Etruscan Language


The language of the Etruscans, like the people themselves, has remained somewhat mysterious and has yet to be fully understood. The alphabet used a western Greek script, but the language has presented difficulties to scholars because it is unrelated to contemporary Indo-European languages and the surviving examples of it are largely limited to very short inscriptions, the majority of which are proper names. Letters, pronunciation, general sentence structure and many proper nouns are generally understood, but the meaning of many more words which can not be inferred from context, loan words in other languages, and appearance in parallel texts, etc. remain the biggest stumbling block to fully deciphering the language. What is clearer from the vast number of surviving inscriptions is that a limited literacy was relatively common, including amongst women, and was widespread over the whole of Etruria.

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