Language News: “Lost” Language Found on Back of 400-Year-Old Letter

 National Geographic reports on the discovery of a number system on the back of a 400 year old letter written by a Spanish explorer in Peru.  The system translates a previously undocumented language, possibly one that was referred to as Quingnam or Pescadora by the Spanish explorers.  The National Geographic article, linked here:  “Lost” Language Found on Back of 400-Year-Old Letter, quotes Harvard archeologist Jeffrey Quilter.  You can also listen to Dr. Quilter talk about this find on a New Zealand radio show, found online here:  Radio New Zealand: Lost Language.

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About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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