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Subject: Help with mysterious language
Question: Hello.

I was looking for linguistic specialist and came across this
site.
I'm writing this because I need help with a letter I found
(please see links).
I'm trying to find out the language this letter was written in.
After a lot of internet research I couldn't find an answer.
This letter looks really old so maybe it has some historical
value.
I hope you will find some time to take a look at it.

Thank you very much.

<a href='http://s24.postimg.org/8pzj0m9rp/letter1.jpg' target='_blank'>http://s24.postimg.org/8pzj0m9rp/letter1.jpg</a>;

<a href='http://s24.postimg.org/w2xkj4pv9/letter2.jpg' target='_blank'>http://s24.postimg.org/w2xkj4pv9/letter2.jpg</a>;

Reply: I would offer a VERY tentative guess that it is in Greek. The alphabet doesn't seem to be Roman; where the letter-shapes are clearly non-Roman I can see some forms that might be Greek letters, whereas I cannot spot any clear letters from the Cyrillic alphabet, which would be the other obvious non-Roman possibility. Furthermore, Greek does use numerous accent marks, which there seem to be plenty of here, whereas I believe Russian and other languages written with the Cyrillic alphabet don't. Having said that, though, although I know a (very little) modern Greek, I can't make any of the words out. On the 18th line of p 1 there is a word that could conceivably be "tridyma", 'triplets', but that is a pretty wild guess. The problem is that although I have a chart of the letter-forms standardly used in copperplate handwriting for Greek (which are often not predictable from the familiar forms used in print), the writing here is both old-fashioned and hasty, so that unless one were familiar both with the language and with the handwriting styles it is a fairly hopeless decipherment task.

If it were my letter, I would try to find a Greek who is educated enough to be able to read 19th-century handwriting; such a person should be able very quickly to say either "No it's not Greek" or "It's Greek and this is what it says".

Good luck with it!

Geoffrey Sampson
Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
 
Date: 11-Nov-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Help with mysterious language    Marilyn N Silva     (11-Nov-2013)

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