Lingua Ignota

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Lingua Ignota ("the unknown language", also vox inauditae, "the unheard voice") is one of the earliest known examples of conlanging. Created by St. Hildegard von Bingen around 1200 CE, it is known only through two surviving texts and as a result is only partially documented. 1011 words are known of the language thanks to a glossary found in one of these two remaining texts, but as can be seen in the section below, there were obviously others. If the language had its own grammar independent of Latin is also unclear. The one example that has come down to us of St. Hildegard's language is a Latin sentence with Lingua Ignota words peppered in.

Texts in Lingua Ignota

The only extant text in the language is the following short passage:

"O orzchis Ecclesia, armis divinis praecincta, et hyacinto ornata, tu es caldemia stigmatum loifolum et urbs scienciarum. O, o tu es etiam crizanta in alto sono, et es chorzta gemma."

These two sentences are written mostly in Latin with five key words in Lingua Ignota; as only one of these is unambiguously found in the glossary (loifol "people"), it is clear that the vocabulary was larger than 1011 words. (Higley 2007 finds probable correspondences for two other words.)

"O orzchis Ecclesia, girded with divine arms, and adorned with hyacinth, you are the caldemia of the wounds of the loifol, and the city of sciences. O, o, you are the crizanta in high sound, and you are the chorzta gem."

loifol "people" apparently is inflected in Latin, yielding loifol-um in congruence with stigmatum, the plural genitive of stigma. Newman (1987) conjectures the translation:

"O measureless Church, / girded with divine arms / and adorned with jacinth, / you are the fragrance of the wounds of nations / and the city of sciences. / O, o, and you are anointed / amid noble sound, / and you are a sparkling gem."

See also

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