David L. White dlwhite at
Thu Mar 29 17:52:30 UTC 2001

> In your earlier posting, you must have intended "Apennine" instead of
> "Pennine".

        Yes, sadly.

>  I don't know whether the modern aspiration goes all the way back
> to Pelasgian substrate (to whose influence I have tentatively ascribed
> <Thouskoi>), but I doubt it. I am inclined to regard the modern aspiration
> as a post-ancient result of heavy recessive stress-accent in these dialects,
> itself the legacy of Etruscan substrate or adstrate.

        Maybe, but if it occurs in the same area, then it could well be a
constant, so to speak.

>> But I could have sworn I saw "Thoursk-" cited (as Umbrian) at one
>> point.  What is this?

> It's nothing _I_ cited; the Umbrian example is <Turskum numem> 'the Etruscan
> nation' = Lat. <Tuscum nomen>. I won't point fingers, but _someone_ appears
> to have conflated Umbr. Tursk- with Late Gk. Thousk-.

        Well, if you won't point fingers (or will you?) I will:  must have
been me.

>> I would say _originally_ a small elite.  People can easily shift
>> their ethnic identity.  The genetic evidence shows that this clearly
>> happened in Turkey, where people who now think of themselves as Turks had
>> ancestors who thought of themseves as Greeks (who in turn probably had
>> ancestors who thought of themselves as Phrygians, etc... )  I note that
>> class divisions in Etruscan society seem to have been unusually rigid,
>> with no true middle class.  This might be because class divisions went back
>> to earlier ethnic divisions re-analyzed, there being great efforts to keep
>> the conquered in their place by erecting uncrossable class barriers.
>> Otherwise the failure of Etruscan society to develop a middle class
>> comparable to what existed among the Greeks and Romans is somewhat strange.

> Onomastic evidence indicates that class-barriers could be overcome.  "Lethe"
> was a name sometimes bestowed on freedmen, and there are examples (such as
> the famous Larth Felsnas of Tarquinii) showing that sons of "Lethe" were
> considered free citizens with their own "nomina gentilicia". Furthermore,
> the very common occurrence of Etruscanized Italic gentilicia and cognomina,
> ranging from Early Archaic (7th cent.) up to Late Etruscan (1st cent.) shows
> that ethnic background was no bar to acquiring wealth and status.

> There had to be a considerable middle class in Etruria. You can't expect
> slaves or serfs to function as the artisans, merchants, and clerks required
> by this type of society.

        It is fairly normal for slaves to be artisans, and clerks.

>To our knowledge, the Etruscan middle class never
> acquired the political clout of its counterparts in Athens or Rome, but that
> is not strange. It takes centuries of experimentation with riots,
> assassinations, banishment of plutocrats, plebeian secessions, and the like
> for any middle class to achieve significant political power, and to forge
> the uneasy power-sharing arrangement with the upper class that some of us
> take for granted. As you know, once Rome became powerful, its leaders did
> whatever they could to maintain the upper-class political monopoly in the
> Etruscan city-states, squelching whatever experimentation was taking place.

        I think there was a difference (in development of a middle class),
and that the explanation I have suggested works.

> Now if memory serves, Archaic
> Corinthian preserves <hw> (i.e. heth + waw) for earlier */sw/, so I'm not
> about to disagree with your general treatment of lengthening. I just don't
> like the necessity of invoking foreignness in order to evade one
> sound-change, then insisting on "naturalization" in order to obey subsequent
> changes.

        Well, the word can hardly have been part of the IE inheritance, so
"invoking foreignness" would seem to be not much of an issue.  The question
then becomes what would happen to a somewhat anomalous (or even unique) /sy/
as /sw/ was lost.  If the development was parallel, then compensatory
lengthening would occur.

> Different-sounding _quality_ wouldn't surprise me. Different-sounding
> _quantity_ would surprise me a lot. We're talking about languages in which
> long and short vowels were distinct.

        Yes, but long vowels are often no more than 50% longer than
corresponding shorts, and in languages that do not have any such
distinction, vowels that are short (in the sense of being mono-moraic, as
far as we can tell) can be long enough to qualify as long by the standards
of some languages.  (I am thinking of English /ae/.)
        At some point when the older generation of Latin speakers was
speaking a language where, in their minds, short and long vowels were
distinct, the younger generation coming up managed (in much of the Empire)
to hear long mids and short highs as the same, indicating that they must
have sounded much the same.  (I recently came across the same phenomenon in
Gothic, though I forget the example.  I suppose I can dig it up if
challenged.)  If the same sort of thing was characteristic at one point
(which as I have repeatedly noted must have been before the development of
the new longs written "ou" and "ei"), then there could have been some
disagreement about what a foreign sound qualified as:  long /o/ or short
/u/.  A sound intermediate between /o/ and /u/, which Etruscan is likely to
have had, would be especially likely to provoke that sort of difference of
        To place this all back in its original rhetorical context, the
original allegation, which I am attempting to refute, was more or less "in
Greek the vowel was originally long, so it cannot be from an (Anatolian)
Etruscan simple, i.e. short, vowel."  The two possibilities I have suggested
are meant to show two (entirely independent) ways that it could have been
from Etruscan.  Either the lengthening could have been a later development
from the elimination of /sy/ in parallel with /sw/, or Etruscan /o-u/ could
have fallen within the range of Greek long /o/ for some speakers at some

Dr. David L. White

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