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ETRUSCAN AS A COLONIAL LUWIAN LANGUAGE

 

Fred C. Woudhuizen

 

Etruscan is, with more that 10.000 inscriptions in sum, one of the major languages in the Mediterranean region which still defies a proper understanding, certainly in sofar as texts of some length are concerned. The reason for this fact is that the underlying principles of the Etruscan language, its grammar so to say, up to the present day remain unclear for the lack of a valid and verifiable relationship to a better known language.

In the present book it will be tried to show that the proper key to our understanding of the Etruscan language is formed by its etymo-logical relationship to the Luwian dialects of southwest Asia Minor, viz. Luwian hieroglyphic, Lycian, and Lydian. To this aim, the gram-matical paradigm is meticulously built up from scratch by working from the most elementary inscriptions on portable objects and from graves to the longer texts. In order to keep the risk of haphazard identifications to a minimum, the longer texts in their turn are treated by starting with those providing the most reliable data, namely the bilinguals, and continuing with those which for their repetitive nature offer a highly transparent structure, and so on. On every level, then, the results from our analysis are correlated to the relevant evidence from the given Luwian dialects.

Even though the Luwian parent language provides vital clues for our understanding of Etruscan, it must be realized that as a colonial offshoot in an Italian milieu Etruscan became subject to strong Italic and Celtic substrate influences alongside similarly strong adstrate influences from Greek and Phoenician. Accordingly, Etruscan is not identical to any of the given Luwian dialects of Asia Minor but to be identified as a Luwian dialect sui generis.

 

Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, Sonderheft 128.

2008. 500 pp. & 42 figs. € 88,-. ISBN 978-3-85124-224-9.

 

 

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