Ancient scripts is a site written and maintained by someone who is a computer expert, not a linguist. The resource is easy to navigate and, in spite of the fact that the author is not a linguistic scholar, thorough and valuable in its content. On these pages you will find a display of more than thirty writing systems, a section on phonetics and language families, a timeline, a bibliography and an introduction to historical linguistics. This site is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in one particular writing system or in linguistics in general.
This specialist resource is an online edition of Dr Nicolle Hirschfeld's 1996 book The PASP database for the uses of scripts on Cyprus (Minos Supplement 13) which aims in the long-term to provide a comprehensive account of all the ancient inscriptions and glyphs from Cyprus, whether on stone, clay or metal and coin. The people of the island of Cyprus employed a variety of writing systems to record their spoken languages in the Bronze and Iron Ages, including the syllabic Cypro-Minoan and Cypro-Classical scripts as well as alphabetic Greek and Phoenician letters. The current database includes Cypro-Minoan writings from the Late Bronze Age circa 1700-1000 BCE which record an undeciphered language (or languages) and the closely related Cypro-Classical script of the succeeding Iron Age which lasted down to the 3rd century BC when it was displaced by the Greek alphabet. Cypro-Classical was used to record both the local Greek dialect and an undeciphered tongue called Eteo-Cypriot. Phoenician and Roman inscriptions will be added in future editions of the database, in addition to the inscriptions in cuneiform, Egyptian and Ugaritic which have also been found in the island. The database is searchable by inscription number, object type, geographical context, nature and material and is prefaced by various instructions on how to use the data. This resource will benefit researchers in the ancient writings and scripts of the Mediterranean world, particularly those interested in the transmission of the alphabet to the Greek world and the interaction of cultures in the region in the Bronze and Iron Age, as well as more general students of Cypriot and Near Eastern archaeology.
Ogham is a writing system used in the Celtic-speaking areas of the British Isles (Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Devon) from the 5th to the 7th century AD. This resource, part of a commercial typographic website, provides a portal to a fascinating range of online pages concerned with the script, from research bibliographies, online texts and fonts to pagan and commercial links. The script consists of tally-like vertical or diagonal strokes arranged along an fixed axis and was mostly used for tomb inscriptions. Its origin has been ascribed to Greek and Germanic (runic) influence, but it most probably originated as a result of contact with Latin writing, which in British contexts often occurs alongside Ogham on inscriptions. So-called scholarly Ogham is also found in Irish mediaeval manuscripts and was apparently studied as late as the 17th century AD. As with other mysterious ancient scripts like Runic, it has been discovered in North America, and connections with Berber and Egyptian have been made by exponents of weirdo archaeology, as one of the links from this site observes. A sizeable number of the links are to commercial, New Age or Celtic-fringe sites which, while of limited or dubious academic value, are nonetheless of interest for their insights on the interest of archaeology and ancient scripts in the modern world. The editor, Michael Everson, is a commercial writing expert interested in developing high quality IT typographic tools and the parent site provides a much wider set of useful resources in this area.
Evolution of Alphabets is a short but instructive resource which highlights the development of eight sets of characters using animation graphics. It enables you to trace the evolution of the Cuneiform, the Phoenician, the Greek, the Hebrew, the Arabic, the Etruscan and the Latin alphabet, and gives you date ranges.
This set of Web pages provides an introduction to the study of ancient Iberian languages, based on inscriptions found in modern Spain and Portugal. The various sections discuss Levantine Iberian writing, Greek-Iberian, Celtiberian, and the Sudlusitanian-Tartessian language. The site provides a guide to the phonetics of each alphabet, and offers theories as to where each alphabet is derived from. The arguments surrounding the origins of each language are explored, as are the issues surrounding the relationships between the several languages and scripts, such as the Basque-Iberian hypothesis. Some example inscriptions are provided on the site, as is a bibliography.
This website is a specialised research tool for linguists and students of textual editions of Old English manuscripts. Graphotactics is defined by Professor Robert D. Stevick, the author of the website, as 'the incidence and measure of spacings between strings of written symbols of a text, where both the graphic symbols and the spacings carry linguistic information'. In its present state, the website contains the analysis of two manuscripts: Beowulf (British Library Cotton Vitellius Axv, fols. 132-201v), and Alexander's Letter (British Library Cotton Vitellius Axv, fols. 107-131v). Other manuscripts are in progress. The study of each manuscript is broken down into several analytical sections, each being a separate PDF file.
The website of the Spanish organisation for the promotion of linguistics offers both information about the different languages and dialects within the Iberian peninsula, and information about a vast number of languages and dialects throughout the world. The site offers colour-coded maps to indicate the regions in which a particular language is spoken, and for most of the languages featured, the user may read a brief history, details of its relation to other dialects, the number of speakers, facsimiles of original manuscripts, summaries of the grammar structure, examples of the written language and alphabet: in short, substantial introductory information for students of linguistics. There is a special section dedicated to historical and modern alphabets throughout the world. This allows the user to search for writing examples and alphabets according to genealogical; geographical; or alphabetical classifications. The organisation is also undertaking projects, and information about these can be found on the website. Some examples are: teaching sign language to hearing-impaired young people; translations into Aragonese; and sociolinguistics in Ecuatorial Guinea. A number of articles written by the organisation's collaborators are available on the site, on themes such as: linguistic theories of humour; sociolinguistics; and the evaluation of dictionaries. The site gives great importance to the translation of religious texts, such as the Bible and the Qumran manuscripts, and there is also a database of Bible translators throughout history. This impressive site is recommended for students of the history of the Spanish language and Spanish linguistics in particular, although anyone interested in world languages will find material of worth here.
This is the website of the Script Encoding Initiative; a project initiated and run by the Department of Linguistics at University of California, Berkeley in co-operation with the Unicode Consortium. The aim of the project is to provide proposals for encoding scripts not yet supported in Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646) as of 2006. The project estimates that, being the process of encoding slow many scripts will still be not encoded in ten years; there are some 80 scripts, minority and historic that are not yet encoded. The resource contains general information about the project, including the project’s progress as well as to links of a large set of the proposals which are downloadable as PDF-files.