Bilingual inscription

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In epigraphy, a bilingual is an inscription that is extant in two languages (or trilingual in the case of three languages, etc.). Bilinguals are important for the decipherment of ancient writing systems, and for the study of ancient languages with small or repetitive corpora.

Important bilinguals include:

The manuscript titled Relación de las cosas de Yucatán (1566; Spain) shows the de Landa alphabet (and a bilingual list of words and phrases), written in Spanish and Mayan; it allowed the decipherment of the Pre-Columbian Maya script in the mid-20th century.

Important trilinguals include:

Important quadrilinguals include:

Important multilinguals include:

Notable modern examples include:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948; Paris, France) was originally written in English and French. In 2009, it became the most translated document in the world (370 languages and dialects).[6] Unicode stores 431 translations in June 2017.[7]


  1. ^ The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East
  2. ^ The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East
  3. ^ David Noy (1993), Jewish Inscriptions of Western Europe: Volume 1, pp. 247–249
  4. ^ The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East
  5. ^ "Where is the cornerstone of the UN headquarters in New York? - Ask Dag!", United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library
  6. ^ "Most translated document", Guinness World Records
  7. ^ "UDHR in Unicode - Translations", Unicode, retrieved 8-6-2017
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