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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

Sabelli  

Edward Togo Salmon and T. W. Potter

Sabelli is not synonymous with *Sabini. It is the Roman name for speakers of *Oscan. They called themselves Safineis and their chief official *meddix. They expanded from their original habitat (reputedly Sabine Amiternum) by proclaiming sacred springs (see ver sacrum) and settling in fresh lands where they usually imposed their language and coalesced with the pre-Sabellian populations. Thus originated Samnites, Frentani, Campani, Lucani, Apuli, Bruttii, and Mamertini. (Paeligni, Vestini, Marrucini, Marsi, and Aequ (?), who spoke Oscan-type dialects, presumably had a similar origin.) These migrations were still continuing in the 5th cent. bce and later: Sabelli conquered *Campaniac.450–420, *Lucaniac.420–390; *Bruttii appeared c.356. But the Sabelli were more expansive than cohesive. The Samnites (see samnium), the most typical Sabelli, had no feeling of political unity with their ancestors the Sabines, nor the *Frentani with theirs, the Samnites.

Article

Rosalind Thomas

Widespread bilingualism at some level was characteristic of the ancient world, whether we look for(a) bilingual communities, in which two languages are in use (e.g. official and popular languages, written and non-written, formal and informal), or(b) bilingual individuals who know two languages at some level. Perfect capacity in two languages, a modern ideal, was probably both rare and unnecessary, and, despite Herodotus 8. 144 on Greek (see greek language), the close modern identity of language and nation seems to have been relatively unimportant. But bilingualism implies language choice: according to context, the associations of each language, or social ambition. Latin and especially Greek were the languages of culture and education (in the Roman empire, Latin was the language of law and army), as well as power, so that while many other languages coexisted alongside Latin and Greek, neither Greeks nor Romans ever had to impose their language on others. Greek and Roman writers tended to be uninterested in other languages, or they were never written down, so our evidence (written) is slight and misleading (e.g. we learn about Getic in *Tomis from *Ovid's complaints (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

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

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

Anna Morpurgo Davies

The main features of the pronunciation of ancient Greek may be established through the study of contemporary documents, literary texts, spelling mistakes, puns, grammarians' statements, etc. (see pronunciation, latin). In many points we may claim only approximate accuracy, but it is certain that the pronunciation of ancient Greek was different from that of Modern Greek and also differed from most modern scholarly pronunciations which inevitably show the influence of national traditions and the scholar's first language. What follows mostly refers to Classical (late 5th cent. bce) Attic written in the Ionic alphabet (see alphabet, greek) and offers a traditional view of Attic pronunciation different from that of those scholars like Theodorsson who believe that by the 4th cent. this had already advanced a great deal further in the Modern Greek direction.Attic had five short and seven long vowels: [a, i, y, e, o, a:, i:, y:, .

Article

John William Pirie, Lilian Hamilton Jeffery, and Alan Johnston

In early Greece various forms of alphabet were current but all derived from a *Phoenician (Semitic) source, which must have reached the Aegean by the earlier 8th cent. (before our earliest Greek examples of c.760). Recent arguments dating the transfer much earlier are not supported by any material evidence. The alphabet was taken in the order of the Semitic model: ΑΒΓΔΕϝZΗΘΙΚΛΜΝΞΟΠΜΦϘΡΣΤ; not all states used all letters, but all probably retained them in the mechanically repeated order. Certain states found no use for ϝ (‘vau’, ṷ), others for Ξ (properly, perhaps, a more complicated sibilant than is implied by our x), or Ϙ (‘qoppa’, the k before o and u); and for s some used Σ, but others preferred Μ (‘san’, perhaps corresponding to the English pronunciation of z). The most striking feature in the Greek adaptation of the Phoenician model is that by altering (consciously or unconsciously) the original significance of ΑΕΙΟ and adding Υ Greek, unlike Phoenician, achieved an independent representation of vowel-sounds.

Article

John Penney

There is no evidence for any form of writing in Italy before the arrival of Greek colonists in the 8th century bce. The Euboean alphabet brought by settlers at Pithecusae (mod. Ischia) and Cumae was borrowed by the Etruscans, who acted as intermediaries for the spread of writing throughout much of the peninsula. Only in southern regions adjacent to other Greek settlements was the Greek alphabet again borrowed directly, as in Lucania (for writing Oscan see Sabellic languages) and the Sallentine peninsula (with some modifications, for writing Messapian). Greek cities, of course, continued to write in the Greek alphabet throughout antiquity.An alphabet learnt as such (the theoretical alphabet) may contain more letters than are used in practice. So a number of 7th-century Etruscan abecedaria (written-out alphabets) adhere to the Greek model and include letters such as b, d, or o that are not found in texts: abcdevzhθiklmnsopśqrstuṡφχ.