Maerik

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Hic incipit lingua mærik

"Here begins the Mærik language" -- the Latin caption to the Mærik vocabulary in the manuscript.

Mærik sections

About Mærik and its transmission

One of the most valuable and unique, but also one of the least known manuscripts in the collections of the Swedish Royal Library is the so-called Buræan Glossary. Of its seventy-eight leaves scholars have generally been interested only in the first thirty leaves and the recto page of the thirty-first. These consist of a topically arranged list of Latin words with their Old Swedish translations.

At the top of the verso side of leaf 31 stand the Latin words Hic jncipit lingua mærik and there follows a seemingly random list of words with Latin translations. The problem with this second word list is that only the Latin words have appeared intelligible. Werner Schiöld, the only scholar who hitherto paid any attention to the latter 125 pages was of the opinion that these pages were either copied by a scribe who didn't know Old Swedish, it was a secret code or a secret language. Schiöld was actually on the right track since he favored the secret language explanation, but he said that "an inspection of the Latin 'translations' [Schiöld's quotes] indicates that no new knowledge of Old Swedish vocabulary can be gained by cracking the code".

Although Schiöld thus used the term "secret language" he nevertheless took for granted that the non-Latin words of the latter 125 pages, apart from some inter­spersed Old Swedish words, were some kind of obfuscation of the corre­sponding Old Swedish words "and probably a deliberate obfuscation, since even a scribe unfamiliar with Old Swedish would have got his transcriptions right most of the time". Schöld's foregone conclusion was thus that the text represented some kind of language game, similar to, but more complicated than, for example Pig Latin.

A renewed inspection, especially of the syntax of the connected texts following the word-list and their Latin glosses, indicates that these strange words actually repre­sent a real language, distinct from both Latin and Old Swedish, even though the phonemic, or at any rate graphemic, shape of the language is deceptively similar to Old Swedish.

BPJ 11:48, 6 May 2005 (PDT)

Possible identity of the Mærik speakers

See Wikipedia:Hacker (folklore)!

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