This brilliant puzzle has been supplied by Charlie Methνen (@charliemethven on Twitter) and it is sure to challenge you.
You have been asked to examine the inscription on the Rogetta Stone, a very ancient and mysterious object. It might look like gibberish, but it is in fact a hodgepodge of several ancient languages once spoken in the Gulf of Lexico. These languages seem to have some unexpected connections with English... Perhaps you can translate the inscription after reading up on the languages concerned below. Note that recent chemical analysis determined that five different tools are responsible for an equal number of the stone’s engravings, so it is assumed that each nation also contributed a fifth of the 100-word inscription.
There is a map below that gives some clues.
- ROGETTISH The tragic death of King Patron led to a war over control of the Ym dynasty, between the likable Prince Synon and his, well, unlikable brother, Prince Anton. The language spoken on Rogetta, therefore, arguably became two languages: exactly half its words have the same meaning as the English words they happen – for some reason – to resemble, but half (those deriving from Anton’s influence) are the falsest of false friends imaginable.
- GRAMANAN Compared to Rogetta’s, the politics of Gramana (variously known as Magraan, Argamna and N’mâäårg!) were positively tranquil, dominated by such collaborative governments as those of the Ronald-Arnold-Roland triumvirate and the joint rule of Queens Cornelia and Caroline. Gramanian grammarians certainly made up for this political harmony by ensuring the language itself was full of characters clamouring to overturn the old order.
- MASQUE When dealing with the introspective people of the landlocked Masque Country, it’s what’s inside that counts.
- PALINDROMAN The famously forward-thinking Palindromans appear to have been rather more reflective when it came to construction words. (Note that some renegade philologists believe Palindroman to be a misnomer, instead calling it Emordnilapanese.)
- DOGGEREL It is said that in the time of Python the Cerebral and Rita the Late, the Gremlin was forever filled with music, leading to a distinct musicality in all the people of the Isle of Doggerel. Curiously, but perhaps unsurprisingly given its speakers’ preference for the sonic over the visual, this language has no words for silver, purple or orange.
Pots! Ward far!!! Slither dealers soft sheet strap untie stop reviled syndactyly presume recede!!! Overpowering possess decaf another canoe’s trails rinse emit terminated, tub uniform who pine vowel lack edam tatters Steven less gainful bombyx renting fourteen saviour sloop toffee sword wolf has eon brazier, desserts wets. Owed, boar lager streams, remand canoeists profanity hiss gardened from from soliloquy, DNA cleared ethereal willingly ancient lick “Shingle” jazz het just citadel ewes testament congeries to won no. Penny object fishing actor buns hours nab islands peek other young rays dead desire exist tup capitol life! Blitz do such hike guard twerk.
The five languages are as follows:
- Rogettish consists of either Synonyms or Antonyms of the English word.
- Gramanan (as indicated by the copious examples in the description) is anagrams of the word.
- Masque the word is hidden inside the word - "the" inside slither.
- Palindroman consists of words with the letter order reversed.
- Doggerel is a word that rhymes with the given word.
Stop! Draw near!!! The leaders of these parts unite to deliver a supreme decree. We have faced the ocean’s trials since time began, but for too long we have made
matters even more painful by letting our various pools of words flow as one bizarre, stressed stew. We, your regal masters, demand cessation of this deranged form of speech, and declare the thrillingly modern tongue “English” as the only dialect we will recognise from now on. Any subject wishing to snub our ban and keep the old ways alive will be put to DEATH. It’s too much like hard work.
The Key to Translation
R=Rogettish, G=Gramanan, M=Masque, P=Palindroman and D=Doggerel
Pots (P)! Ward (P) far (R)!!! Slither (M) dealers (G) soft (M) sheet (G) strap (P) untie (G) stop (M) reviled (P) syndactyly (M) presume (G) recede (G)!!! Overpowering (M) possess (R) decaf (P) another (M) canoe’s (G) trails (G) rinse (D) emit (P) terminated (R), tub (P) uniform (M) who (D) pine (R) vowel (M) lack (R) edam (P) tatters (D) Steven (D) less (R) gainful (D) bombyx (M) renting (R) fourteen (M) saviour (G) sloop (P) toffee (M) sword (G) wolf (P) has (D) eon (G) brazier (G), desserts (P) wets (P). Owed (M), boar (D) lager (P) streams (G), remand (D) canoeists (G) profanity (M) hiss (D) gardened (G) from (G) from (R) soliloquy (R), DNA (P) cleared (G) ethereal (M) willingly (D) ancient (R) lick (R) “Shingle (G)” jazz (D) het (G) just (R) citadel (G) ewes (M) testament (R) congeries (G) to (R) won (P) no (P). Penny (D) object (R) fishing (D) actor (M) buns (P) hours (M) nab (P) islands (M) peek (P) other (M) young (R) rays (D) dead (R) desire (R) exist (R) tup (P) capitol (M) life R)! Blitz (D) do (D) such (D) hike (D) guard (D) twerk (D).