Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Phonological features in the Rohonc Codex

I encourage anyone interested in the Rohonc Codex to visit the sites of Delia Huegel and Marius-Adrian Oancea. Their theories and observations regarding the text are far more developed than any I could put together.

My own ideas are poor and piecemeal, utterly unworthy of a second glance. But I'm a curmudgeon, so I'll persist in wasting digital space with them. In this post, I will make a suggestion about phonological features in the codex.

To begin with, I return to my proposals for Christ and Pilate. I had suggested the following readings:


Pontius / Pilate

Graphemically, these two names (or titles) share two common features: The first is a crossed line; The second is a trailing backwards c. In Latin, these two names (or titles) share common features as well. They both share a medial t and second declension suffixes: Chris-t-us, Pon-t-i-us, Pila-t-us.

The crossed line is reminiscent of the Latin t, and the backwards c is reminiscent of the Greek s. However, there are only so many lines you can make with a pen, so it may just be coincidence.

Another symbol with a crossed line is the number nine, which I mentioned in my first post:


Naturally, I am tempted to ask which candidate languages have a t in the name of the number nine. Bearing in mind my theory that this was produced somewhere within the sphere of Ottoman influence, along the general trajectory between Venice and Reichnitz, the main candidates would be Albanian (nëntë) and the South Slavic languages (devet).

The number ten looks like a cross +, but both Albanian (dhjetë) and South Slavic (deset) have t in their words for ten. Alternately, the + could just be a rotated Roman numeral X, so it does not constitute strong evidence one way or the other.

But suppose these are ligatures containing a letter t. The next step would be to remove the t and speculate about the phonological values of the remaining letters.

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