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Article

Benjamin Fortson

Faliscan was the language spoken in the ager Faliscus north of Rome. It is preserved in some 450 mostly very short inscriptions dating from the 6th into the 2nd centurybce primarily from Civita Castellana (Falerii Veteres). An earlier stage of the language is distinguished from a later stage marked by monophthongization of the diphthongs ai and au to e and o, and merger of word-initial f and h as h. A local alphabet used in the early inscriptions gradually gave way to the Latin alphabet but was never fully abandoned.Few inscriptions offer more than onomastic material. Noteworthy is the perhaps proverbial foied vino pipafo (variant pafo) cra carefo = Lat. hodie vinum bibam cras carebo (“Today I shall drink wine, tomorrow I shall do without”), remarkably inscribed on two separate drinking cups (see Faliscan Red Figure kylix depicting Dionysus/Fufluns and Ariadne/Ariatha, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, Rome). Of great interest is the “Ceres inscription,” from c.

Article

Late republican scholar whose (lost) works on *etymology (De origine vocabulorum) and religious antiquities (De dis) are quoted by *Quintilian, A. *Gellius, and *Macrobius.

Article

Jay H. Jasanoff

The Germanic languages constitute one of the ten major branches of the Indo-European family. Proto-Germanic, the inferred common parent of the group, was a sister language to Proto-Greek, Proto-Italic, Proto-Indo-Iranian, and other descendants of Proto-Indo-European, which is presumed to have been spoken around 4000bce. Proto-Germanic probably remained a fairly homogeneous speech community until the last four or five centuries before the beginning of the Common Era, when it divided into East and Northwest Germanic dialects; the latter subsequently split into North and West Germanic. The early Germanic peoples were illiterate at this time, so our knowledge of Proto-Germanic is based entirely on comparative reconstruction. Since all the early Germanic languages are still fairly close, however, the sounds and forms of Proto-Germanic are recoverable with reasonable accuracy.The earliest and most archaic Germanic language of which we have extensive remains is Gothic, the only attested representative of the East Germanic dialect group. Our knowledge of Gothic is almost entirely based on the Bible translation made around the middle of the 4th century by the Arian Gothic bishop Wulfila.

Article

Benjamin Fortson

The East Germanic language of the Goths, attested primarily in the lengthy fragments of a translation of the Greek Bible by the 4th-century Arian bishop Wulfila or Ulfilas (literally, “little wolf”). In Europe the language had died out probably by the 9th century, but a variation of it was still spoken in the 18th century in Crimea. Gothic is the first Germanic language to be attested in anything other than very short runic inscriptions.Wulfila used a modified Greek alphabet, supplemented with a couple of letters from the Latin and runic alphabets. Wulfila’s translation sticks very close to the word order and idiom of the original Greek, which makes studying the language’s syntax quite complicated. Gothic is the only Germanic language to preserve a passive conjugation and dual personal endings in verbs and shows none of the umlaut or rhotacism that so changed the soundscape of the West and North Germanic languages. An archaic syntactic feature of the language is the use of clitic conjunctions and pronouns (such as -(u)h “and,” related to Latin -que and Greek τε) that appear in second position in the clause, even separating preverbs from verbs.

Article

R. A. Kaster

The Romans came to study their own language only late, under the impulse of Hellenistic philosophy; the Greek influence was permanent and is clearly indicated by the calques that constitute much of Latin grammatical terminology (e.g. casus∼πτῶσις, coniugatio∼συζυγία). It was the doctrine of the Stoics—represented by the τέχνη περὶ φωνῆς, as part of the theory of ‘dialectic’—that provided the most important model for Roman handbooks. The surviving examples, which include short ‘school grammars’ and massive treatises, generally have three main sections: (a) introductory definitions of essential concepts (e.g. vox, littera, syllaba); (b) an analysis of the parts of speech; and (c) a survey of ‘flaws’ and ‘virtues’ (vitia et virtutes orationis: probably not part of the Stoic legacy). When fully expanded, section (b) treated each part of speech according to its attributes: nomina (nouns and adjectives) according to qualitas (‘proper’ or ‘appellative’), genus ( = gender), figura (simple or compound, e.

Article

Anna Morpurgo Davies

In the Classical period Greek was spoken in mainland Greece (including the Peloponnese), in the islands of the Aegean (including Crete, Rhodes, and Cyprus), and in the Greek colonies in Asia, Africa, and Italy. It is the European (and Indo-European) language with the longest attested history; the first documents belong to the second half of the second millennium bce and there is no real break between ancient Greek and the modern language of Greece. Most of the evidence from the 8th cent. bce until now is written in the Greek *Alphabet , but at an early stage two syllabic scripts were also in use: Linear B in the second half of the second millennium rendered the Greek spoken by the exponents of Mycenaean civilization (see mycenaean language ; pre-alphabetic scripts (greece) ) while during the first millennium bce a distantly related script, syllabic Cypriot, was used for the local dialect of Cyprus and remained in use until the 3rd cent. The language changed in time: conventionally we distinguish an ancient period which goes from the first attestation of Mycenaean Greek (in Linear B) to the end of Hellenistic Greek (roughly in ce 300), a Byzantine and medieval period (until c.

Article

Carlo de Simone

At present it is not possible to give a linguistic definition of ‘Illyrian’, a term which has often been used to indicate the languag (s) anciently spoken in the Balkan peninsula (excluding Greek). There are no inscriptions written in ‘Illyrian’. Consequently the features of the ‘Illyrian’ language have been puzzled out (and genetically defined) merely on the basis of personal names and place names from the Balkans; on this basis *Messapic has also been derived from ‘Illyrian’. Yet it is impossible to reconstruct a historical language, with all its complex phonological and morphological structure, merely from onomastic data. The main exponent of ‘Illyrianism’ was the German scholar H. Krahe, who defined as ‘Illyrian’ a vast onomastic complex spread through the whole Balkan peninsula. Krahe himself, however, explicitly recognized (in 1956) that this position was not tenable, thus opening the way to further work. Later scholars (J. Untermann, R. Katičić, C. de Simone) introduced a concept of an ‘onomastic region’ (Namengebiet) which is not based on etymological assumptions.

Article

A. Sherratt and S. Sherratt

For the last 200 years it has been recognized that languages such as Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit share regularities which indicate a close historical relationship (see linguistics, comparative and historical). This grouping, termed Indo-European (IE) to indicate its geographical extent in historical times, includes some nine major living language-groups and also extinct ones known only through inscriptions. The earliest recorded examples belong to the second millennium bce, and include extinct *Anatolian languages such as *Hittite and Luwian (c. 17th cent. bce), as well as the bronze age form of Greek written in Linear B (e.g. at *Cnossus, 14th cent. bce); but many unrecorded languages and language-groups of this family must once have existed, only some of which gave rise to successors which have left evidence in written or spoken form. The peoples who spoke any of this family of related languages might be termed—in a purely linguistic sense—Indo-Europeans.

Article

John Penney

After the introduction of the *alphabet by the Greeks in the 8th cent. bce and its adoption by the native peoples, *literacy gradually spread throughout Italy. Epigraphic remains (see epigraphy) then provide evidence for a variety of languages down to the 1st cent. bce, when the spread of Latin that accompanied the extension of Roman power throughout the peninsula led to the disappearance of all other tongues (except only Greek), at least in their written form, by the Augustan period.There are a number of languages of *Indo-European descent. Many of these can be grouped together and classified as an Italic branch of Indo-European, with two major subgroups in central and southern Italy consisting of Latin (see latin language) and *Faliscan on the one hand and the *Sabellic languages (including Oscan and Umbrian) on the other and perhaps also including geographically remote *Venetic.

Article

Robert G. Coleman

Latin belongs to the Italic group of *Indo-European (IE) languages, see Italy, Languages of, which includes Faliscan (see faliscans), Umbrian, and Oscan (see Sabellic Languages). It was originally spoken in Latium from 800 bce or earlier and with the spread of Roman power became the common language first of Italy, then of the western Mediterranean and Balkan regions of the Roman empire. The language of the illiterate majority of Latin-speakers, Vulgar Latin (VL), evolved through its regional dialects into the Romance languages. It is known from casual remarks by ancient grammarians, comparative Romance reconstruction, and deviations from classical norms in manuscript and epigraphic texts.Refined versions of the language were developed early on for specific socio-cultural purposes—legal and ritual texts, public oratory, senatorial and pontifical records, and Saturnian verse. The earliest of these survive in corrupt and fragmentary forms, e.g. the *Twelve Tables and the *Carmen arvale (‘Hymn of the Arval Brethren’).

Article

Rex E. Wallace

The Lemnian language was spoken by the inhabitants of Lemnos, an island in the northern Aegean, in the period before Attic Greek colonization. Lemnian is preserved on sixteen inscriptions dating to the second half of the 6th centurybce. Most inscriptions are single words incised or painted on ceramic vessels.1 Inscriptions on stone monuments provide the bulk of the evidence for the language.

Lemnian inscriptions were written in an alphabet that had its roots in Phrygia, but several letters—theta, phi, and khi—were borrowed from Greek. Other accommodations were made in order to represent more faithfully the Lemnian sound system. The letters for voiced stops and for the vowel ypsilon were eliminated. Words in inscriptions were separated by punctuation in the form of a colon or a tri-colon ⋮. The direction of writing was typically left to right, but lines in longer inscriptions were frequently written in boustrophedon style.

Article

Ester Salgarella

Linear A is a Bronze Age (c. 1800–1450 bce) script attested primarily on Crete but also sporadically in the Aegean islands, mainland Greece, and Asia Minor. Typologically it is classified as a logo-syllabary since it consists of signs representing both syllables (syllabograms) and real-world referents (logograms/ideograms). To date, the script, which was used to write the still poorly understood Minoan language, remains undeciphered. Linear A seems to have been used for both administrative and cultic purposes: incised clay documents (tablets, roundels, and sealings) were used in palace administration to record economic transactions, while inscribed carved-stone and metal objects and painted clay vessels have been found in non-administrative contexts, mostly cultic or utilitarian. There is no evidence of Linear A’s use in monumental inscriptions, diplomatic correspondence, historiography, or other forms of literature. Still, Linear A is likely to have been used for writing on perishable material (papyrus or parchment) as well, although no examples have survived. Although the script remains undeciphered, some information—place names, personal names, names for commodities, and terms for various sorts of transaction—can still be gleaned from the available texts. Nevertheless, the nature of our evidence (short formulaic inscriptions with limited syntax), the relatively small number of inscriptions that have survived, and their often poor state of preservation significantly hamper our understanding of the language.

Article

Dimitri Nakassis

Linear B is a script used to write the Greek language during the palatial period of Mycenaean civilization, c. 1400–1200 bce. It employed 87 syllabic and 143 logographic signs written from left to right. The vast majority of Linear B texts take the form of clay tablets, labels, and sealings that were used by palatial administrators to record diverse transactions. The other major document type is the inscribed stirrup jar, a coarse transport vessel with short texts painted before firing. Major deposits of Linear B texts are located at palatial sites on the Greek mainland and Crete, especially at Pylos and Cnossus. The texts are entirely administrative in nature and are therefore silent on historical events, but they shed light on many aspects of the Late Bronze Age world, especially economy, society, religion, and of course language and writing itself.Linear B is a Late Bronze Age script that was used to write documents in the Greek .

Article

D. R. Langslow

In its broader sense, linguistics denotes the scientific study of all aspects of language in all forms (including human sign-language and animal communication), whether in isolation or in any of a wide range of interactions (e.g. with psychology, anthropology, computation, philosophy). Linguistics is also used more narrowly (often in the phrase core linguistics) to mean the study of the items and their combinations in the grammar at its several levels of analysis, namely: phonology (the sound system), morphology (word-structure), syntax (phrase- and sentence-structure, word order), semantics (meanings encoded in language), and the lexicon.If modern linguistics in the west owes its birth to a single event, it is to the rediscovery of Sanskrit, by European scholars in the late 18th cent., and the consequent realization that many languages of Europe, Persia, and India must be related and descended from a common ancestor (*Indo-European). Consequently, 19th-cent. linguistics was predominantly historical (diachronic) and comparative.

Article

R. H. Robins

1. Linguistics, as understood and practised today, arose in western antiquity from two rather different sources: philosophical debate on the origin and nature of language, and the practical requirements of textual criticism and the teaching of Greek. It generally went under the name of grammar (grammatikē), which had at first referred simply to the teaching of literacy, and came later to include what would now be called orthographical phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax, corresponding to the wider use of ‘grammar’ among some linguists today. Linguistics developed along with other disciplines concerned with language, in particular *rhetoric and *literary criticism. Several well-known ancient grammarians (see grammaticus) engaged in one or both of these other subjects as well.It is clear that, as with so much else in the western intellectual tradition, linguistics began in Greece and was then taken up in the Latin world after the Greek-speaking countries had been absorbed within Roman control. There was some independent thought on language in Roman work, particularly with *Varro (1st cent.

Article

Oswald John Louis Szmerenyi and Anna Morpurgo Davies

Historical linguistics studies how language develops in time; comparative linguistics (or comparative philology) uses linguistic comparison to establish that two or more languages are genetically related and descend from an earlier language which may or may not be attested. We know that the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, etc.) are related and descend from a form of Latin, but we can also show that languages like Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Armenian, English, etc. descend from an unattested parent language. We can reconstruct the main features of this language which we call conventionally Proto-Indo-European (PIE) or simply *Indo-European (IE), and which must have been spoken before writing was developed. Similar techniques allow us to reconstruct Proto-*Semitic, the parent language of Hebrew, Arabic, *Akkadian, etc. or Proto-Algonquian from which a number of Amerindian languages in NE and central North America derive, etc. The question whether all languages descend from one language or many remains open. Within each family we can also establish different degrees of relationship. Greek, Latin, French, English, German are all Indo-European, but Greek and Latin belong to separate branches, English and German to the same branch (Germanic), while French descends from Latin. In general, comparative linguistics may provide evidence for prehistoric events such as the origin or movement of peoples but it also lengthens the history of the languages studied and throws light onto their features. We should not confuse this comparative linguistics, which aims at identifying genetic relationship, with the homonymous discipline which compares different languages (mostly unrelated) in order to establish language types and general features of language.

Article

Luwian  

Anna Morpurgo Davies

Is a branch of the Anatolian family of Indo-European languages. The Hittite archives include clay tablets with rituals written in the so called cuneiform Luwian; the texts date from the 16th to the 13th cents. bce. It is also clear that the Hittite language was strongly influenced by Luwian. A different script, the so called Hieroglyphic Luwian, which is in fact a syllabic script rich in logograms, was devised in the second millennium bce for a closely related language or dialect. We have a few difficult inscriptions in the 14th and 13th cents., but most of the texts (rock inscriptions, stelae, lead letters, etc. ) belong to the 10th-7th cents. bce and were written by the small states which survived the fall of the Hittite Empire in Central and South Anatolia. Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic Luwian are very close but not identical. It is often assumed that *Lycian belongs to the same group but this is not certain. It is also likely that at some stage Luwian was spoken on the south and west coast of Anatolia. See anatolian languages.

Article

H. C. Melchert

The Lycian language is documented in somewhat fewer than 200 inscriptions on stone and in several dozen very short imprints on coins, the latter consisting only of personal and place names, often abbreviated. These texts start with the 6th cent. but most of them date from the 5th and 4th cents. bce. They are written in an alphabet derived from or closely related to that of Greek. All but a handful of the stone inscriptions are funerary texts with highly stereotyped contents. One important exception is the ‘inscribed pillar’ of *Xanthus. Much of this lengthy text remains obscure, owing to problems of vocabulary, but it is clear that it describes the military exploits of a particular dynastic family and the establishment of various cultic centres. Invaluable for understanding the Lycian language is the ‘Letoon trilingual’, which describes in parallel Lycian, Greek, and *Aramaic versions the establishment of a cult of King Caunius (a cult name evidently connected with *Caunus; see H.

Article

H. C. Melchert

Evidence for the Lydian language consists of more than 100 inscriptions, mostly discovered at the site of the ancient capital *Sardis. Only some two dozen of these are long enough and complete enough to be significant in elucidating the language. Aside from a few short imprints on coins, some of which may be as old as the 8th cent. bce, all the texts date from the 5th and 4th cent. bce. Lydian is written in an alphabet related to or derived from that of Greek.

The texts vary in content: many are tomb inscriptions, others appear to be decrees of various kinds. Remarkably, some are in verse, with an accent-based metre and vowel assonance in the last words of each line.

Not all texts found at Sardis are in Lydian. Besides a few graffiti in Carian (see caria), there is the ‘synagogue inscription’, discovered in 1963. It is written in an alphabetic script, but not even the values of the letters, much less the language, have yet been determined.

Article

Olivier Masson and Anna Morpurgo Davies

The problem of the nature and origin of the Macedonian language is still disputed by modern scholars, but does not seem to have been raised among the ancients. We have a rare adverb μακεδονιστί (important passages in *Plutarch, Alex.51 and Eum.14), but the meaning of this form is ambiguous. The adverb cannot tell us whether Plutarch had in mind a language different from Greek (cf. φοινικιστί, ‘in Phoenician’), or a dialect (cf. μεγαριστί, ‘in Megarian’), or a way of speaking (cf. ἀττικιστί). We have some ‘Macedonian’ glosses, particularly in *Hesychius' lexicon, but they are mostly disputed and some were corrupted in the transmission. Thus ἀβροῦτες, ‘eyebrows’ probably must be read as ἀβροῦϝες (with τ which renders a digamma). If so, it is a Greek dialect form; yet others (e.g. A. Meillet) see the dental as authentic and think that the word belongs to an *Indo-European language different from Greek.