Over 6,000 languages are spoken around the world, yet the number of written languages has not been determined. Mandarin Chinese boasts the most speakers,with Spanish and English second and third. The Americas count up to 1,000 indigenous languages and some researchers suggest that there may have been up to 2,000 in the more distant past, with Mayan glyphs the only "written system" with the exception of the controversial Canadian Micmac hieroglyphs. However pictorial systems (picture writing) whether on stone bark or skin were common among native populations.
Within NEARA's purview, there are scattered examples of purported near or Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Germanic and Celtic inscriptions. These have mostly been deemed "impossible" or outright hoaxes, but there is compelling evidence for authentic examples as well. The two categories that have drawn the most attention and most controversy derive from the broader subjects of both Norse and Celtic contact with the Americas. Any number of carved stones have been interpreted as being Irish or Celt Iberian Ogham while others suggest variations on Norse Runic alphabets.
MICMAC HIEROGLYPHS Were they invented by the French? NEARA Journal vol. 34 num. 2, Winter 2000
INFLUENCES IN ATLANTIC NORTH AMERICA by John Cooper
"Linguistic archaeology" is what John Cooper called his word dig as he researches the meanings and associations of words in some native languages of New england and Canada's Maritimes. Delving into, in particular, Abenaki, Malaseet and Micmac. cooperfinds more than a coincidental correspondence with some words, place names and concepts in classical Greek. He wonders if there could have been some Greek influence on the Micmac hieroglyphs, concievably derived from Lybian Greeks in the period around 500 B.C.
Read the full article (PDF): ANCIENT GREEK CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC INFLUENCES IN ATLANTIC NORTH AMERICA by John Cooper, NEARA Journal VOL.35. NO 2, Winter 2001
Gordon, Cyrus H. 1987 Forgotten Scripts, New, Dorset press
ASLIP was founded in 1986 to encourage international, interdisciplinary information sharing, discussion, and debate among biogeneticists, paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, and historical linguists on questions relating to the emerging synthesis on language origins and ancestral human spoken languages. According to the founder of ASLIP, Harold C. Fleming, "All known human spoken languages [probably] are genetically related to each other as descendants of the first invention[s]--Ur-Human or Proto-Language. One test of that is to show a taxonomy of human languages --convincing to linguists-- which makes possible a universal family tree and ultimately the reconstructions of major cultural events associated with the evolution of modern people. Another corollary is that the complex evolution of physical humans --population movements and shared mutations-- can be figured out and related to a universal family tree which can be dated and located to its roots. Finally, tests of these theories can be made through archaeological discoveries..." "The goal of our enterprise is to seek the truth as it pertains to the emerging synthesis about modern human origins. [ASLIP and its journal,] Mother Tongue,[are] not committed to any single proposition..."
(Introduction, Mother Tongue, Journal of the Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory 1, 1995, 1)