Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Etruscan o

ᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟᛟOn pg. 27 I wrote "Since Etruscan did not have a contrast between /o/ and /u/ they eliminated the sign." This sentence needs some elaboration.  First of all, archaic Etruscan alphabets do retain the letter as a dead letter.  See Wallace 2008:17–18. Second, while it is true that there was no contrast between /o/ and /u/ in Etruscan it now seems pretty clear that the Etruscans did have a way of writing /o/. In addition to the well known case of the bilingual inscription from Pesaro which has the form frontac (Um 1.7, 1st BCE), there is now also a form cnovies in an 5th century BCE inscription for Civita Castellana (CIE II, 1, 5). The inscription reads cnovi{e}ies mi "I am of cnovie". Given its location the inscription is probably recording a Faliscan praenomen—hence the attempt to represent the "exophoneme" /o/—but mi and the genitive ending -es shows the text was Etruscan.  The shape of the o in both these examples is like a vertical fish (see this image of the Pesaro bilingual here.) and this is precisely the shape that o has in the (indirectly) Etruscan-derived Runic alphabet as illustrated above.

See Maras, D. F. 2009. Note in margine al CIE II, 1, 5. Studi etruschi 74:237–47.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Addendum and Corrigenda

To the basic bibliography for Tocharian given on pg. 21 fn. 79 add Malzahn, Melanie. 2010. The Tocharian Verbal System. Leiden: Brill. This book will be an invaluable resource for years to come. It provides an overview and synchronic and diachronic analysis of the categories of the Tocharian verb and a lexicon of the attested Averbo of each Tocharian verbal root. Checking my index against Malzahn I uncovered a few imprecise statements and errors on my part.

On pg. 82 as a cognate of luō I cite the TA present stem lunā- with the gloss 'release' ('send' would have been better). According to Malzahn p. 854 the present stem is not actually attested in TA although it was restored as lun(āmäs) in one fragment by Sieg and Siegling.  The TB present is the Class III form lyewetär, which I should have cited instead.

On pg. 407 as the cognate of Lat. escit I cite a non-existent TB ske.  The 3rd pl. of the copula is indeed skente < *h1s-sk'onto, but the singular is ste which may come from *h1s-sk'e-to. See Pinault 2008:642 for more details.

On pg. 408 fn. 31 I discuss whether Lat. cūdō and TB kaut- 'split' can be reconciled via *kewh2dhe-, but Malzahn prefers to analyze the Tocharian form as a denominative in which case the question is moot.  In the last sentence in that note change the possible proto-form of kaut- from *keh2dh- (a typo) to *keh2udh-.

On pg. 413 fn. 13 following others I compared Lat. lēgī to TB lyāka 'I saw' but see Malzahn p. 838–9 for some of the difficulties involved in that comparison.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Apologies for failure to blog for last three weeks.  I was co-teaching (with Jeremy Rau) a two-week seminar in Greek comparative grammar and Greek dialects.  In the course of preparing for that class I got my first good look at the volume A History of Ancient Greek:  From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity, edited by A.-F. Christidis with the assistance of Maria Arapoloulou and Maria Chriti. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   This book was first published in Greek in 2001 and translated by various hands in 2007.  Overall, the book is similar in conception to the Bakker volume, but more extensive (the first subsection on "the language phenomenon" seems out of place to me).  I have read only a fraction of the work, but some standout chapters are the ones by Claude Brixhe (History of the alphabet: Some guidelines for avoiding oversimplifications) and Julian Mendez Dosuna (on Doric and Aeolic).  Particularly relevant for Latin are the chapters on Greek and Latin contact by Robert Coleman and on evidence for Vulgar Latin from modern Greek dialects by N. Katsanis.