While I am here, I will also include a draft of a timeline I have prepared on the history of language. One way of expanding it would be to include more entries concerning the origins of specific words in the English language. I think it would be fascinating to have a source that not only gives one information about from where a word derives, but also timeframes for when it was introduced and the evolution of meaning over time. I think one reason we have such a difficulty understanding the Bible is our failure to understand the context in which it was written. So a better understanding of the history of our language would help us understand latent meanings that even those using the words in their modern context may not fully appreciate.
Nei Ching by the legendary Chinese emperor Huang Ti is the most ancient of medical texts.[i] 2595 B.C.
The world’s first libraries are being set up at Shuppak and Eresh in Mesopotamia[ii] – circa 2500 B.C.
The Sumerians develop a cuneiform script alphabet of some 600 simplified signs[iii] circa 2500 B.C.
The script “Linear A” originates in Knossos[iv] circa 2500 B.C.
The story of Gilgamesh is written down[v] soon after 2000 B.C.
Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the Rigveda as the earliest-known composition.
The Vedic, Hymn to Night, Dawn Has Arisen, and Our Welfare is Assured, are composed[vi] between 1500 to 1200 B.C.
Austronesians speak variations of Malayan, Indonesian, Filipino, Polynesian, and other Oceanic languages[vii] circa 1,100 B.C.
The Book of Isaiah is based on the ministry of Isaiah[viii] 742 B.C. to 687 B.C.
Micah of The Book of Micha was a contemporary of Isaiah.[ix]
The Dhammapada, a collection of the sayings of the Buddha, were probably first gathered in northern India in the third century B.C.
Currency of the different states is standardized to the Ban liang coin (半兩, Bàn Liǎng). Perhaps most importantly, the Chinese script is unified. This newly standardized script is then made official throughout all the conquered regions, thus doing away with all the regional scripts to form one language. 220 to 210 B.C.
Sanskrit becomes the mode of written communication in Southeast Asia as rulers begin to lead based on the Indian model[x] circa 50 A.D.
A form of prototype paper is evolved and made known to the Han government by the eunuch Cai Lun (or Tsai Lun).[xi] 105 A.D.
A Parthian monk named An Shigao arrives at Luoyang and begins the first translation of Indian Buddhist texts into Chinese.[xii] 147 A.D.
The English language originates in the dialects spoken by the early Germanic tribes – the Angles, Saxons and Jutes – who began to settle Britain following the departure of the Romans in the fifth century AD.
Printing blocks are invented in China.[xiii] 593 A.D.
Japanese scribes apply Chinese characters to write their own language and produce the first written constitution[xiv] circa 600 A.D.
The first canon of the Quran is compiled.[xv] 650s A.D.
Copying the Koran results in more artistic forms calligraphy. Aspiring calligraphers study for years to achieve the perfectly rounded and proportioned letters[xvi] circa 650 A.D.
Ibn al-Muqaffa, a Persian convert to Islam and secretary to early Abbasid rulers, translates much of Sassanian Persian literature into Arabic[xvii] circa 750 A.D.
The Persian Sibawayh compiles the first grammar of written Arabic[xviii] circa 789 A.D.
The first papermaking factory in the Muslim Empire is built in Baghdad.[xix] 792 A.D.
The Judeo-Arabic literary language emerges[xx] circa 800 A.D.
Cyril and Methodius begin translating the Bible into the Slavonic language.[xxi] 863 A.D.
The Cyrillic alphabet is adopted in Eastern Europe.[xxii] 863 A.D.
Sassanids in eastern Iran reintroduce literature to Persia, but with Arabic script and vocabulary.[xxiii] 874 A.D.
A phonetic syllabary is developed to transcribe the Japanese language, allowing for the expression of native culture[xxiv] circa 900 A.D.
Printing is used for the first time to reproduce Confucian classics.[xxv] 932 A.D.
Bi Sheng (also spelled as Pi Sheng) invents movable type in China[xxvi] circa 1000+ A.D.
The French words boeuf, mouton, veau, porc, and poularde introduced as a result of William the Conquerors led invasion of England will be the basis of the English words beef, multon, veal, pork, and poultry. The invasion takes place[xxvii] in 1066 A.D.
Yosuf writes Wisdom of Royal Glory. It is the first major literary work in Turkish.[xxviii] 1069 A.D.
The dialect of the Īle-de-France becomes the dominant idiom there.[xxix] 1100 A.D.
The Black Book of Carmarthem is written. It is now considered the oldest Welsh manuscript.[xxx] 1150 A.D.
A Korean Buddhist text is printed for the first time with movable metal type.[xxxi] 1377 A.D.
Gutenberg prints an edition of the Bible. 1456 A.D.
The Table Alphabeticall is considered by some to be the first English dictionary and was compiled by Robert Cawdrey. 1604 A.D
Doctor Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language is published.[xxxii] 1755 A.D.
The first textbook of Western science is published in Chinese, Introduction to Natural Philosophy (Gewu Rumen).[xxxiii] 1868 A.D.
The word “empathy” is coined from the German word Einfühlung (literally “in-feeling”). 1908 A.D.
Millions watch the televised debate between candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. It is the first ever televised presidential debate.[xxxiv] September 26, 1960 A.D.
Emoji are developed in Japan for use by teenagers on their pagers; the word emoji derives from the Japanese e “picture” + moji “character, letter.”[xxxv] 1990s
Guide to written sources:
Bible- The New American Bible - A Catholic version of the Bible in English
DeCamp - The Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague De Camp
Isbouts - The Story of Christianity by Jean-Pierre Isbouts
Kagan - Concise History of the World edited by Neil Kagan
K&K -The Chronicle of World History published by Konecky & Konecky
NG - Essential Visual History of the World published by National Geographic.
Roberts - A Short History of the World written by J.M. Roberts
Trager - The People's Chronology by James Trager
[iii] Trager. They had earlier developed a written language using thousands of picture-signs, or ideograms, as in the Gilgamesh legend.
[vi] World Poetry. See also Kagan.
[xi] K&K. De Camp. Isbouts dates the oldest known use of paper at 110 A.D. See also Kagan.
[xxiv] Kagan. Trager indicates that the Hirgana alphabet was becoming popular with Japanese women in 1860.
[xxvi] De Camp. Kagan indicates Bi Sheng did this circa 1040. Trager indicates Pi Sheng used this method in the eight years starting 1041.