This one is fairly simple, it either works (all the time) or it doesn't. As my wife likes to tell the story of her nephew learning to read, t-h-e is always the word "the" anytime you see it! As with Egyptian heiroglyphics there is a little bit of interpretation involved as this early language seemed to leave out the vowels so you need to read between the lines a bit but some other ancient languages did the same. It would be great to understand what the early beginnings of the English language sounded like and looked like. As far as his other claims go, they really are insignificant compared to this if it pans out. They don't allow photos to be taken at the Peteborough site but I will give a full report if I can get up that way this summer.
By the way, 1700 BCE is long before Norse (or even Germanic) languages settled out of Indo-European, so any putative king would not be able to be called "Norse" with any accuracy. And that's well before any attested Norse or Germanic written language, so there is literally nothing to compare it to. It would be like trying to compare Modern English with Demotic Egyptian.
Also by the way, 'the' isn't the every time you see it. It could well be the French word for tea. One word, one fact on its own is nothing. They both require a coherent context to make sense, and nothing which Bell writes provides that for his fatcs.
Edited by jaylemurph, 27 January 2013 - 01:36 AM.