I know there are people who study ancient linguistics. There are ways in which languages deteriate over time, so sounds become other ones, and there are people who try to recreate the ancient Indo-European language that most European ones derive from. You can tell a lot about how language used to be spoken by which words they rhymed with each other.
I did, however, get permission to do an excellent school project on the origins of swearwords and can therefore confidently tell you (or confidently for a 13-year-old) that the majority of ours are not Anglo-Saxon, but Dutch.
I think I bang on about this far too much on other people's threads, so I would like to start my own!
I am really interested in how people use either written language, or picture, or any kind of non face-to-face communication. If you saw the Vikings programme the other night, I loved the example of the Viking runes that you can still see in the Hagia Sophia (though I don't think they are graffiti the way he said!). And I love the idea of hieroglyphs and that sort of thing.
I know very little about communication before the medieval period - I know little bits about Latin and Greek but that is very minimal. And I don't really know much about teaching and learning to read after the seventeenth century, or in non-Western (even non-English) cultures. I would really love to know if anyone knows things about books and writing in other contexts.
What things really strike you? Or what has stayed with you from exhibitions of books and writing and so on?