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Tyrsenian languages

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Tyrsenian (Tyrsenisch, also Tyrrhenian), after the Tyrrhenoi, is a proposed classification by Helmut Rix (1998), who argues for a close relationship of the Etruscan language and the Raetic language, together with the Lemnian language. Rix assumes a date for Proto-Tyrsenian of roughly 1000 BC. Related words between Rhaetic and Etruscan are: Etr. zal, Rhaet. zal, "two"; Etr. -(a)cvil, Rhaet. akvil, "gift"; Etr. zinace, Rhaet. t'inaχe, "he made". Some common morphological suffixes identified by Rix are: Genitive I, -s in both Etruscan and Rhaetic; Genitive II, -a in Rhaetic, -(i)a in Etruscan; or the past passive participle -cu in Etruscan, -ku in Rhaetic.

A larger Aegean family including Eteocretan (Minoan language) and Eteocypriot has been proposed.[citation needed] If these languages could be shown to be related to Etruscan and Rhaetic, they would constitute a pre-Indo-European phylum stretching from the Aegean islands and Crete across mainland Greece and the Italian peninsula to the Alps. In this sense G.M. Facchetti has proposed some possible similarities between the Etruscan language and ancient Lemnian (an Aegean language clearly related with Etruscan), and some Ancient aegean languages: such as Minoan, Eteocretan and Philistean languages. Facchetti proposes and hypothetical linguistic family derived from Minoan in two branched. From Minoan he proposes a Proto-Tyrrhenian from which would have come Etruscan, Lemnian and Rhaetic languages. From another Minoan branch would have come, the Eteocretan and Philistean languages [1]. However, that this is by no means a common view; there are just as serious attempts of linking Eteocretan and Eteocypriot with Semitic, and mainstream scholarship takes no position. Facchetti himself claims that it is only an hypothesis.

A relation with the Anatolian languages within Indo-European has been proposed (Steinbauer 1999[2]; Palmer 1965), but is not generally accepted (although Leonard R. Palmer did show that some Linear A inscriptions were sensible as a variant of Luwian). If these languages are an early Indo-European stratum rather than pre-Indo-European, they would be associated with Krahe's Old European hydronymy and would date back to a "Kurganization" during the early Bronze Age.

The language group would have died out around the 3rd century BC in the Aegean (by assimilation of the speakers to Greek), and around the 1st century AD in Italy (by assimilation to Latin).


  1. Facchetti 2001 and 2002,especially p. 136.
  2. Steinbauer tries to related both, Etruscan and Rhaetic with Anatolian
  • Giulio . Facchetti, "Qualche osservazione sulla lingua lingua minoica", Kadmos 40, pp. 1-38.
  • Giulio M. Facchetti, "Appendice sulla questione della affinità genetiche dell'Etrusco", in 'Appunti di morfologia etrusca pp. 111- 150, Leo S. Olschki Editore, 2002. ISBN 8822251385.
  • L R Palmer, Mycenaeans and Minoans, Second ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1965.
  • Helmut Rix, Rätisch und Etruskisch, Innsbruck 1998.
  • Dieter H. Steinbauer, Neues Handbuch des Etruskischen, St. Katharinen 1999.

See alsoEdit

ca:Llengües tirsèniques

de:Tyrsenische Sprachen es:Lenguas tirsénicas it:Lingue tirseniche nl:Tyrreense talen no:Tyrsenske språk pl:Języki tyrreńskie ru:Тирренские языки

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