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Suggestion : Add Links to other Major Ancient Polyglot Inscriptions
Someone should make a page, "Major Ancient Polyglot Inscriptions", and link to this article and have this article link to it, including : the Rosetta Stone (very famous now), the Behistun Inscription, other great Persian Empire inscriptions in general, the Myazedi inscription (Old Burmese and others), the Cloud Platform at Juyong Pass (Classical Chinese, Phags-Pa Classical Mongolian, Tangut and others), and I can't really think of any others that cross language family and writing system family so well, or that are so important for history or decipherment. Other ancient polylingual texts seem on multiple small objects or are small.
The languages on the stone are Greek and Egyptian. A second Egyptian script does not make it trilingual, any more than my handwriting a document in cursive and block lettering makes it bilingual. The link correctly points to the entry for "bilingual inscriptions," but the term is still misleading. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 01:58, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. The text was adjusted recently -- I see why it was done, but "trilingual" is not really true. I've tried another adjustment. No one is ever satisfied with this sentence :) Andrew Dalby 10:40, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Although Demotic and Hieroglyphic are often described as though they were analogous to cursive and block lettering, this is not quite true. It's a little more like, say, Latin in block letters, and Italian in cursive--see my comments at la:Disputatio:Tabula Rosettana#Demotica. Furthermore, Egyptologists themselves regularly refer to the Hieroglyphic-Demotic-Greek Synodic Inscriptions as "trilingual" (for a start, see http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=trilingual+decree ). Yes, you can argue that they are the same language, and that "trilingual" is a misnomer, but why be more exacting about this than the professionals? --Iustinus (talk) 01:34, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I think everyone knows that on the Rosetta Stone we have two languages and three scripts, and everyone is right. It's perfectly true that this is an oversimplification, and that there are linguistic differences between the hieroglyphic and demotic versions, and that to specialists these differences are really important, but in the great scheme of things -- and therefore in the first paragraph of a wikipedia page for non-specialist readers -- the fact that they are the same language outweighs the differences. Remember that the fact of their being the same language helped Young with the first steps of the decipherment: that fact has to be allowed for in this introduction, not negated. There's plenty of room for the details lower down, I think. Lower down, where footnotes are appropriate, those Egyptologists who call the Stone "trilingual" can be footnoted and their view can be justified. Andrew Dalby 18:33, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't read the other comments. Classical Middle Egyptian and Demotic New Egyptian are distinct languages. Take my word for it, look it up in a book, or learn the languages yourselves and see the results of hundreds of years' worth of phonological changes. So it's 3 scripts and 3 languages. It's like if there was a polyglot inscription in Pictish in Ogham Script, Old English in English Runes, and Middle English in Roman Script : 3 languages, 3 scripts (though Pictish is Celtic, so maybe something like Old Finnish in Old Hungarian Runes would be a less plausible though more apt match).
Sorry, I didn't see this before. I don't know who "yourselves" are: it doesn't apply to Iustinus, who knows these languages pretty well, but I'm sure it does apply to me :) Well, you're right, Dwarfkingdom, but you're looking language as if it were static. You say that Middle English and Old English are different languages. Yes, but they are also two stages of the same language. There was a development from one to the other, and knowing this helps the modern student to understand both stages. Same with Middle and New Egyptian, with the added feature that the script used for New developed directly out of the script used for older stages. The fact that they are two stages of the same language (the point of view that you are not taking) helped the decipherment.
If you didn't read all the discussion, you may not realise that what we're talking about is a single phrase in the introduction. The body of the article does, certainly, have to make all this clear. Andrew Dalby 11:33, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I removed the following text from the end of the "Demotic text" section because it didn't seem accurate or relevant: "In 2012, however, the University of Chicago published the first translation of the three languages with its Demotic dictionary." It clearly wasn't the first translation, and although the dictionary is important, I don't think it has any bearing on the historical decipherment of the stone. Or am I missing something? Lesgles (talk) 04:25, 31 May 2013 (UTC)