Monday, March 04, 2013

Publication Date of the Iliad?

Recent research suggests that the date of the Iliad is 762BCE by treating languages like genes.

"Languages behave just extraordinarily like genes," Mark Pagel of the University of Reading said. "It is directly analogous. We tried to document the regularities in linguistic evolution and study Homer's vocabulary as a way of seeing if language evolves the way we think it does. If so, then we should be able to find a date for Homer."


The scientists tracked the words in the "Iliad" the way they would track genes in a genome.
The researchers employed a linguistic tool called the Swadesh word list, put together in the 1940s and 1950s by American linguist Morris Swadesh. The list contains approximately 200 concepts that have words apparently in every language and every culture, Pagel said. These are usually words for body parts, colors, necessary relationships like "father" and "mother."
The jury is out...

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