IE and Etruscan

ERobert52 at ERobert52 at
Mon Feb 8 09:34:06 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

JoatSimeon at AOL.COM writes:

> -- it's not the origins of the Etruscans, but the genetic relationships of
> their language.  Last time I looked, there was general agreement among
> linguists that Etruscan is non-Indo-European.  Hell, we can't even read it!

Oh, but we can! There is general agreement on the values of the letters and a
large proportion of the inscriptions can be translated without much difficulty.
The trouble is most of them are run of the mill funerary or votive
inscriptions, so it's not an ideal corpus to work with. We don't have a
complete idea of the grammar and there are a lot of hapax legomena.

No sensible person thinks Etruscan is IE, and most people who say it is are
pretty wacky, like the guy who thinks the Piacenza liver is a Latvian (!)
astronomical calendar. Not that this rules out any more remote relationship, of

The point I was making was that the belief that Etruscan was spoken somewhere
around Greece or western Anatolia prior to 1200BC is not an unreasonable one.
If I remember rightly the original theme of this thread was not about genetic
links but whether Etruscan borrowing from Semitic was possible, and the answer
to that is clearly yes.

Ed. Robertson

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