Linguistic Archaeology: An Introduction
by Edo Nyland
Trafford Publishing

"But guessing the mood of the monk, who made up the word, can be fun because some of the grammarians had a sense of humor."

Some people view the author as a genius far ahead of his time. Others dismiss his ideas with derision, saying they are based on little more than idle speculation. There is no question that Nyland is a polarizing figure among the linguistic community, but criticism of his work certainly hasn’t dissuaded him. The controversy regarding Nyland’s work stems from his version of a unified field theory that claims all languages ever spoken actually stem from Basque. According to Nyland, the ancient Benedictine monks made up all other languages. Nyland appears to be basing his ideas somewhat on the Book of Genesis from the Christian Bible, which states that God became concerned with mankind—who had all been speaking the same language—and made them suddenly speak different tongues so they couldn’t understand each other in order to slow down their advancement.

At the heart of Nyland’s theory is that words aren’t words at all but actually shorthand used by the Benedictine monks. He applies this assertion to all languages, modern and ancient. Cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and the Roman alphabet are all shorthand for the same, ancient language, according to the author. Nyland lists scores of modern English words and breaks down their meanings using his own method of interpretation.

The author is candid about his lack of formal training in linguistics, but this hasn’t stopped him from lengthy personal research in order to formulate and clearly present his ideas. Anyone who appreciates a good conspiracy theory will enjoy this book, although it’s certainly not intended for light bedtime reading, as the author himself points out.

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