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Etruscan language information


Etruscan
The Cippus Perusinus, a stone tablet bearing 46 lines of incised Etruscan text, one of the longest extant Etruscan inscriptions. 3rd or 2nd century BC.
Native toAncient Etruria
RegionItalian Peninsula
Extinctafter 50 AD[1]
Language family
Tyrsenian
  • Etruscan
Writing system
Etruscan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3ett
Glottologetru1241

Etruscan (/ɪˈtrʌskən/ ih-TRUSK-ən)[3] was the language of the Etruscan civilization in the ancient region of Etruria,[a] in Etruria Padana[b] and Etruria Campana[c] in what is now Italy. Etruscan influenced Latin but was eventually completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 inscriptions that have been found so far, only a small minority of which are of significant length; some bilingual inscriptions with texts also in Latin, Greek, or Phoenician; and a few dozen purported loanwords. Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study, with it mostly being referred to as one of the Tyrsenian languages, at times as an isolate and a number of other less well-known theories.

The consensus among linguists and Etruscologists is that Etruscan was a Pre-Indo-European[4][5][6] and Paleo-European language,[7][8] closely related to the Raetic language that was spoken in the Alps,[9][10][11][12][13] and to the Lemnian language, attested in a few inscriptions on Lemnos.[14][15]

The Etruscan alphabet is similar to the Greek one. Therefore, linguists have been able to read the inscriptions in the sense of knowing roughly how they would have been pronounced, but have not yet understood their meaning.[16]

A comparison between the Etruscan and Greek alphabets reveals how accurately the Etruscans preserved the Greek alphabet. The Etruscan alphabet contains letters that have since been dropped from the Greek alphabet, such as the digamma, sampi and qoppa.[17]

Grammatically, the language is agglutinating, with nouns and verbs showing suffixed inflectional endings and some gradation of vowels. Nouns show five cases, singular and plural numbers, with a gender distinction between animate and inanimate in pronouns.

Etruscan appears to have had a cross-linguistically common phonological system, with four phonemic vowels and an apparent contrast between aspirated and unaspirated stops. The records of the language suggest that phonetic change took place over time, with the loss and then re-establishment of word-internal vowels, possibly due to the effect of Etruscan's word-initial stress.

Etruscan religion influenced that of the Romans, and many of the few surviving Etruscan-language artifacts are of votive or religious significance. Etruscan was written in an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet; this alphabet was the source of the Latin alphabet, as well as other alphabets in Italy and probably beyond. The Etruscan language is also believed to be the source of certain important cultural words of Western Europe such as military and person, which do not have obvious Indo-European roots.

  1. ^ a b Rix, Helmut (2004). "Etruscan". In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 943–966. ISBN 978-0-521-56256-0.
  2. ^ Freeman, Philip (1999). "The Survival of the Etruscan Language". Etruscan Studies. 6 (1): 75–84. doi:10.1515/etst.1999.6.1.75. S2CID 191436488.
  3. ^ Bauer, Laurie (2007). The Linguistics Student's Handbook. Edinburgh.
  4. ^ Massimo Pallottino, La langue étrusque Problèmes et perspectives, 1978.
  5. ^ Mauro Cristofani, Introduction to the study of the Etruscan, Leo S. Olschki, 1991.
  6. ^ Romolo A. Staccioli, The "mystery" of the Etruscan language, Newton & Compton publishers, Rome, 1977.
  7. ^ Haarmann, Harald (2014). "Ethnicity and Language in the Ancient Mediterranean". A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean. pp. 17–33. doi:10.1002/9781118834312.ch2. ISBN 978-1-4443-3734-1.
  8. ^ Harding, Anthony H. (2014). "The later prehistory of Central and Northern Europe". In Renfrew, Colin; Bahn, Paul (eds.). The Cambridge World Prehistory. Vol. 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 1912. ISBN 978-1-107-02379-6. Italy was home to a number of languages in the Iron Age, some of them clearly Indo-European (Latin being the most obvious, although this was merely the language spoken in the Roman heartland, that is, Latium, and other languages such as Italic, Venetic or Ligurian were also present), while the centre-west and northwest were occupied by the people we call Etruscans, who spoke a language which was non-Indo-European and presumed to represent an ethnic and linguistic stratum which goes far back in time, perhaps even to the occupants of Italy prior to the spread of farming.
  9. ^ Schumacher, Stefan (1994) Studi Etruschi in Neufunde ‘raetischer’ Inschriften Vol. 59 pp. 307–320 (German)
  10. ^ Schumacher, Stefan (1994) Neue ‘raetische’ Inschriften aus dem Vinschgau in Der Schlern Vol. 68 pp. 295-298 (German)
  11. ^ Schumacher, Stefan (1999) Die Raetischen Inschriften: Gegenwärtiger Forschungsstand, spezifische Probleme und Zukunfstaussichten in I Reti / Die Räter, Atti del simposio 23–25 settembre 1993, Castello di Stenico, Trento, Archeologia delle Alpi, a cura di G. Ciurletti – F. Marzatico Archaoalp pp. 334–369 (German)
  12. ^ Schumacher, Stefan (2004) Die Raetischen Inschriften. Geschichte und heutiger Stand der Forschung Archaeolingua. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft. (German)
  13. ^ Norbert Oettinger, Seevölker und Etrusker, 2010.
  14. ^ de Simone Carlo (2009) La nuova iscrizione tirsenica di Efestia in Aglaia Archontidou, Carlo de Simone, Albi Mersini (Eds.), Gli scavi di Efestia e la nuova iscrizione ‘tirsenica’, Tripodes 11, 2009, pp. 3–58. (Italian)
  15. ^ Carlo de Simone, Simona Marchesini (Eds), La lamina di Demlfeld [= Mediterranea. Quaderni annuali dell'Istituto di Studi sulle Civiltà italiche e del Mediterraneo antico del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Supplemento 8], Pisa – Roma: 2013. (Italian)
  16. ^ Rogers, Henry (2009). Writing systems: a linguistic approach. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics (Nachdr. ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publ. ISBN 978-0-631-23464-7.
  17. ^ Rogers, Henry (2009). Writing systems: a linguistic approach. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics (Nachdr. ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publ. ISBN 978-0-631-23464-7.


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