Work is underway to better cross-analyze ancient texts using advanced software tools. This work is a collaboration called the Archimedes Project between the Dept. of the Classics at Harvard Univ. and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science – see Scholars resuscitate dead languages.
The Archimedes Project specifically aims at learning about how the science of mechanics developed by looking at ancient texts. The outcome should be new tools that allow language data to be more accessible and languages easier to learn by computer.
One of the methods used is to examine Arabic translations of lost Greek documents and reconstruct the Greek. The software brings together a variety of tools that assist with this. One of the primary software programs is Arboreal, which allows you to annotate text using XML. (This Arboreal should not be confused with the linguistics program Arboreal that allows you to create syntax trees.)
Other tools developed include Donatus, which provides online analysis of morphology, and Pollux, an online interface providing a collection of dictionaries including Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin and Sumerian.
This entry was prompted by the entry Reviving Dead Languages: A Promising Trend? at Alex’s Language and Society Blog.