18th Century Language Map of Asia

1741 Language Map

(Full-size image available here.)

This intriguing linguistic map of Asia by Gottfried Hensel (Asia Poly-Glotta Linguarum Genealogiam, 1741) was found at Maps on the Web.

“The map presents the Lords Prayer in Asian languages and attempts to trace each back to Hebrew as was common at the time. Some interesting items are the scripts of Japan, Siberia, Mesopotamia, and eastern Anatolia. Also Southeast Asia using the Arabic script and Uzbeks using Chinese logographs is a unique sight.”

Now, I’m no linguist, but… oh, wait, I *am* a linguist… that “Japanese” script looks like sheer garbage. The only clue is the Latin inscription below it, which reads “these are written using the Brachmann method.” I have found no modern references to this. It could be some sort of phonetic transcription, which is odd given that various Chinese scripts are represented and the author of the map is no stranger to ideographic writing.

Recognizable are old variants of Hindi (again, a “Brachmann” version), Dravidian script (called “Malabar” here), Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldaic, Chinese, Georgian, Syriac, Farsi, and Armenian.

Fascinating in any case.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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