16 May 2008

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.


  1. Hi Glen!

    As for the accentuation/initial clusters, I think there are two possible explanations:

    1) the syncope preceded Proto-Etruscan, just as you suggest, or

    2) the lexical items that show the same initial clusters might turn out to be loans

    Ad 1) I consider this quite plausible, but

    Ad 2) Are you sure those aren't loans, and if so, what evidence do you have?

    Anyway, I subscribe to most of your conclusions (including the *hva > va/Xva hypothesis).

  2. Actually, petusek, it's a little of both 1) and 2). I previously was allowing some entries to have initial clusters because some items are indeed loans (such as Flavie, clearly from Latin Flavius based on flāvus with an Indo-European origin in *bʰel-) while others appear to be exemplars of more native vocabulary (like clan 'son' and mler 'gift'). By having a good chronological reason to do away with a distinction between ancient clusters due to pre-Etruscan syncope and the more modern "loaned" clusters, it helps to make the entries less erratic, I think.

    Perhaps I should start noting the earliest date of coinage of some of these words and names too. I've been tracking the source of these items but not the entry point in time. For example, it would be nice to have a ballpark figure as to when Flavie entered the language. Was it the 7th century BCE? 8th? 9th by chance? Maybe I'm crazy but I'm fascinated by these little details.