Author Topic: Language - engima to decypher  (Read 2879 times)

Offline mbee93

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Language - engima to decypher
« on: March 28, 2018, 06:32:28 AM »

I work at transaltion office, and today came here an old lady with a letter from before WW II. Whole letter is written in polish but there is one loose sentence in a language we cannot decypher. I will apreciate any help I can get.

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 2026
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Language - engima to decypher
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2018, 08:02:07 AM »
Do you speak Polish and therefore recognize all the letters in the handwriting? The first step to figuring out that sentence is to transcribe it and figure out what all the letters are-- and I'm not sure. Some of them seem to have extra shapes on top of them that don't look like Polish or any other European alphabet I'm familiar with. Maybe they were just messy/quick writing, or some kind of calligraphy?

It almost looks like some kind of mathematical expression on the top row and perhaps a label on the second? That might be completely wrong, but there just look like too many consonants and the first might be "dt" (for differential) or "df" (as in definition of a function)? Does the middle possibly say "e=mc^2" in some way? Or is it possible this is some sort of 'secret code' meant for only the recipient to understand? Or a shorthand? What's the context in the letter, is this an extra note at the bottom or something?

It doesn't look like it's anything other than the Latin alphabet (which would make sense for Polish). It's remotely possible it's Cyrillic and my eyes just aren't perceiving it that way (sometimes Cyrillic handwriting looks generally close enough to messy Latin that unless you understand the words and are familiar with the particular writing style you might not notice), but I really don't think that's the explanation in this particular case. So it's probably just Latin letters but they have some extra shapes with them and don't really make sense (too many consonants, etc.).

It also looks like this part is printed rather than written in cursive like the rest of (what I can see of) the text? If so, then we can assume the author meant something different by it. Maybe it's a quotation. Maybe it's a math formula. Maybe it's a "sketch" of some unusual phrase they saw somewhere in a book or wherever. That could explain why some of the letters are drawn as if the writer isn't familiar with them. The middle word on the top looks like it's supposed to be "Emç" (a Turkish name?), but drawn by a hand that isn't used to the French (and Turkish, etc.) "ç" with what should be a much smaller line below it. In other words, I wonder if somehow the author didn't actually fully understand this text themselves, unless they were being intentionally creative.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 08:06:56 AM by Daniel »
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.