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Linguistic Archaeology

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Overview

Edo Nyland shares with us his research on the evolution of European and other languages and his conclusions offer fresh perspectives to challenge traditional views entertained by the linguistic establishment. Nyland's research was inspired by a CBC presentation by historian Edward Furlong who suggested that Odysseus may not at all have been travelling in the Mediterranean but rather in Scotland and Ireland where the climate and topography fit far better the descriptions in the Odyssey. Nyland set off on an odyssey of his own, visiting the proposed locations and while he found much to support Furlong's thesis he felt more evidence was needed to confirm it. He began by examining place names mentioned in the Odyssey and he began to wonder if they might be telling a story. But from what language were they derived? Greek, Latin and Gaelic dictionaries were no help. He discovered a clue in the work of geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza who had suggested that there might have been early migrations of the peoples living along the Atlantic coast, from Morocco to Scotland and Ireland, even Arctic Norway. Of these only the Basques still spoke their original Neolithic language, and in choosing a Basque dictionary to translate coastal place names Nyland found that they did indeed yield remarkably fitting descriptions. In visiting Bronze Age ruins Nyland came on the Ogam inscriptions carved into standing stones of Ireland. These had not been deciphered but Nyland began to suspect they might encode elements of the Basque language. Cracking the code became his mission and in this volume he describes how he did it. After applying his method successfully to such languages as Spanish or German, Sanskrit or Sumerian, Nyland concludes that Basque isthe core language from which so many more were derived.

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