SECTION 3- READING
Questions 26-45: Choose the best answer according to the passage below.
The languages spoken by early Europeans are still shrouded in mystery. There is no linguistic continuity between the languages of Old Europe (a term sometimes used for Europe between 7,000 and 3,000 B.C.) and the languages of the modern world, and we cannot yet translate the Old European script. Scholars have deciphered other ancient languages, such as Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian, which used the cuneiform script, because of the fortuitous discovery of bilingual inscriptions. When cuneiform tablets were first discovered in the 18th century, scholars could not decipher them. Then inscriptions found in Iran at the end of the 18th century provided a link: these inscriptions were written in cuneiform and in two other ancient languages, Old Persian and New Elamite – languages that had already been deciphered. It took several decades, but scholars eventually translated the ancient cuneiform script via the more familiar Old Persian language.
Similarly, the hieroglyphic writing of the Egyptians remained a mystery until French troops unearthed the famous Rosetta stone in the late 18th century. The stone carried the same message written in ancient Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Egyptian hieratic, a simplified form of hieroglyphs. The Rosetta stone thwarted scholars’ efforts for several decades until the early 19th century when several key hieroglyphic phrases were decoded using the Greek inscriptions. Unfortunately, we have no Old European Rosetta stone to chart correspondences between Old European script and the languages that replaced it.
The incursions of Indo-European tribes into Old Europe from the late 5th to the early 3rd millennia B.C. caused a linguistic and cultural discontinuity. These incursions disrupted the Old European sedentary farming lifestyle that had existed for 3,000 years. As the Indo-Europeans encroached on Old Europe from the east, the continent underwent upheavals. These severely affected the Balkans, where the Old European cultures abundantly employed script. The Old European way of life deteriorated rapidly, although pockets of Old European culture remained for several millennia. The new peoples spoke completely different languages belonging to the Indo-European linguistic family. The Old European language or languages, and the script used to write them, declined and eventually vanished.
Question 26. What is the main topic of the passage?