Word study tool for ancient languages
Welcome to Palaeolexicon!
Welcome to Palaeolexicon
The word study tool for ancient languages
Discover a world of ancient writing systems

and languages such as...

Anatolian languages
e.g. Carian, Lydian
and many more...
Start exploring the ancient world now!

    Palaeolexicon is a tool for the study of ancient languages. Its name derives from the Greek words palaeo meaning 'old' and lexicon meaning 'dictionary'.
    If you're interested of the ancient world and its languages, then this is a site for you. It is a place for people who love historical linguistics and ancient history.

    Want to know more? Please have a look on our about page.

    Random picks - Did you know these words?
    Carian: pδa- “place”
    Phrygian: ΒΑΒΕΙΣ “personal name”
    Doric Greek: δάξα “sea”
    Armenian: hing “five”
    Tocharian B: nāṣṣäṃ “to swim”
    2014-03-16 - The Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Turkic dictionaries are now browsable
    As you might have noticed, the Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Turkic dictionaries have been searchable for some time. They are now also available for browsing, letter by letter.
    2014-03-07 - New language article available: The Hattians and the Hattic language
    It has been almost 1 1/2 year since we released the Hattic dictionary, but unfortunately there has been no language presentation. Although there're more things to add, this is probably the richest article on the Hattic language you will find online.


    Url: http://www.palaeolexicon.com/Hattic 
    2014-03-01 - Pre-Greek studies volume I
    Today, we kick off with a series of articles called "Pre-Greek studies", focusing on the language pre-history of the Helladic region. We've got a great contribution by Giampaolo Tardivo, regarding the Pre-Greek language and its relation to its neighbouring non-Indo-European languages in Anatolia and Caucasus.

    Read the article here: Promitheus or Amirani
    or download the PDF: G.P. Tardivo - Promitheus or Amirani
    2014-01-15 - Status on some dictionaries
    It feels like it is time for a status report on some of the languages. Here they come:

    - Hattic:
    • Presentation is being prepared
    • Cuneiform rendering support planning
    - Hurrian:
    • Ongoing word verification
    Homeric Greek:
    • Final word verification
    - Urartian:
    • Ongoing dictionary enrichment
    - Old Persian:
    • Baby steps are being taken
    - Old Norse:
    • Dictionary preparation
    • Rune support preparation
    - Proto-Indo-European:
    • Soon to be released / ongoing review.
    - Proto-Turkic:
    • Soon to be released / ongoing review.
    2014-01-06 - Happy new year! Palaeolexicon version 2 is here!
    The 'red button' was pressed in Hatay, Turkey on the 6th of January 2014. It was about time, even though there was a week's delay. Version 2 of Palaeolexicon is here! Reminiscent of the old version, but improved in every sense. Those who have followed the blog, are probably aware of the new features. The rest can review our previous posts, although it doesn't take time to discover the new features.

    2013-12-08 - A tool for cognate research
    We're almost there!
    It is a matter of weeks before we say goodbye to the old site and introduce the new one. Just few details left... One of the biggest challenges has been the "Tools" section. As mentioned earlier this year on another post, one of Palaeolexicon's many roles is to provide you with tools that will help your research. One of the most painstaking things in historical linguistics, is the identification of cognates across languages. You know how it is... Open every single dictionary, lookup for words that sound/look relatively similar, have a relatively close semantic context and satisfy all kind of phonological rules. Now look at this screenshot below.

    This is the "Cognate research tool". It will use various algorithms to identify possible cognates across many languages. It will save you lots of time, since it will do most of the job (including a semantic analysis). Once those cognate candidates are presented, it is up to you to evaluate the results. If something looks interesting enough, you can request further analysis on that candidate to find more distant relationships.

    However, you should be cautious. Those algorithms have not been thoroughly tested and cannot guarantee safe results. The last decision is always yours. By time the algorithms will be improving and the data available for analysis will increase. There is this idea of creating plugins that will test the results against the phonogical rules that apply for every language. That should increase the accuracy significantly, however this feature belongs to a future project. 
    2013-11-02 - Palaeolexicon 2.0: A preview
    In less than 60 days, this year is over and a promise has to be fulfilled. Palaeolexicon version 2.0 will be released and it is time for some teasers. We won't reveal all points, but 5 will be hopefully enough.

    So, what is new?
    1. The introduction of IPA (international phonetic alphabet) that will help users to read words correctly. Where possible of course, since not even the pronunciation of Ancient Greek is certain.
    2. The introduction of synonyms: Palaeolexicon is aware of the word meanings and can therefore list words that are considered synonyms.
    3. Words of interest: Words of similar meaning, of the same context or group are listed as "Words that might be of interest". That means that if you're looking for the word "king" in a language, you might be interested of the words for commander, lord, leader etc.
    4. Full rendering of symbols: Forget those special fonts you need to read Lydian, Carian etc. You won't need them anymore! Symbols, hieroglyphics and cuneiform will be visible in your screen together with their IPA readings.

    5. Partial dictionaries:  There are many dictionaries that are being prepared in the background but are not visible (Proto-Indo-European, Lycian, Hittite, Sanskrit, Armenian, Ancient Macedonian, Hurrian, Sumerian etc). So far you can only see their traces in words that appear as "related" or "see also". In version 2, many of them will be available for searching, but not browsing.

    Of course there is a whole bunch of other new features and improvements. The main question is if you're going to get them as an xmas or new years gift...

    2013-08-18 - Powerful tools for all linguists out there
    This goes out to all you people who are into historical linguistics and not only. Ask yourself "what takes most time when studying words"? Many of you try to find similarities across languages and each time you find an interesting word, you start searching in your dictionaries how that word is/was in language X. Currently, and to some extend, Palaeolexicon helps you with that. It is not enough though... In version 2, we will introduce some powerful tools for your research.

    So, here is the concept. You find this word in language X and you want to know if that word exists in a similar form in another language. Palaeolexicon has currently 8 dictionaries, 6 distinct languages and many non public dictionaries that still need some work until they reach out to you e.g. Latin, Sanskrit, Hittite, Hurrian etc. Right now, you need to manually search for words in those dictionaries and make your own comparisons. If you're lucky, we have already linked them together so that you can see the similarity across languages. In most cases that doesn't happen though. So, what about a tool where you type your word of interest, its meaning and then click on a magic button that does the work for you? You put for example the Latin word "nomen" and its English meaning which is "name". Palaelexicon's algorithm will then try to match your input with all available (public and non public) words in its database and suggest you the following: όνομα (Greek), ονομαν (Phrygian), nama (Sanskrit), namo (Saxon) and so on... Well, that is a bit too easy isn't it? What if the etymology of the word you search for is not exactly the same in some languages? Assume you search for old persian martiya which means man - Palaeolexicon will suggest you words like Venetic mortuvu 'dead', Greek μέροψ 'mortal', Armenian meranim 'to die', English murder and so on. Except from sounding similar, these words share similar meanings but not exactly the same. They have a semantic similarity regarding life and death. Their semantic similarity might then divided by distance, for example a cup is a hollow object or bend, but it is also a utensil. Sounds like you're about to save many hours of research right? Of course, keep in mind that computers are not humans and the last decision is up to you. 

    If you have any more suggestion on what would save your precious time while researching, please don't hesitate to contact us.