Cyprian Syncope is a sound rule that I noticed on my own several years ago when first pondering on the language origins of Etruscan. Having recognized like many others that Minoan must fall under a Proto-Aegean language family, distinct from Indo-European or Semitic, I then reasoned that Etruscan phonotactics must have been simpler in its more recent past, aligning more with the much-stricter phonotactics of Minoan which only appears to have allowed syllables of a (C)V(C)-shape.
Cleaving Proto-Aegean into two branches, Minoan and Cyprian, I noticed that some Minoan vowels were being deleted in later Cyprian tongues due to some sort of very early stress accent, sometimes creating new word-initial consonant clusters that couldn't have been possible in Minoan. Etruscan, Lemnian and Rhaetic all have word-initial consonant clusters, showing that if they were created from vowel deletion, this must have occurred when they were once a single idiom back around 1000 BCE (ie. when these languages first arrived in Italy). This rule of syncope is unrelated to a later second syncope in Etruscan which has already been widely remarked by past Etruscanists and which took place around 500 BCE. As far as I've read, no Etruscanist has published a word on this first Syncope that I'm exploring openly here, as I have in the past online.
A slight change
This past week, reviewing my research, a new corollary on Cyprian Syncope came to me. Vowel deletion isn't always guaranteed, it seems, and I've been striving to understand why. Certainly I long ago saw this in derivational suffixes of a CV shape, eg. Proto-Aegean *-na [pertinentive] becomes both Minoan and Etruscan -na without vowel deletion. I also noticed later that a word-final structure of -CCV within a word also blocks vowel deletion. Thus the original structure of Proto-Aegean *tʰaura 'bull' (> Greek ταῦρος) is likewise preserved in Etruscan θaura. Recently though, I've been grappling with other notorious wanderworts like 'apple' and 'bee' in Western Europe, seeking Aegean solutions to these riddles, only to find that there is a new implication that some trisyllabic words with initial accent fail to delete the word-final vowel.
Without going into details about reconstructions I haven't yet detailed on this blog, I think I've arrived at a very phonetically plausible revision of the general vowel deletion rule by noting a preceding accent shift in specific cases. Thus:
1. Euphonic Accent Shift: Word-initial *CəCV́- where both consonants (C) are plosives attracts stress to the first syllable: *CəCV́- → *CV́Cə-The reason for the initial accent shift prevents consonant clusters like those perfectly valid in Greek (eg. κτεατίζω 'to gain' or χθών 'earth') from ever forming in Cyprian, thereby explaining why they are completely absent in Etruscan despite having several Greek loans.
2. The Cyprian Syncope Rule: Any vowel in a syllable immediately preceding or following a stressed syllable is deleted.
The following table shows the regular patterns in correspondence I witness that are emerging from the attested and substratal data and will hopefully illustrate how the above rules can explain them: