Deciphering the language of ancient Indian civilization sparked fierce debate

27.04.2009

Scientists were able to decipher the unknown language signs and amulets belonging to an ancient civilization. Indian civilization has survived its heyday around 4500 years ago on the eastern border of present Pakistan, was virtually unknown, reports Guardian. However, archaeologists have found a rich collection of artifacts, amulets, seals and ceramic plates with unusual characters.

The discovery has caused a storm of controversy in the scientific community. According to some researchers inscriptions on tablets written in a primitive language, other scientists think it is a simple pictograms.

More than 500 Indian symbols are decoded, these are images of fish, rings, human and cow's head. Scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle and the Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai attempted to decipher the language of symbols to shed light on the existence of the Indian civilization.

With the help of a computer program, the team conducted a comparative analysis of the Indian character to known languages and information systems and programming languages.

Some information systems of the order of symbols can be random, whereas the language of icons depicting the deity and other representations, there is usually a strict hierarchy that determines the order of words, characters. In spoken languages are represented and both systems indicate that provides ordering and flexibility.

The study showed that in the language of ancient Hindu word order is the same as in the spoken language. Scientists have published a study in the Journal of Materials Science, comparing the language with the ancient Sumerian language of Mesopotamia and the ancient Tamil language.

"At the moment, the Indian inscriptions seem to us to record a spoken language," — says Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington.

The famous linguist and expert on India Asko Parpola of Helsinki University is optimistic about the future.

"Language — is a measure of civilization. If we are dealing with an ancient script, we will be able to understand the language and learn more about the views, religion and culture of the ancient Hindus. This civilization has left the literature, so the only chance — it's decipherment of ancient tablets" — he says.

In the 19th century, scientists were able to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, which found papyrus Egyptian hieroglyphics translated into Greek. To decipher the Indian line, you may need a similar source.
 

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