languages of the Quechua family, and a linguist in comparative linguistics from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and associated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, while Quechua is still spoken today in various regional forms (dialects) by some 10 million people throughout much of western South America, mostly in Peru, the language dates back at least a thousand years before the Inca, making it in existence at the time of the end of the Nephite Nation.
    About twenty-five percent of all Peruvians speak Quechua, and one-third of those do not speak any other language.  It is also spoken in Bolivia, southern Colombia, north-western Argentina, and northern Chile, as well as Ecuador,where more than on million people speak the language, which they call Quichua. It is the most widely spoken language of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. These indigenous natives refer to their language as Runasimi, (runa "people" and simi "mouth") meaning the "language of the people."
    Long before the Inca rose to power in the 15th century, Quechua was spoken in places like Chavín, with the Original Quechua most likely spoken first of all in Central Peru, perhaps on the coast but more likely in the highland interior, and though there are several Quechuan dialects in the Andes, they stem from a common beginning, though the more distant dialects are apart, the more difficult it is for one group to understand another group. 
The Quechua language was spoken almost entirely in the north (Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador), while the Aymara language was an is spoken almost entirely in the south (southern Peru and Chile)
    Quechua has been written using the Roman alphabet since the Spanish conquest of Peru. However, written Quechua is not utilized by the Quechua-speaking people at large due to the lack of printed referential material in Quechua. Until the 20th century, Quechua was written with a Spanish-based orthography, allowing many Quechuan words to make their way into Spanish and English. Some common English words derived from Quechua are: coca, condor, guano, gaucho, guanaco, Inca, jerky, lima [bean], llama, pampa, puma, quipu, quinine, quinoa, and vicuña.
    In addition, the cardinal numbers in Quechua are: ch'usaq (0), huk (1), iskay (2), kimsa (3), tawa (4), pichqa (5), suqta (6), qanchis (7), pusaq (8), isqun (9), chunka (10), chunka hukniyuq (11), chunka iskayniyuq (12), iskay chunka (20), pachak (100), waranqa (1,000), hunu (1,000,000), lluna, (1,000,000,000,000).
    Though Quechua is traditionally referred to as a single language, many linguists treat it as a family of related Quechuan langauges, with approximately 46 dialects, including Alfredo Torero, upon whose work and analysis the present classification of the Quechua language family is fundamentally based.
Much more could be written about Quechua and Aymara, the two basic languages of indigenous Peru, or the Andes, that fit well into the understanding we have of the two langauges used by the Nephite Nation, and more specifically, the two languages (with other dialectual usage) that is found among the Nephites throughout their history. What that language eventually deteriorated into, as it is now found, can not be evaluated because of the lack of a central language system between 600 B.C. and 1525 A.D., when the Spanish arrived and there would be no reason to expect to be duplicative. However, two basic languages showing a survival factor used by nearly everyone of that linage today, should suggest a connection worth investigating, and probably would, except for those interested in such things professionally are so dedicated to the Maya language and the Mesoamerican theme.
    It might be found at some point in the future, if such resources could be freed from the fruitless research into the Mayan language in connection to the Book of Mormon, and more effort placed in the location of the Land of promise, i.e., the Quechua and Aymara languages.

No comments:

Post a Comment