Sign In

Communications of the ACM


Software Helps Linguists Reconstruct, Decipher Ancient Languages

Software Helps Linguists Reconstruct, Decipher Ancient Languages, illustration

Linguists who reconstruct ancient languages—and who previously did the arduous work solely by hand—now have another tool in their arsenal to speed up their laborious efforts. Computer scientists have proven they can use software to recreate the early languages from which modern tongues have derived.

While previously it might have taken a linguist their entire career to reconstruct a major language family, now software running computations on, say, a large experiment that may involve a sixth of the world's languages can be completed in just a few hours.

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Read CACM in a free mobile app!
Access the latest issue, plus archived issues and more
ACM Logo
  • ACM CACM apps available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and Android platforms
  • ACM Digital Library apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices
  • Download an app and sign in to it with your ACM Web Account
Find the app for your mobile device