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date: 30 November 2020

Etruscan languagelocked

  • Rex E. Wallace

Summary

This article describes the current state of our knowledge of the Etruscan language. The presentation covers language relationships, approaches to interpretation, alphabet and phonology, morphology and syntax, and the lexicon. Illustrative examples of Etruscan inscriptions complement the linguistic description.

Extract

This article describes the current state of our knowledge of the Etruscan language. The presentation covers language relationships, approaches to interpretation, alphabet and phonology, morphology and syntax, and the lexicon. Illustrative examples of Etruscan inscriptions complement the linguistic description.Contemporary views about the Etruscan language vary dramatically. Some scholars regard the language as obscure and mysterious; others believe the longest and most complicated texts can be translated. The truth lies somewhere between these extremes. Our knowledge of the structure of the language is much richer than it was fifty years ago, but large gaps remain in our understanding of the grammar, lexicon, and texts—larger than is the case with other languages of comparable attestation.Access to Etruscan is made more difficult by its genetic isolation, which was already recognized by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant. Rom. 1.30.2). The only languages that have so far been shown to be related to Etruscan—that is, to be descended from a common source (referred to now as Proto-Tyrrhenian)—are (a) .

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