the oldest known written sentence in your mother tongue

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Seana, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Seana

    Seana Senior Member


    Do you know the oldest known written down sentence in your mother tongue?
    Do you know circumstances when it was written?
    How much this spelling is different from modern language?
    Is it possible and easy to guess its meaning?

    I give the known oldest Polish sentence in Old Polish spelling .

    Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai.
    Daj, ać ja pobruszę, a ty poczywaj.
    It means:
    Let me grind (I will curl the quern), and you rest (or see as it to do).

    This sentence was said by Czech Boguchwal to his Polish wife.
    So the first written sentence in Polish was just said by some Czech. :D
    It was found in the Latin text around 1270 year in the abbey of Cistercian monks chronicle written down in Latin.
  2. Kraus Senior Member

    Italian, Italy

    Najstarszy tekst włoski
    się znajduje w tak zwanych "Placiti Campani" (wyroków Kampanii, regionu w południowych Włoszech). Tekst był napysany w ósmym wieku:

    "Sao ko kelle terre, per kelle fini que ki contene, trenta anni le possette parte S(an)c(t)i Benedicti"
    że klasztor
    Świętego Benedykta posiadał przez trzydzieści lat te ziemie, granicy których są opisane tutaj)

    The oldest Italian sentence is in the so-called "Placiti Campani" (Judgements of Campiania, a region of South Italy). The text dates back to the 8th century:

    "Sao ko kelle terre, per kelle fini que ki contene, trenta anni le possette parte S(an)c(t)i Benedicti"
    (I know that those lands, whose boundaries are here described, were held for thirty years by the side (the monastery) of Saint Benedict).*

    * Translation taken from the site

    Do miłego napisania!
  3. spakh

    spakh Senior Member

    Anatolian Turkish
    That's a wonderful thread.
    The oldest known written sentence in Turkish was found in Yenisei River. But the tomb stone, on which script was written, was so badly damaged during centuries that noone was able to read this unfortunately. But happily the Orkhon inscriptions were discovered in 1889 in an expedition to the Orkhon Valley monuments in Mongolia, which date from the 8th-century. And now they're accepted as the oldest. They're about the Gokturk state in the Middle Asia. They're erected in the names of Gokturk khans and vizier. There the narrator warns the Gokturks(Kök-Türks) against the Chinese.
    As for the language, I wish I could understand it totally but that is impossible of course. But if you know Turkish you can catch few things.
    If you want to learn more you can google Orkhon.
    Finally the first sentence starts with something about Kök Tengri(old Turkish god)
  4. valerie Senior Member

    France, French & Spanish
    The first written text in French is considered to be 'le serment de Strasbourg', (IX c.), when two grand-sons of Charlemagne allied against their brother and pronounced the alliance text one in 'French' and the other in 'German'. The text was written by Nithard, by request of his cousin, Charles le Chauve one of the grand-sons.

    The first phrase says:
    Pro deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro commun salvament, d'ist di in avant, in quant deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo et in aiudha et in cadhuna cosa, si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dist, in o quid il mi altresi fazet, et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai, qui meon vol cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit
    Pour l'amour de Dieu et pour le peuple chrétien et notre salut commun, à partir d'aujourd'hui, en tant que Dieu me donnera savoir et pouvoir, je secourrai ce mien frère Charles par mon aide et en toute chose, comme on doit secourir son frère, selon l'équité, à condition qu'il fasse de même pour moi, et je ne tiendrai jamais avec Lothaire aucun plaid qui, de ma volonté, puisse être dommageable à mon frère Charles.

    I have copied the translation, because this text is not comprehensible for me, even with my experience in several roman languages. Actually this language is not called French, nor old French, but 'Roman'.

    More than French language birth, this text marks the oficialization of vernacular languages where Latin was before the only written language.
  5. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    I am afraid I don't even know which is the oldest text in German, but I will go for Heliand (if only because it is southern, so chances are higher that I'll understand it), and in my opinion it is totally not understandable unless you take some extra effort to learn Old High German.
    If you are more rigid and say that only New High German represents my language, it gets complicated, because it is hard to determine precisely which text is late Middle High German and which is early New High German, but generally Martin Luther's bible translation is considered the oldest text in New High German. These texts are more or less understandable, although there are quite a few archaic words I have to guess or look up, and sometimes, though rarely, words even meant the opposite of there present denotation as recent as early 19th century.
  6. Seana

    Seana Senior Member

    Dziękuję Kraus

    Writing in Polish you made me a big pleasure. I must say it is really correct Polish.

    Thank you spakh for your post.
    I learnt interesting and amazing thing - I have never known - modern studies indicate that Turkish language has a history dating back to the middle of the 4th millennium BCE.The the oldest written documents of Turkish, was found upon stone monuments in what in modern days is Mongolia - 8 th century

    I would like to ask has anyone heard of the oldest English sentence was found by archeologists was a runic inscription dating to c. 480 CE, and says, "This she-wolf is a tribute to my knismen."
  7. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Hmmm, what are we talking about exactly? Oldest system of writing for the Greek language is Linear B. I don't know what's the oldest (surviving) text writen in Linear B but I do know that I wouldn't understand a thing. Oh and the first one must be from circa 1500 BC

    Are we talking about that or should I search to see what's the oldest (surving) text writen with an alphabet (one in which each character represents a phoneme and not a syllable or a whole word). ( I think it's Homer's works by the way but I could be mistaken of course)
  8. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Hi. This seems to be the oldest known document in Portuguese. It's dated from 1175, and it's pretty dull, a list of the debts and creditors of some poor devil named Pelágio Romeu. :rolleyes:

    The text is full of abbreviations, so I don't think I would be able to make it out by myself, but there are definitely recognizeable words in it. Most of it is quite simple, though.

    Specialized books actually date the earlist Portuguese texts to the 9th century, but they're talking about just a couple of loose words in the middle of Latin texts. This one actually looks like Portuguese, of sorts.
  9. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    The first written and printed Finnish text is the Abckiria (ABC book) by Mikael Agricola, published in 1543. It begins with a poem:

    Oppe nyt wanha / ia noori /
    joilla ombi Sydhen toori .
    Jumalan keskyt / ia mielen /
    iotca taidhat Somen kielen

    Now the young and the old will learn
    those who have a fresh heart
    they'll learn the commandments of God and His mind
    as they know the Finnish language

    If there was any hand-written text in Finnish before that, no one knows. Probably not, because the official language was Swedish.
  10. mytwolangs Senior Member

    English United States
    The oldest English sentence -
    "For spanish, press 2."
  11. Seana

    Seana Senior Member

    I have learnt about two oldest English sentences one of them was found by archeologists a runic inscription dating to c. 480 CE, and says:

    "This she-wolf is a tribute to my knismen."

    Second one was found by a farmer near Undley (Suffolk - ) a kind of, medallion - AD 450-500 -were inscribed the words

    "gægogæ mægæ medu".

    What it probably may be read as 'howling she-wolf' (a reference to the wolf image) and 'reward to a relative'.

    Has anyone heard about them?
  12. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    "In Tengri we trust...." ? :D Well, shame on me because I cannot exactly put my finger on it either. Is it something like "In the name of Tengri, who saved Turks..." Hmmm... I'll have to check my literature book.

    Well, it's not that old actually. :) Yes, it's true that all our ancestors used to practise Tengriism before the vast joined world religions but it's still practised by large community in Central Asia, those Turkic peoples who did not leave our ancient homeland.

    Earliest known examples of Turkish language are now kept in Mongolia, observed by Republic of Turkey.

    This is the script of oldest Turkic alphabet which we see it was used in oldest inscriptions.

    Scientists still work on it because there's still some things that cannot be decoded. It's belived to have incredible predictions about future.

    According to some scientist, there are two symbols refer to second week of 2012 February in two sources.

    And just on there, there's a human figure probably looks like this. And on his right hand, he holds two sets of thunderbolds which still cannot be figured out what it means, and on his left hand, there's a symbol that looks just like the letter G, it's not known what it means yet, either.

    Some very simple examples from oldest known written Turkish(or Turkic, I must say) sentences in English:

    I am Bilge Tonyukuk and I was born in the State of China. The Turkish nation was subject to China. When the Turkish nation could not find its khan, it got separated from China and attained a khan.


    We would eat deer and rabbits. The people were not hungry. Our enemies were like kilns within our environs and we were fires.


    When I heard of this news, I could not sleep at night and I was disturbed all day long. Then, I entered the presence of my ruler. I told him the situation as follows: If China, Oguz and Kitay States collaborated, we will be left alone. We are surrounded by interior and exterior sources. It is easy to pierce the thin sheet of though and it is east to break it into pieces if it is thin. If the plough sheet is thick, it is difficult to pierce it and if it is thin but concentrated, it is also difficult to break it into pieces.


    The ruler of China was our enemy. The ruler of On Ok (Ten Arrows) was our enemy. The powerful khan of the Khirghiz people who were very crowded became also our enemy, too. These three khans collaborated and resolved, Let's meet in the region over the Golden forest. They had resolved the following plan: Let's send an army against the Turkish ruler in the east. If we did not send an army against him, they - their khan is a hero, and their counsellor is a wise scholar- will kill us under any circumstances no matter what happens.


    I grew old and became an aged person. What kind of a problem can arouse within any nation with such a ruler, if any? I dictated these statements in the country of Turk Bilge Kağan (Ruler). I am Bilge Tonyukuk.
  13. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    For years it was believed that the oldest sentence written in (Old) Dutch was a lovely piece of poetry:
    Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu wat unbidan we nu
    Have all birds began (to build) nests, except you and me. What are we waiting for?

    The text is believed to date from the 1000s-1100s and is a 'probatio pennae' by a monk. He probably cut himself a new pen and tried it out with this lovely verse (picture). It was discovered in 1931 in England, in the cover of a more recent manuscript and it caused a lot of thrills among Dutch historical linguists and philologists of that period.
    Quite recently, however, there are more and more people who believe it is not Dutch, but (Old) Kentish, or at least a very hybrid kind of language. For a short article (or rather abstract) see here.

    There are even older texts believed to be (more or less) Dutch, but they are thought to have a very mixed character (Old High German, Old English, Old Dutch), and some of them also feature in anthologies of Old High German literature. Another problem is that many of those texts look like Old Saxon so much, that it is hard (impossible) to sort it out.

    Even if we'd accept those texts as Old Dutch, they are impossible to understand without specialised schooling. It takes courses in Old Dutch, a bunch of "Old-other languages" and Middle Dutch to understand them out.


  14. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    A wonderful thread!

    The first sentence ever noted of Romanian (referred to as the only Latin language in the Balkans at the time), was by Theophanes Confessor. He was a Byzantine chronicler and he noted it sometime during the 6th century. He was in a military expedition and he noted a Vlach (Romanian) soldier saying "Torna, torna fratre!" ("Return, return brother") when he noticed a load falling from the animals. In modern Romanian that would be "întoarce-te, întoarce-te frate!".

    But the first ever text written in Romanian is considered to be a letter written by Neacsu din Câmpulung in 1521. He wrote a letter to the mayor of Brasov pleading for military assistance against the Ottomans. The letter was written in the Cyrillic alphabet and starts off like this:

    Mudromu I plemenitomu, I cistitomu I bogom darovanomu jupan Hanăş Bengner ot Braşov mnogo zdravie ot Nécşu ot Dlăgopole.

    (The most highly regarded and fair man, and God sent man Hanas Bengner of Brasov, health is wished upon you from Neacsu of Campulung)

    I don't understand a word of it (except the city Brasov)! The Romanian language has REALLY changed since this letter was written!

    The first written documents in Swedish are very hard to find, because the Vikings wrote one stones all over Europe in Runic script since the 8th century. But the first document in Swedish is presumed to be Västgötalagen (the Westrogothic law) from 1225.

    Krister är fyrst i laghum warum. Da är cristna var oc allir cristnir, konongär, böndär oc allir bocarlär, biscupär oc allir boclärdir män.

    (Christ is first in our law. Followed by our chrisitan faith and all christians, king, peasants and all inhabitants, bishop and all educated men)

    :) robbie
  15. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    Of course, as has been already pointed out, the problem is knowing when your mother tongue was considered to have evolved into your mother tongue.

    The very old Anglo-Saxon would be considered a different language, not English, if it were still spoken now.

    I'd vote for Chaucerian English as our oldest written form. I can't see pinpointing one example, however, because one, the transformation from AngloSaxon to middle English was so gradual; and two, there are too many written examples from which to choose.
  16. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Of course I know the oldest known written down sentence in Hungarian, since I went to secondary school and we all learnt it. ;)
    it is: Feheruvaru rea meneh hodu uta rea
    it is from 1055 and you can find this sentence in the founding charter of the Abbey at Tihany.
    Feheruvaru rea meneh hodu uta rea, now: Fehérvárra menő hadi útra.
    It is a really hard question if you can guess its meaning, I do not know, the teacher said the meaning, so there was no chance to guess..

    Interesting thread! The Greek comment is fantastic! :) They can mock us all with dates like the 11th century!
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  17. ilocas2 Senior Member

    According to Wikipedia, the oldest Czech sentence is from beginning of 13th century and it's Pavel dal jest Ploskovicích zemu, Vlach dal jest Dolas zemu Bogu i svatému Ščepánu se dvěma dušníkoma, Bogučejú a Sedlatú.“
  18. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Hi Kraus! Just to be clear, "Saint Benedict" isn't the name of that particular monastery, but because Saint Benedict has "invented" the order of the monastery, "Saint Benedict's side/part" was an expression to refer to the monastery.
    By the way, you don't need to put the parenthesis, because there is a mable stone where the whole word "Sancti" is written.

    In Chinese, if we regard ancient and modern Chinese as one language, then the most ancient script are the Turtle Oracles (like this or this). They were inscription on turtle sheels, the script was very rudimental, were pictograms more similar to drawing than ideograms.

    If we consider the Modern Chinese as a different language, then until the beginning of the XX century all the literature and the writing was written in Classical Chinese, that was the style of writing of Confucius, and very different from how people talk.
    Then in 1917 the Chinese writer Hu Shi wrote an article on the magazine La Jeunesse which declared the Classical Chinese as useless, and that people should write in "Baihua" (Vernacular Chinese), i.e. as we speak - that was the first writing in Vernacular Chinese.
    Later the magazine La Jeunesse wrote all article in Vernacular Chinese, than it was imitated by other magazines too. Until 1920 when the Ministry of Education declared the Vernacular Chinese as the official way of writing.
    The modern Standard Chinese was born.
  19. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    There was a Latin - German glossary in the 8th century called Codex Abrogans, which is believed to be the oldest manuscript in German, but as this is not a good language example, the Merseburg Incantations should be considered the oldest pre-christian (meaning natively German, untranslated) examples.

    Phol ende uuodan uuorun zi holza.

    du uuart demo balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit.

    thu biguol en sinthgunt, sunna era suister;

    thu biguol en friia, uolla era suister;

    thu biguol en uuodan, so he uuola conda:

    sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki, sose lidirenki:

    ben zi bena, bluot si bluoda,

    lid zi geliden, sose gelimida sin!

    Phol und Wodan begaben sich in den Wald
    Da wurde dem Fohlen des Herrn/Balders sein Fuß verrenkt
    Da besprach ihn Sinthgunt, die Schwester der Sunna
    Da besprach ihn Frija, die Schwester der Volla.
    Da besprach ihn Wodan, wie er es wohl konnte.
    So Beinrenkung, so Blutrenkung,
    so Gliedrenkung:
    Bein zu Bein, Blut zu Blut,
    Glied zu Glied, wie wenn sie geleimt wären.

    The OHG text is not intelligible for native speakers today.
  20. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Well if you speak English you'll be able to guess about a quarter of the words. :D

    "ende" sounds like "and"
    uuodan has got a double-U
    holza -> Holz -> wood
  21. stormwreath Senior Member

    English - England
    gægogæ mægæ medu is probably the first written text in Old English, as Seana said. 'Medu' is either 'mead' (the alcoholic drink) or a word which became 'meed' in Middle English, which is an archaic term for a payment or reward. 'Mæg' means 'kinsman' or 'father', with the dative ending. The first word can't be translated.

    However, the first full, coherent paragraph written in English is from the poem Cædmon's Hymn, written in about 670.

    Nu we sculon herigean heofonrices weard,
    meotodes meahte ond his modgeþanc,
    weorc wuldorfæder, swa he wundra gehwæs,
    ece drihten, or onstealde.

    Now we must praise the Protector of the heavenly kingdom,
    the might of the Measurer and His mind's purpose,
    the work of the Father of Glory, as He for each of the wonders,
    the eternal Lord, established a beginning.

    I can understand a few of the words in modern English: 'Nu we' is clearly Now we. 'Heofonrices' includes the elements 'heofon' heaven and 'ric' which I assume is cognate with German 'Reich', kingdom, plus the genetive ending -es which is -'s in modern English. 'Weard' is presumably related to the modern words ward and warden. 'Meahte' is presumably might; 'ond his' is obviously and his. 'Weorc Wuldorfaedor' is clearly work (of the) (something)father; 'wundra' is wonder.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  22. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    I still find it pretty much unintelligible :D The grammar is also a little bit strange for modern native speakers, I prefer Middle High German, which I even learned for some time, just for fun. I'm always amazed by how much the languages have changed over the course of time. If we could talk to a native speaker of Old High German, I think he or she would never ever recognize our German as German. And at the same time I wonder if somebody who's learned Old High German could really communicate with a native speaker, as what we know about its phonology is only reconstructed. Unfortunately, we'll never know. :(
  23. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Had to make a minor adjustment to my previous post - I neglected that the first sentence in the letter wasn't actually in Romanian, but in Slavonic. It was customary to start and finish letters using a common administrative language which at the time was Slavonic.

    The rest of the letter was however in Romanian and looks like this (Note: transliteration from Cyrillic):

    After adaptation:

    Oddly enough the rough transliteration is pretty much intelligible today, except for the beginning, the end and "i pak".

    :) Robbie
  24. Mighis

    Mighis Senior Member

    The oldest "things" written in tifinagh (ⵍⵣⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ) are in the form of carvings on the rocks commonly written from bottom to top and should so differ from the left-to-right modern tifinagh; the research is still ongoing ..:p
  25. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    The oldest known text written in Arabic (known as Pre-Classical Arabic), dates from the 1st century BC. It's the Qaryat Dhat Kahil inscription written in a Musnad script, and it's a rather long tomb dedicatory which says:
    If we take the Old North Arabian group of languages, to which Arabic belongs to, then the oldest inscriptions date from the 8th century BC.
  26. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    It is a question of what you mean by “German”. If you mean: “Any Germanic language” then there is of course the Gothic translation of (parts of) the Bible, from the 4th century, preserved in a manuscript from the 6th century.
  27. ancalimon Senior Member


    There are Turkic sentences not fully understood in old Chinese records. But they are not traditionally accepted as first Turkic writings.

    I think the first generally and traditionally accepted fully understood Turkic sentence is this:

    Tengri teg tengride bolmış Türk Bilge Kagan bu ödke olurtum. Turkish: “Tanrı gibi sonsuz gökte olmuş Türk Bilge Kağanı bu zamanda tahta çıktım.”.

    Existed with the eternal sky like the God; I, the Turk all knowing~Wise Khan of Khans ascended to the throne at this time.

    Tengri: it means both "God" and "the thing that covers eternity; eternal sky"
    öd: time (we today use "zaman" in Turkish instead of this)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  28. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    In one way the question is absurd: Starting when, is my mother tongue my mother tongue? Germanic languages have developed a lot since the first sentence were carved into pieces of wood. Basically one could say, this was an old version of my native language - still it is not sure I would understand it. At some time in the course of linguistic evolution my native language was almost identical with what became known as Old English. But it is probably more a political technicality that it is considered English.
  29. francisgranada Senior Member

    The inscription on the so called Lapis Niger seems to be the oldest documented Latin phrase (6th century before Christ):

    There is also an inscription from the 7th century BC, the so called Fibula Praenestina, but it's authenticity is discussed:
    (in class. Latin: MANIUS ME FECIT NUMERIO)

    A longer text is the Inscriptio Duenos from 575-550 BC:

    P.S. The Latin is not my mother tongue :) ...
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  30. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    6th century before Christ? When Rome was founded in 753 b.C., wasn't there any inscription?

    And I used to live near Via Prenestina :D
  31. francisgranada Senior Member

    Probably they had other things to do in those times than write inscriptions ....:)

    Have you not found the fibula somewhere on the street? ...
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  32. francisgranada Senior Member

    Cześć :). As far as I know, this sentence (called also Placiti cassinesi and Carta Capuana) was written in 960 and not in the 8th century.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  33. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The “traditional” date for the foundation of Rome was invented by Varro in the first century BC.
  34. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Nope. :D
    That's a really long street, that goes from the city center till Capranica, a town 20 km away. I'm usually too focused on the traffic :D.
  35. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    I copy and paste from wikipedia about first writen text in Castilian (Old Spanish)

    The Cartularies of Valpuesta (Spanish: Cartularios de Valpuesta) refers to two medieval Spanish cartularies which belonged to a monastery in the locality of Valpuesta in the province of Burgos, Castile and León, Spain. They contain a series of documents from the 12th century that, in turn, are copies of other documents, some of which date from the 9th century. Although the authenticity of some of the texts is disputed,[1] the cartularies are significant in the history of the Spanish language, and their status as manuscripts containing the earliest words written in Spanish has been officially recognised. They are written in a very late form of Latin mixed with other elements of a Hispanic Romance dialect that corresponds with that of the Castilian dialect.
    fragment in Visigothic script

    The cartularies are called the Gótico and the Galicano from the type of script used in each. They are housed in the National Archives of Spain. Selections from the oldest documents were published in 1900 in the French journal Revue hispanique. The preamble of the Statue of Autonomy of Castile and León mentions the cartularies, along with the Nodicia de Kesos, as documents that contain "the most primitive traces of Castilian" (las huellas más primitivas del castellano). In November of 2010, the Royal Spanish Academy endorsed the cartularies, written in "a Latin language assaulted by a living language", as the record of the earliest words written in Castilian, predating those of the Glosas Emilianenses.[2] The cartularies are available in a recent scholarly edition.
  36. francisgranada Senior Member

    I'd like to add that according to my informations, the Cartularios de Valpuesta is thought to contain (copies of) texts starting from 844 and the Nodicia de Kesos (also Documento de Quesos) is dated from around 974.

    The so called Glosas Silenses and the Glosas Emilinenses are from around 1000 Anno Domini. The Glosas Emilianenses contains not only old Spanish (Hispano-Romance) words but also the following sentences (written rather in Navarro-Aragonese than in Castilian Romance):

    Cono ayutorio de nuestro dueño dueño Christo, dueño Salbatore, qual dueño yet ena honore e qual dueño tienet era (=ela?) mandacione cono Patre cono Spiritu Sancto, enos siéculos de los sieculos. Facanos Deus omnipotes tal serbicio fere que denante ela sua face gaudiosos seyamus. Amen.
  37. purpleannex Senior Member

    North Essex/Suffolk border
    British English

    It's a nonsensical question.

    I can barely understand the supposed greatest works in the English language, Shakespeare, the language used is so removed from modern English. Being transported back to Elizabethan England would be like being transported to the Bronx and trying to understand an American! :D
  38. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    There is not a certainty about Portuguese. The history says:
    so 775- a document with Romance features found in Galiza
    870- in Portugal - with Galician-Portuguese features
    1214- already Galician-Portuguese
    so 1214 the oldest royal document
    In Brazil the 1st and so the oldest written was in Carta do Achamento do Brasil between , April 26th and May 2nd, 1500.
  39. Omada Senior Member

    Español, España
    We also have find very ancient spanish in the Jarchas, from X-XI century ( (, there we can find a mix of arabic and ibero-romance language. The jarchas are the oldest poetry in romance language:

    Vayse meu corachón de mib. (mi corazón se va de mí) (My heart leaves away from me)
    Ya Rab, ¿si me tornarád? (OH Dios, ¿acaso volverá a mi?) (Oh Lord, will it return to me?)
    ¡Tan mal meu doler li-l-habib! ( tan fuerte mi dolor por el amado) (So great is my pain for my beloved!)
    Enfermo yed, ¿cuánd sanarád? (enfermo está, ¿cuándo sanará) (It is sick, when will it be healed?

  40. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    I'd doubt that. Here's a sample chosen at random:

    A strange formulation certainly, but totally understandable.
  41. Guajara-Mirim Senior Member

    Não me surpreende.
  42. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    By the way, what about the Negau helmet. It reads ""harigasti teiva ..." and is from 5th century BC. But scholars still seem to debate wheather it's Etrusician or Germanic.
  43. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I wouldn't say it is nonsensical - Mother Tongue means the language I speak and understand. And then somebody comes with something in Old English that somebody who only knows modern English would not be able to understand - and apart from that, when is OE really English and not old Danish, Jutish or Anglian? That is really a political thing and nothing you can base on logical arguments. The only thing there that is really sure: The language or languages the evolved into being known as English are not the native language(s) of England.
  44. rainbowizard

    rainbowizard Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    even if that is probably the oldest Italian sentence ever found, another document was discovered in 1924: a manuscript on parchment known as "Indovinello Veronese" (Veronese Riddle).
    Not all researchers agree it could be considered the very first example of Italian/Romance Language or instead an example of the latest stage of Vulgar Latin.

    This is the transcription:
    Se pareba boves, alba pratàlia aràbaet albo versòrio teneba, et negro sèmen seminaba
    In modern Italian it sounds like:
    Teneva davanti a sé i buoi, arava bianchi prati, e un bianco aratro teneva, e un nero seme seminava
    And the translation in modern english should sound like:
    In front of him (he) led oxen, white fields (he) plowed. A white plow (he) held, a black seed (he) sowed
    The solution of the riddle ... is the writer himself, probably a monk whose business is to copy old manuscripts. The two oxen are his fingers which draw a white feather (the white plow) across the page (the white fields), leaving black ink marks (black seed).

    For more information: (in English) or (in Italian).
  45. Schem

    Schem Senior Member

    Najdi Arabic
    Can you please specify what inscriptions would those be?
  46. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    How can you say that this is French? It reminds more of Catalan than French, and is a kind of a transition language between Latin and French.
  47. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Of course this thread is ridiculous. But it has taught me a lot, has given me a new appreciation for several languages, and is a lot of fun.

    As far as Ukrainian is concerned, there is of course a debate raging as to what is the oldest text. Scholars can detect specifically southern East Slavic dialectal features in several Old Church Slavonic texts from the Kyivan Rus' period. Depending on your political viewpoint, this could be the start of an identifiable Ukrainian written record that is distinct from the language of documents printed around Novgorod-Suzdal. "Ukrainian" features are increasingly found in subsequent centuries in Old Church Slavonic documents written or published in what is today Ukraine. At what point or even whether these can be considered Old Ukrainian or Middle Ukrainian is the subject of raging debate, again with much depending upon your political views.

    Because of the supression of printing or publishing in vernacular Ukrainian in the Russian Empire, however, it is not until Kotlarevskyi's Eneida appears in 1798 that we can talk about literature written in the modern, vernacular Ukrainian language.
  48. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Hungarian: The foundation of Abbey Tihany 1055: FEHERUUARU REA MENEH HODU UTU REA
    in presewnt language Fehérvárra menő hadi útra.
  49. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Ciao, Youngfun, solo per chiarire, il Placito cassinese è vergato su supporto mobile, se parliamo dell'originale, ed è visibile qui:

    A proposito, mi chiedevo se tu puoi leggere quei sinogrammi che hai gentilmente segnalato. Sono semplicemente incredibili e ancora espressivi! Veramente belli!
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  50. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    This is quite mysterious to me. If we assume that Chinese writing consists of ideograms, and that the same ideograms are pronounced very differenet in various Chinese dialects, so one can assume that the old ideograms were just pronounced in the modern way, weren't they? So, what did the change from old to modern chinese mean for writing? I know that the old ideograms were simplified in the XX century, but they retained the same meaning?

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