28 May 2008

Arretium versus German Erz and how this affects (or doesn't affect) Etruscan Aritimi

I found more odd gibberish from the Etruscologist Massimo Pallottino the other day. This time it's a claim of his that the cityname of a Roman city, Arretium, is in some way connected with German Erz 'ore'[1].

This ties in to my ongoing dilemma concerning whether Aritimi in TLE 737 means 'Artemis' or 'in Arretium'. Larissa Bonfante and Erika Simon continue to publish the claim that Aritimi points to 'Artemis' instead[2]. I have to say that I'm really finding that the status quo view that Aritimi and Artume are the same word to be implausible due to phonetic incongruence between the two terms, if not due to contextual issues as well. I've currently come to the conclusion that we have two different words with similar sounds: Aritim 'Arretium' (a Roman city) and Artume 'Artemis', the latter being obviously borrowed from the Greek name Artemis. In another Etruscan inscription[3], a phrase reads An Aritimi meani arasince and appears to me to mean 'She (an) was raised (arasince) in Arretium (Aritimi) in youth (meani)'. There's no way that I can see on the other hand how I might be able to fit the value 'Artemis' in that sentence without it sounding contrived. And thus, these experts have lied to me again! Grrr!!!

What has held me back from splitting these two terms into separate entries so far is the phrase Aritimi-pi Turan-pi of TLE 45 which has been traditionally claimed to mean 'to Artemis and to Turan'. Without a picture available to me, I can't yet prove for myself whether the reading is correct but the letters of the Etruscan text are transcribed this way by the invaluable Helmut Rix in Etruskische Texte (1991). Grammatically, it seems to me that -pi is a postclitic with a locative connotation, much like -θi 'in'. It's elsewhere used with the oblique case form of the first person singular pronoun mi, hence mini-pi (note TLE 12 and TLE 13) which probably means 'by me'. Note however that if the translation of the aforementioned phrase were correct, we'd expect the presence of the conjunctive -c attached to the last member of the pair to convey 'and'. Considering its absence, there's reasonable doubt that the translation may be incorrect. Conversely, nothing stops me from applying the value of 'Arretium' here. The idea of Aritimi-pi Turan-pi meaning 'before Turan in Arretium' makes more grammatical sense to me. Afterall, in this way, we may then pluck out the noun phrase Aritimi Turan, which would be an epithet meaning 'Turan in Arretium' (note TLE 393: Selvanzl Enizpe-tla = 'To Selvans in (the city) Enispe'). From there, the application of a case ending or postclitic to both members of such a noun phrase is perfectly acceptable in Etruscan, as well as in Lemnian (Hulaie-śi Φukiasi-ale 'to Hulaie the Phocaean'). Sufficed to say then, I will be updating my database in the next draft modification in July so hold on tight.

Back to Pallottino's claim, if Aritim can thereby be kosherly translated as the cityname Arretium as some scholars have already previously published[4], then how does Pallottino get from Aritim to German Erz? From what I see, he's just made another crazy claim without linguistic justification. The word Erz has also been attributed to a Proto-Germanic root *arutaz. Even so, if Aritim really meant 'Arretium', it surely is borrowed from Latin Arrētium, and has nothing at all to do with the Germanic terms for 'ore' because the second vowel, *-u- (as in OHG aruzzi), is incongruous with the phonetic reality of both the Latin and Etruscan terms. So these weakly researched comparisons between Indo-European languages and Etruscan simply have to go, I'm afraid. Caveat pensator.

[1] Pallottino, The Etruscans (1975), p.95 (see link): "Such contacts between Germany and Etruria are confirmed by the German word Erz, 'metal', which comes from the name of the Etruscan city of Arrētium, Arezzo, famous for its working on metal.".
[2] Bonfante/Bonfante, The Etruscan Language: An Introduction (2002), p.80 (see link). Erika Simon merely parrots the same in De Grummond/Simon, The religion of the Etruscans (2006), p.46 (see link).
[3] Steinbauer, "Zur Grabinschrif der Larthi Cilnei aus Aritim/Arretium/Arezzo", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 121 (1998), p.263–281 (see pdf).
[4] See for example Steinbauer, "Zur Grabinschrif der Larthi Cilnei aus Aritim/Arretium/Arezzo", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 121 (1998), p.263–281 (see pdf). On the website etruskische.de, Steinbauer's translation is also asserted.

A note about 'Inuit' and 'Eskimo'

There are many racial slurs out there but the term Eskimo, used for the people now referred to as Inuit (as they in fact most often call themselves), is technically not one of them. After reading various posts and letters in online forums on the issue, I can see that the word Eskimo has been blown out of proportion from an innocent exonym to something that people will defend against with fists flying. (I just find it oh-so-ironic when mental zombies who use political correctness to gain attention end up misrepresenting human compassion and facts with this sort of culturally divisive lexical war so let's get this out in the open, shall we?)

The word is not of European origin; we know that much. It has been purported to be derived from an Algonquian word (possibly from the Abnaki language: askimo) meaning 'raw meat eater'[1], although other scholars refute this etymology and offer another alternative involving the Montagnais term aiachkimeou /a:jasʧime:w/ or its Cree counterpart askimew both meaning 'snowshoe-netter'[2] (even though snowshoes were hardly a distinguishing feature of the Inuit in contrast to any other aboriginal peoples of Canada). People will often just assume a priori that the dreaded White Man invented the word but while many European immigrants have done much harm to First Nations peoples over the centuries, the origin of this word is in one way or another squarely Algonquian. This ethnonym dismays a lot of people though and it probably has to do with the mistaken belief that its meaning is somehow in itself insulting. Yet, let's allow ourselves to think about this controversy for a second. Do the Inuit eat raw meat? Why... in fact, they do! So if it's just a simple observation that Inuit happen to eat a lot of raw meat[3], why the insult? Perhaps witiko-psychosis adds something to this perception of derogation (i.e. witiko is the Cree term for 'cannibal' as well as a mythical monster who eats humans as if they were 'raw meat' or askiwiyas). To add to the complication however, not all Eskimo-Aleut speaking peoples find the term Eskimo insulting at all[4].

What have we learned from this? Well, aside from the fact that human beings are worrying too much about political correctness to see the forest for the trees, Eskimo carries no direct racial or cultural insult. However it happens to be insulting for some more because of modern history and cultural politics than anything. Regardless of politics though, the term Eskimo-Aleut remains the term of choice for linguists to refer to the language family with which Inuktitut, Yupik and Aleut are affiliated.

[1] Strong, Captive selves, captivating others: the politics and poetics of colonial American capitivity narratives (1999), p.37 (see link): "The English word Eskimo derives from a pejorative Algonquian term meaning 'raw meat eater,' and Inuit is the preferred term in the Eastern Arctic."
[2] Bastian & Mitchell in Handbook of native american mythology (2004), p.xii (see link) assert that the 'eaters of raw meat' hypothesis is incorrect: "Many Inuit regard the word Eskimo as pejorative, in part because it was long thought, erroneously, to mean literally 'eater of raw meat.'" The etymological controversy is also mentioned by Archie Hobson on page 160 of The Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words (2001) but details why it's not derogatory as commonly believed: "In recent years Eskimo has come to be regarded as offensive because of one of its possible etymologies (Abnaki askimo 'eater of raw meat'), but this descriptive name is accurate since Eskimos traditionally derived their vitamins from eating raw meat." Finally, another alternative etymology is suggested in Hirschfelder/Beamer, Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8 (2000), p.3: "Some linguists argue that the word originated with the Montagnais and actually means 'snowshoe netter.'" To be precise, the Montagnais term was originally used instead for the Micmac, not the Inuit.
[3] Artibise, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Canadian Society: A Guide to the Literature (1990), p.117 (see link): "There are three Eskimo languages, but the only one in use in Canada is Inuktitut, and in that language the word for 'people' is 'Inuit,' a term which became a standard for the Eskimos of Canada after it was selected for the title of their major political organization, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. There is nothing derogatory about using the word 'Eskimo,' and it is still the conventional term in Alaska."
[4] Bastian/Mitchell, Handbook of native american mythology (2004), p.xii (see link).

22 May 2008

Rethinking the reduplicated perfect in Indo-European

In How old is the reduplicated perfect in Indo-European? I was attempting to get a handle on a reasonable dating of the reduplicated perfect in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) within the context of my grandiose theories on Pre-IE. As a recap, the reduplicated perfect form is demonstrated by the form *bʰe-bʰor-e meaning 'he/she has carried' where we can see that the first sound of the root *bʰer- is repeated and the root is given the vocalism *o. which is then followed by the personal ending *-e for the third person singular. Additionally, the perfect forms have a completely different set of personal endings from the present forms. So, we need to figure out how this might have come about. I previously suggested that i-reduplicated presents (e.g. *di-deh₃-ti 'he/she gives') were older than the reduplicated perfects but after meditating on this the whole day yesterday, I believe I've been missing the opportunity for more efficient solution.
So instead, I would like to explore the possibility that it is to the contrary the reduplicated perfect that dates to the Mid IE (MIE) stage before the Syncope rule while i-reduplication seen in the presentive forms is a much later feature of Indo-European conjugation. The reason for my change will become clear as I walk you through the proposed evolution. I already have common examples like the genitive-declined form *pedós 'of the foot' which contrasts with nominative *pōds showing *o/*e ablaut alternation that can be attributed to the change of unsyncopated unaccented MIE *a in the root to early Late IE (eLIE) *e in order to avoid making declension too obscure with overly erratic root vowel deletions in the paradigm of a noun (i.e. the Paradigmatic Resistance exception of Syncope).

Given that, it just makes perfect sense to exploit this preestablished exception (i.e. MIE unaccented *a > *e rather than deletion) to explain the appearance of *e in the reduplication of the perfect. We may then simply reconstruct an MIE pattern *Ca-CáC- as the antecedent to the later so-called reduplicated perfect of the form *Ce-CoC-. in much the same way as MIE *pad̰ása becomes eLIE *ped̰ás and later *pedós. On the other hand, i-reduplication can then be blamed on the schwa found in the middle of the Late IE period which would be a natural vowel to initially use when reduplicating a present form to convey the iteration of an action. Thus, eLIE *Cə-CéC- may serve as a more straight-forward antecedent to later *Ci-CeC- via my already-stated rule "preaccented eLIE > PIE *i".

However, there's still the unresolved controversy concerning what the real function of the reduplicated perfect in PIE itself and its preceding stages was exactly if it were ancient. For this, I feel the need to appeal to the tenseless language I'm most familiar with, Mandarin. I will suggest briefly that perhaps there was originally a simple two-fold distinction between 'non-completed' actions in e-grade and 'completed' actions in a-grade (later o-grade due to Vowel Shift at the end of the Late IE period). This grammatical structure would find a parallel then in Mandarin where completed actions are marked with the particle 了 le placed after the verb as in 我看了 wo kan le 'I looked'. There is also a further marker in Mandarin for the progressive, expressed when 在 zai or 正在 zhengzai is placed before the verb as in the example 我在看 wo zai kan 'I'm watching/reading'. It must be stressed that the completive is not the same thing as past tense since there is the example of (现在)下雨了 (xianzai) xia yu le meaning 'it is raining (now)' (i.e. 'it has finished starting to rain (now)', so to speak) whereby le appears in effect to be marking an inchoative action[1]. Confused? Excellent!

Back to PIE then, perhaps likewise in MIE there was once a "completive" aspect using the form *CaC- together with the *h₂e-set of personal endings distinct from the *mi-set. Then a reduplicated form developed out of this in MIE (*Ca-CáC-) to express an action that was continuative at some point but was thereafter completed. So perhaps a simple form in MIE like *bár-a came to mean "he/she has carried (once)" while *ba-bár-a meant "he/she was carrying (but now he/she is done)" which would oppose the durative past *bér-ata "he/she was carrying (and may still be carrying)." The two meanings between the simple a-grade and the reduplicated a-grade would only be minutely different but the latter form would be barred for inherently stative verbs like *waid̰- 'to know' which could only be used in the form *wáid̰-a meaning "he/she knows" (or possibly with inchoative meaning "he/she came to know") but never with continuative aspect as in **wa-wáid̰-a "he/she was knowing (but now he/she is done)." If you think about it, the reduplicated form could easily lend a resultative nuance if analysed in this way since the reduplication would have originally stressed the non-stative quality of the verb (either "repetitive" in nature as for punctual actions, or "continuative" as for non-momentaneous ones) while the *h₂e-set of personal endings would ensure a completive aspect in contrast to the non-completive *mi-set. In other words, the reduplicated a-grade would both stress an action rather than state as well as its eventual endpoint. Thus a natural rift would grow over time between the inflection of resultative verbs and of stative verbs within the originally united category of completive aspect. Additionally, the reduplicated a-grade might still have avoided crystallizing into a formal perfective as long as non-reduplicated forms of active verbs still had a function within this system.

So could this mean that *bʰor-e continued to mean "he/she has carried (once)" in PIE while *bʰe-bʰor-e meant "he/she was carrying (but now he/she is done)" until the Anatolian branch seperated from the Indo-European core? Does this mean that the simple CoC- construct remained the preferred resultative-stative form until after PIE? Is the mi-class/hi-class division found in Hittite to be understood as a derivative of this aforementioned two-fold system whereby the inherited hi-class verbs are largely either punctual or stative in nature?

[1] Soh/Gao, Perfective Aspect and Transition in Mandarin (2006), University of Minnesota, p.111 (see pdf).

20 May 2008

How old is the reduplicated perfect in Indo-European?

This question has been nagging me lately ever since Phoenix brought up the issue in his latest post Not present heightening after all?. He's been bravely grappling with the topic of Pre-IE, trying to work out where grammatical oddities reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European come from. This requires careful examination of details in one stage of a language to arrive at a plausible earlier stage that can explain better the details in question. This process is known as internal reconstruction. There are a lot of things that still get my noodle tied in a knot myself so it's helpful for brainstorming when someone else asks some pertinent questions in order to resolve issues. The question that Phoenix has got me asking myself is: How old is the reduplicated perfect in Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and from whence does it originate? Reduplication in PIE simply involves repeating the beginning sounds of a verb root as in *bʰebʰore 'she has carried' to convey a special aspect of an action.

Many IEists, like Jay Jasanoff for one, feel that the reduplicated perfect is not really reconstructable for PIE per se but rather that it carried some other function, perhaps a kind of iterative meaning much like its close kin, the reduplicated present (e.g. *di-deh₃-ti 'she gives'). The reduplicated present displays what is often referred to as i-reduplication in order to distinguish it from the e-reduplication seen in the perfect forms. So far, I've been explaining away i-reduplication as a reflex of former schwa in preaccented syllables in early-to-mid Late IE. Simply put, an original would have been 'sandwiched', so to speak, between two consonants resulting over time in the increasing closure of the vowel (aka. increasing rise of the vowel) from generation to generation. A schwa that rises eventually becomes a high-central vowel, /ɨ/, which would be hard to distinguish acoustically from its preexisting fronted counterpart, *i, of known PIE phonology. Hence, I believe that schwa in preaccented syllables eventually merged with *i without much fuss.

I had up to now been explaining e-reduplication in like fashion. I had presumed that both forms of reduplication originally involved a schwa and that perhaps the only original difference between the two reduplications was a matter of syllable boundary. So, perhaps i-reduplication was the result when the schwa was placed in an open syllable while e-reduplication was the result when the schwa was in a closed syllable, or perhaps vice versa. I admit, while clever if I do say so myself, it's a little more ad hoc than I would like. I can't think of a way of proving such a thing.

However, I came to realize that if, for whatever reason, the e-reduplication seen in the eventual perfect forms were not as ancient as the i-reduplicated forms seen in the durative present, then perhaps we could suggest something simpler:
Perhaps while i-reduplication is inherited from Mid IE and has not undergone loss of original-schwa-turned-*i in its reduplication due to an exemption to Syncope grounded in straight-forward phonotactic restraints, reduplication of the *bʰe-bʰor- kind which originally would not have had a perfect function was coined quite late (i.e. during mid Late IE, perhaps concurrent or postdating my Schwa Merger rule when preaccented schwa merged with *i) and was using *e as a reduplication vowel right from the beginning!
In this way, I no longer have to muck around with open and closed syllables or an ad hoc reflex of schwa as *e on top of *i. Instead, preaccented schwa simply becomes *i. End of story. It certainly tidies things up (i.e. Occam's Razor likes it) but I will have to ponder on this some more. Perhaps my readers may be aware of an important detail I've overlooked that negates these possibilities.

16 May 2008

The loss of mediofinal 'h' in Pre-Proto-Etruscan

I recently suggested that the virtual absence of mediofinal "h" in Etruscan is a feature common to both Lemnian and Rhaetic as well but it may not be clear to my readers why I'm insistant on that idea, so let's discuss.

Just to be sure, I looked up in my database what words contain medial h. Of the more than thousand entries I have, I came up with only two results: cehen 'here before' and the name Uhtave. The name Uhtave is clearly of Oscan origin, from Úhtavis, and related to the common Roman name Octāvius. It is squarely an Italic, and hence, un-Etruscan name. The word cehen, while a native word, does not in reality show an archaic medial h afterall because it is transparently a recent compound composed of cei 'here' and *hen 'before' (c.f. hanθe 'in front'). Even if these two lonely items were attributable to a pre-Proto-Etruscan stage though, it would need a clear explanation as to why so few instances of mediofinal h exist in this language.

My attentive readers may have noticed that I've already asserted several times on this blog that -va (a plural inanimate ending) is an allomorph of -χva. The term allomorph is just linguistobabble for a piece of language, such as a suffix, that shows predictable variation in its form in different positions or circumstances. So in this case, we may observe that Etruscan -va always pops up after nouns ending in vowels or in sibilants like s or ś, whereas the Etruscan speakers regularly chose -χva when the preceding noun stem ended in most other consonants. Some may wonder why I'm so sure that they are allomorphs of a single suffix instead of two distinct suffixes, but we can put this skepticism to rest right away.

The evidence for allomorphy in the inanimate plural is clear after examining the pair maχ '5' and muvalχ '50'. Lo and behold, we find the same internal alternation of χ and v and for the same reasons. We know that letter chi is used for the sound // (as in Classical Greek) and the letter vee is used for what is in fact a bilabial approximant /w/ (much like Classical Latin vinum 'wine', also pronounced with initial /w-/). Clearly then there is an original sound, let's label it Q for now, that evolves into both chi and vee in Proto-Etruscan based on environment. Through this sort of internal reconstruction, we may then hypothesize that pre-Proto-Etruscan probably had the following items: *maQ '5', *muQalχ '50', and inanimate plural *-Qva.

All we need to do is figure out what the quality of this original phoneme is and we're home free, right? The answer to the mystery of the paucity of /h/ in mediofinal positions in Etruscan, Lemnian and Rhaetic, quite simply lies in this alternation of chi and vee.

So if we now replace our mystery phoneme *Q with *h, everything is resolved. We can both phonetically explain the origin of the alternation as well as explain the curious disappearance of h in both word-internal and word-final positions. Most likely, medial *-h- which was probably a velar fricative became weakened at some point intervocalically and after sibilants. The only thing that remained was the "backness" of the sound which came to be reinterpreted as /w/ and consistently written with the letter vee once the ancestors of Etruscans, Lemnians and Rhaetic finally adopted their alphabet. In other positions, a velar fricative can easily harden to a velar aspirated stop, hence this would explain the evolution to chi after certain consonants and in word-final position. We may then be so bold as to predict the following for a pre-Proto-Etruscan stage: *mah '5', *muhalχ '50' (probably < *mahálχu), and an inanimate plural marker *-hva.

(May 20 2008) I corrected my confusing flaw that Tropylium has mentioned to me. My hypothesized antecedent form of the Etruscan inanimate plural should be *-Qva (and thus in conclusion *-hva) rather than *-Qa and its result *-ha as I had initially written. Naturally, since this hypothesized *h should only result in either Etruscan chi or vee based on the pair '5' & '50', and since the Etruscan form of this suffix, -(χ)va, usually shows both sounds together, then *-hva would seem to be in order. Although, *-ho might also be a possibility if it can be shown that word-final *-o normally erodes to *-a with residual labialization. Sorry about that. There are a lot of details here.

Etruscan Dictionary Draft 009 now available

Behold, the 9th draft of my Etruscan Dictionary is now upon us:

Exciting, isn't it? Well, okay, maybe I'm the only one excited by my continuous improvements to the dictionary but I'm sure some bookworm out there, perhaps named Johnny, is loving this. This is for you, Johnny. I've made a few notable changes this time around.

The 'inessive' category is trashed
I've eliminated the inessive category and merged it into the locative case. This is because in reality the inessive, indicating 'inside X', is really just an extension of the locative in -e plus the postclitic -θi. This makes it easier on me because there are also other locative forms that use other postclitics such as -tra (cf. The Liber Linteus attests to the form hilχve-tra).

Wandering accent on second syllable abolished
Another big change is that the occasionally marked accent on the second syllable is taken away from my entries now (e.g. tamíia 'temple' is now just cited as tmiia in the entry's header). I'm confident at this point that this wandering accent preceded Proto-Etruscan since other related languages like Lemnian and Rhaetic also show initial clustering in cognate items (e.g. Rhaetic trinaχe and Etruscan trin). This then means that the early syncope that produced these clusters must have occurred in the language ancestral to all three languages. Since my entry headers are meant to represent only Proto-Etruscan, it doesn't seem right to continue avoiding initial clusters in these citation forms.

The rise of the directive case

I think it's safe at this point, after much analysis of my own, to include a directive case marked in -iś. Other scholars have called it other things but it seems to me to have a meaning of 'to' or 'towards'. I've pointed to this curious case form in Liber Linteus and religious formulae, part 1 but I was hesitant until now to incorporate it into the database without further investigation. You'll see it represented in this latest draft however.

15 May 2008

Ignore that last post

There's nothing more irritating than Blogger's pointless lack of safety precautions for the Publish button. Yet again (it's almost inevitable) I accidentally pressed this cursed Publish button and without even a warning window saying "Are you sure???" as a competent web interface would provide, it just automatically publishes your post IMMEDIATELY and it shows up less than a minute later in Google Reader for everyone to see.

Some of you may be confused by my republishing of Draft 8, but I assure you I will be publishing Draft 9 shortly if Blogger's system allows me.

The fact that Blogger still hasn't fixed this obvious flaw is really starting to make me fuming mad. This to me is a glitch important enough to make me want to switch to another blog authoring system like Wordpress. I'm really tired of having to correct these major errors caused by a simple misplaced click of the mouse.

Blogger!!! Get up off your ass and finally correct your mediochre system!!!

11 May 2008

Bonfantes and the 'dative of agent' distraction

The treatment of the Etruscan dative case, ending in -si or in -le depending on the gender of the noun, is a perfect example of why I'm perpetually miffed by Etruscan experts and those that purport to be so without putting in the thought and effort. As far as I'm concerned, while in other fields, there is dare I say somewhat of a practicality to credentialism, the belief that authors on the Etruscan language who happen to have PhDs (not even necessarily in linguistics, mind you) have a sufficient grasp of this subject can easily lead the unquestioning naive down a neverending wild goose chase to intellectual oblivion.

In The Etruscan Language: An Introduction by Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante, first published in 1983 and republished in 2002 with little revision to speak of, the case endings -si and -le are labelled as "dative" on page 83. We see clearly that clenśi is given the value of 'to the son' and clenaraśi is a plural dative form meaning 'to the sons'. Remember this because it doesn't take very long for them to sabotage their authority in the matter.

A mere one page later on page 84, we are introduced to a new terminology, the dative of agent. Despite making an academic distinction between the garden-variety dative and the so-called dative of agent, the distinction is hard to make out since both are purported to use the very same ending. While the dative of agent is translated as 'by', the regular dative continues to be translated as 'to' with ne'er a rational explanation as to how one knows whether one is dealing with one or the other. The absurdity of this can be immediately observed by asking a simple question: "If a form like Titasi occured alone, what would it signify?" Is it 'To Tita' or 'By Tita'? Obviously, if the former, then how do we translate the latter into Etruscan with complete clarity? And if we did have a distinct form for the latter with a special ending, why then wouldn't the same ending be applied for every dative of agent in the first place??

The cruel fact, and the reason why I speak out against credentialism in Etruscan studies, is that there is no reason behind their grammatical flipflopping and inconsistent value-assignment of case endings in Etruscan. It's all smoke and mirrors to describe in two pages what can be described in a mere four words: "We have no clue."

For everyone's information, these dative endings are present in Rhaetic (Schum BZ 3: laśanuale), Lemnian (Lemnos Stele: Hulaieśi Φukiasiale 'to Hulaie the Phocaean') and possibly Eteo-Cypriot as well, all with the value of 'to', never 'by'. The agent of an action is simply not marked by this ending at all. While the Bonfantes fail miserably to provide a single coherent answer as to whether mi titasi cver menaχe refers to 'to Tita' or 'by Tita', sufficed to say that the value of 'to' can be applied here as in all other instances of this case suffix and to suggest otherwise only confuses our proper understanding of Etruscan grammar and the artefacts. It would have been more responsible of the Bonfantes if they had refrained from idle theorizing until they could amass sturdier evidence for their dative of agent, no?

There are many other deceptions here such as the imaginary definite accusative (spureni is in no way a case form of spur) and the misassignment of *spure as a dative when it can only be the standard locative in -e (i.e. *spure = 'before the city'). The expected dative of spur 'city', a type-II noun, is to the contrary *spurale.

9 May 2008

Still here, still pluggin' away

You ain't gettin' rid of me just yet. Just giving a brief heads-up that I'm still alive, however this month is freakin' busy and full of what can only be called "depressing crap". I still intend to get the new draft ready for May 15th unless an atomic bomb finally hits, so stayed tuned and bear with me[1]! I have tonnes of changes made to my Etruscan database during the past two months. Thanks for your patience, readers.

[1] After being teased by a shallow reader about my previous mispelling ("Bare with me"), I'm taking extra care to vanquish my Freudian slips from the public sphere. However, if you would like to "bare with me" too, then that's alright with me, hehehe.