Help RISM identify unknown languages

Monday, September 21, 2020

We were editing some records and found that around 100 vocal pieces in the RISM database have the language code “undetermined.”

Do you recognize any of the languages used in the text?

Take a look at the table and let us know if anything looks familiar (link also here):  



The table only shows a few fields from each record. Please consult the full records in the online catalog. We don’t have any more information beyond what is in the records.

One thing we’ve noticed, if it helps: some of the titles or texts might be transliterated from the original alphabets. There are probably also older spellings. We think we see Scandinavian languages, probably Slavic, maybe Romanian (among others), but we aren’t sure. Many come from the Kestner Collection in Hanover, a fascinating collection of folk music from all over the world (RISM library siglum: D-HVs).

Please tell us the RISM number if you can identify a language. You can contact us through email ( or through Facebook or Twitter.

Image: World map, published in A compendious geographical dictionary (London, 1795), from the University of Minnesota Libraries, James Ford Bell Library (public domain).

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