An Early Example of Collocation

An early example of collocation is the Rosetta Stone. It records a decree in 196 BCE by Ptolemy V granting a tax amnesty to temple priests.

The stele has the degree written in Egyptian (two scripts, hieroglyphic and Demotic) and Classical Greek.

The collocation of different translations of the same decree on the Rosetta Stone raises interesting questions about identification of subjects as well as how to process such identifications.

This decree of Ptolemy V could be identified as the decree on the Rosetta Stone. Or, it could be identified by reciting the entire text. There are multiple ways to identify any subject. That some means of identification are more common than others, should not blind us to alternative methods for subject identification. Or to the differences that a means of identification may make for processing.

Since each text/identifier was independent of the others, each reader was free to identify the subject without reference to the other identifiers. (Shades of parallel processing?)

Another processing issue to notice is that by reciting the text of the decree on the Rosetta Stone, it was not necessary for readers to “dereference” an identifier in order to understand what subject was being identified.

Topic maps are a recent development in a long history of honoring semantic diversity.

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One Response to “An Early Example of Collocation”

  1. […] would be correct. Not the same one, Ptolemy V, whose decree was recorded on the Rosetta Stone. See: An Early Example of Collocation. There are even earlier multi-lingual texts, I need to track down good images of them and do a post […]