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.
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Answer at 9.00 on Monday