6 thoughts on “Etruscan”

  1. On the topic of dead languages, a couple of weeks ago The Journal of Romance Studies published The Language and Writing System of MS408 (Voynich) Explained

    I’d briefly looked at the Voynich Manuscript a year or two ago but, like everyone else, made no headway. Then a researcher taking a fresh look cracks it wide open in two weeks. It turns out we probably could have just read it had we been a little more familiar with proto-Romance, a widespread language that branched into Italian, Romanian, Spanish, and Portuguese, Catalan, Galician, etc, and the cursive writing system in use prior to standardization reforms undertaken after 1420.

    Not only did the researcher learn who it was written for, Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, he suggest that an adviser from Naples probably met the author and the young women shown in the manuscript, who were in a fortress and in need of male attentions because all their men were off fighting somewhere else.

    So it turns out to be an extremely important and rare sample of a widespread language that didn’t leave many surviving records because all the official correspondence was still in done in Latin.

    It’s one of the most interesting papers I’ve read in a while.

        1. I think maybe it’s a mechanical habit, and I sometimes do it with any incorrect closing tag, such as closing a bold with an italic. I also invariably fail to proofread the formatted comment where it’s displayed below the “post comment” button.

          There’s an article at Ars Technica disputing the Voynich breakthrough, calling it garbage, circular reasoning, etc. The article and the commenters are quite adamant.

          So I pulled up a PDF of Voynich and started at the top of page 3, applying both my twenty minutes glancing over the suggested script, and my complete lack of familiarity with Italian, Romanian, Latin, Portuguese, Catalan, and other Romance languages (except Spanish, because I can read a Taco Bell menu).

          My first stab at a translation of the first three lines gave

          Lanaisa apēon naus omēar apeaus eleorta ē
          nosēosa ēlast e()eos emea (e)mo romaus emeia a ēos ēa ana ēaus eoaisna ēmonna eponna epea nart ēolaus n omoēos ar e()eonaus ēornas.

          Or something thereabouts. The () marks a hovering ‘n’-shaped symbol and one other I was unsure of. The long e is a double-e with connected tops.

          Running those through Google translate, Google found existing words in Italian, Romanian, Catalan, Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese corresponding to some of them, but not all, which isn’t surprising because the spelling would likely be far more unknown and archaic than The Canterbury Tales.

          So Google matches were

          hips omit elephant and noseful elastic they mother “it’s mine” to they it wind period ([and the] or Andalus) air ethers

          That certainly rules out any cipher, which would produce gibberish. In fact, it says he’s got to be very close or it wouldn’t be producing words in Romance languages at all, since words from other language groups rarely do that.

  2. What is amazing about the guy is that people who are actual Etruscans have remarked in YouTube comments on how good his accent and pronunciation is.

  3. Grammar was my least favorite part of Latin class. While laboring through declensions I would tell myself, “Keep on ‘truscan.”

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