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Multilingual inscription

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The Rosetta Stone and Behistun Inscription, both multilingual writings, were instrumental to deciphering the ancient writing systems of Egypt and Mesopotamia, respectively

In epigraphy, a multilingual inscription is an inscription that includes the same text in two or more languages. A bilingual is an inscription that includes the same text in two languages (or trilingual in the case of three languages, etc.). Multilingual inscriptions are important for the decipherment of ancient writing systems, and for the study of ancient languages with small or repetitive corpora.



Important bilinguals include:

The manuscript titled Relación de las cosas de Yucatán (1566; Spain) shows the de Landa alphabet (and a bilingual list of words and phrases), written in Spanish and Mayan; it allowed the decipherment of the Pre-Columbian Maya script in the mid-20th century.


Important trilinguals include:


Important quadrilinguals include:

Inscriptions in five or more languages

Important examples in five or more languages include:

Modern examples

Notable modern examples include:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948; Paris, France) was originally written in English and French. In 2009, it became the most translated document in the world (370 languages and dialects).[6] Unicode stores 481 translations as of November 2021.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Thureau-Dangin, F. (1911). "Notes assyriologiques" [Assyriological notes]. Revue d'Assyriologie et d'archéologie orientale (in French). 8 (3): 138–141. JSTOR 23284567.
  2. ^ "tablette". Louvre Collections. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  3. ^ a b c Meyers, Eric M., ed. (1997). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Noy, David (1993). Jewish Inscriptions of Western Europe. Vol. 1: Italy (Excluding the City of Rome), Spain and Gaul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 247–249.
  5. ^ "Where is the Cornerstone of the UN Headquarters in New York?". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  6. ^ "Most Translated Document". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  7. ^ "Translations". UDHR In Unicode. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
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Multilingual inscription
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