Re: [tied] was Picenes

From: erobert52@...
Message: 16125
Date: 2002-10-10

In a message dated 06/10/02 11:24:28 GMT Daylight Time,
sciarretta@... writes:

> I am rather lost.
> If Pfiffig said so, it means that he (also) thought that Etruscan had
> aspirated voiceless instead of voiced stops ?
> Because if, according to the usual scenario, Etruscan did not have B,D,G in

> its phonetic system, then either an independent creation of their alphabets

> from the Linear B that did not have signs for B and G (this is another
> question related to the Pelasgian problem), or an early usage of some Greek

> alphabet would have given the same result: no beta, delta, gamma, but signs

> for the aspirated instead. So there would be nothing to explain.

Pfiffig does not actually come down on one side or the other about how
these three sounds were actually pronounced in Etruscan. He explains
that in borrowings from Latin and Phoenician, and in some borrowings
from Greek, voiced sounds in the source language are represented by
letters that might be thought to refer to aspirated voiceless sounds.
This might lead one to believe that these letters in Etruscan are
actually pronounced voiced in actual fact. However, Pfiffig also gives
the other point of view, which states that in many borrowings from
Greek, the Etruscan representation is similar to the Greek, and that
it would therefore not necessarily be valid to make this assumption. I
do not accept this point myself. The reason that so many borrowings
are taken into Etruscan directly from the Greek spelling is that the
Etruscan and Greek alphabets overlap considerably with one another. A
modern analogy might be the Latin alphabets as used in English and
Icelandic respectively. Although each contains symbols that the other
does not have and many letters are pronounced differently, I still
would write the name of the singer Bjork as Bjork, and not as Byork.

> >One may also speculate that Etruscan may originally have
> >possessed glottalic consonants, which can sometimes sound
> >like aspirated pulmonic consonants to the untrained ear, or at
> >least they sound a bit like that in Ingush at any rate. Given that
> >the Umbrian plebeians didn't have glottalics when the Etruscans
> >came to rule over them, I imagine these sounds didn't last long.
> Quite interesting, would you go further with your speculation ?

I am only saying that this is a possibility, and one that keeps being
overlooked in certain Etruscologists who have a fixation with proving
that Etruscan is related to IE. (As is the possibility that it also
once possessed pharyngeal sounds). I certainly think Etruscan had
nasalised vowels which were often not represented in writing (Etr.
acila > Lat. ancilla). I have not explored these other possibilities
in any detail, except to wonder about the /kl/ in <clan> maybe coming
from */k'/.

> >I am going by Diakonoff and Starostin, who are not always
> >reliable, who simply say "Note that also Greek pyrgos 'tower' is
> >like many other Greek substratum words, borrowed from Caucasian".
> ...
> Yes, but maybe the original assertion was only an attempt to fit the
> substratist point of view, according to which there has been this pre-IE
> language covering the Mediterranean prior to Greek, Italic, etc. So
> everything that cannot be explained with the known historical languages,
> are attributed to some exotic people, of which of course there is no
> evidence in the written sources. My view is that there are substrates we
> can trace, but they are also IE: Pelasgian in Southern Greece and the
> Aegean islands, Picene and Liguro-Sicanian in Italy, etc.

I agree with you in respect of the last ones you mention. I do not
believe that the idea of an IE substrate can be supported for Cyprus
and Anatolia, nor do I believe that the only substrates going around
further West could only have been IE. I believe that the key core
vocabulary of Etruscan is inherited from the language of an ethnic
group which may have arisen out of intense language contact, in
Anatolia originally, as a result of the economic and social upheavals
of the Eastern Mediterranean associated with the aftermath of the
eruption of Santorini.

> I just take the notion of Pelasgians that the classical writers had, i.e.,
> a stock of sailors coming from the East and having colonized some regions
> of Italy, mainly Southern Etruria, likely "before the War of Troy".
> ...
> I have tried to trace this stratum in the place names of Southern Etruria
> and maybe it works - it's up to the reader to decide -. The main doubt I
> had is to distinguish between Etruscans/Tyrrhenians and Pelasgians, that
> were often - but not always - confused in the classical sources.

This is still compatible with what I am saying. I don't expect the
Sea Peoples to have been homogeneous.

> I have tried to trace this stratum in the place names of Southern Etruria
> and maybe it works - it's up to the reader to decide -. The main doubt I
> had is to distinguish between Etruscans/Tyrrhenians and Pelasgians, that
> were often - but not always - confused in the classical sources. But my
> current point of view, thanks also to this discussion, is that they were
> clearly distinct and that the Pelasgians preceded the Tyrrhenians of quite
> a while (and the former gave the name to the latter !).
> ...
> As for the Ligurians, I think we shall separate the celtized Ligurians of
> the historical times, from the ones who are responsible of the toponymy of
> the region called Liguria.
> ...
> Let us call this stratum "Sicanian", not to be confused with the
> "Siculian", who was a Western Italic language close to Latin. Now, the
> similarities between the toponymy of Sicily to those of Liguria are known:
> Entella, Eryx, Segesta is a topos in literature.
> ...
> Other place
> names fit in this speculation, you will see them in a next web page of

I refer to Kelto-Ligurians only for convenience, as a reference to the
real people responsible for the inscriptions in this area in historical
times, and not to their ancestors. There are those who detect a non-IE
element or substrate which may be associated with both the Ligurians
and the Sicanians, and the name of the Iberians has been mentioned.
What is your basis for believing the Ligurians and Sicanians to be IE,
and how does one distinguish between Kelto-Ligurian and Ligurian, and
between Sicanian and Siculian? (I agree the latter is close to Latin).