Okay, long story short, it's true what they say: Bad things come in threes. One of the problems lately has been that my internet connection has been for some reason impaired and I will have to get that fixed. The cable gods must be angry. So I'm here now at a library making my next blog entry. Other crap has happened at the same time and maybe some day I'll share that with you all. At any rate, let's get back to the last subject I wrote about: Etruscan phonotactics.
Etruscan phonotactics are intriguing to me because it's the kind of details that never ever show up in current books on the Etruscan language. Most authors seem to be effectively hijacked by an overhyped mystery of Etruscan civilization to be capable of moving forward and coming up with new questions to resolve and explore with the reader. I feel as though the available reading materials are impoverished and I'm starving for something new. So I'm treading new ground here and I realize in hindsight that my definition of these onset clusters isn't complete. None of you piped up to correct me either! This saddens me but nonetheless at least I'm interested in these nagging details and my devil's advocate is fully oiled.
I feel compelled to expose glaring counterexamples to my previous claims such as fler 'offering' and the rather uncommon gentilicium Fnesci which I failed to account for. In these instances, we have a bilabial fricative followed by a resonant. While rarer than word-initial stop+resonant sequences, such clusters appear to be legal formations in Etruscan. Certainly the cluster fn- is so unusual that it emphasizes my point that at some point in a Pre-Etruscan stage, accent must have fell at times on the second syllable and then had succumb to syncope to produce these and other fascinating clusters (i.e. the word tmia 'temple' also comes to mind). So it seems that we need to expand these rules a bit before they're acceptable.
Let's then restate the rule as the following and see whether this sits well on my conscience: Valid word-initial clusters in Etruscan are either of the form FR-, sS- or (s)SR- where F = fricative (/s/, /ɸ/), R = resonant (/m/, /n/, /l/, /r/, /w/) and S = stop (/p/, /t/, /k/, /pʰ/, /tʰ/, /kʰ/). In this way, lexical items like sren, fler and Fnesci are covered by FR-; staile and scuna are covered by sS-; and finally tmia, tnucasi, tleχe, tva, clen, θresu, and streteθ are covered by (s)SR-. Does this sound good? Speak to me people! Share questions.