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of a writing system, the restoration of comprehension of an unknown writing system or language (or both). Thus, when texts from ancient Cyprus were being deciphered, the writing system was unknown. In the case of Hittite, Elamite, and Etruscan texts, the language was unknown. For Egyptian and Luwian hieroglyphics, Akkadian and Ugaritic cuneiform writing, and the “seals” of the Indus valley, neither the writing system nor the language was known. The degree to which the writing or language is known can, however, vary greatly—from complete knowledge to the recognition that the given writing system belongs to a known group of writing systems (or the given language belongs to a known family of languages).

In the deciphering process, the nature of the writing system (whether phonetic, consonantal, syllabic, or word-syllabic; whether or not there are explanatory marks that do not have phonetic values) is ascertained. A calculation of the number of different signs in the writing system in question is sufficient for this purpose. In identifying the individual written signs by simple methods, the decipherer is able to separate in an as yet unread phonetic text the vowels from the consonants and in a syllabic text, the signs for vowels from signs of the type “consonant + vowel.”

The grammar and semantics of a text can be studied independent of the analysis of the writing system. By comparing the repeating segments of a text, it is possible to separate roots from affixes and endings and nouns from verbs and to distinguish individual case and verb forms, prepositions, proper names, and so forth. Such an analysis “from within” is based on the knowledge of the regularities inherent in all languages (or writing systems) or in related groups. However, as a result of the limitation of texts, such an analysis rarely results in the identification of specific forms. To obtain a complete decipherment, use is made of different, strictly “external,” data, primarily bilingual texts—that is, parallel texts in a known and unknown language. If kinship between the language (writing system) in question and known languages (writing systems) is established, then the latter are used for determining or explaining the meaning of the words (written signs) of the text being deciphered. Such analysis is called etymological. Confirmation by new findings can serve as a criterion for the correctness of the decipherment.


References in periodicals archive ?
IN MAY OF THIS YEAR, the latest contribution to the philosophico-literary genre known as "speculative realism" appeared: an English-language translation of The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarme's "Coup de des.
This year is the 190th anniversary of the first decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion.
Allen, "The decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing is one of the great success stories of modern archaeology.
On one staircase block, anthropologist David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, who led the decipherment of the text, recognized a commemoration of a visit in 696 to La Corona by the ruler of Calakmul, a Maya site in what's now southern Mexico.
Argiro's ingenious decipherment of encrypted forms of behavior brings into view what has been hidden; does it leave anything else unspoken for?
After decipherment, users can convert any Blu-ray movie to MKV format.
These registers of visibility are compounded by disparate modes of legibility that simultaneously invite a decoding (the black square as a token of abstract modernism, specifically Malevich) and a re-encoding or encryption (the tiny blemish on the black square) that resist decipherment.
26) The other, here depicted, "requires no decipherment, no exegetical labor, no hermeneutic projects.
They wanted to find out if there was a way to combine the processing power of a computer with the human intuition that has gone into translation and decipherment work.
Barzilay responded, "The decipherment of Ugaritic took years and relied on some happy coincidences - such as the discovery of an axe that had the word "axe" written on it in Ugaritic.
The discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 was revolutionary not only because of the antiquity of the artifact, but also because it culminated in the decipherment and understanding of ancient Egypt's hieroglyphic texts that previously had been unintelligible.
If the 2008 Army Modernization Strategy and "CJCS Guidance for 2008-2009" comprise the Rosetta stone for this decipherment, then it seems that the pre-9/11 definition of full-spectrum prevails and the Army will continue a gradual shift toward a combat-centric force and away from the full-spectrum force developed in Iraq.