What Etruscan Sounded Like – and how we know

A wealthy civilization once spread across
Italy, founded ancient cities and may have left us words like “person” and “Rome” and
even the alphabet. The Romans? No, no, not them. I mean an earlier people whose language was
almost lost to us. Almost… but not quite. Let me take you back to Egypt in the mid 1800s. A European traveler has been touring the local
sights, and now he’s shopping for a souvenir. Wandering the streets he chances upon the
perfect bargain: a sarcophagus, with the mummy still wrapped up inside. He hauls it back to Vienna and sets it up
as a creepy showpiece in his home. After his his death, it’s donated to a museum
where something odd is found. The mummy’s bandages are filled with letters. And not a few letters either. A whole book. A puzzling book. It wasn’t Egyptian at all. The ink read like inscriptions from Italy
made by an ancient civilization the Romans called Etrusci or Tusci. Today we still call their homeland Tuscany. And now here was this mummy wrapped in the
longest Etruscan text ever seen. It was precious, but this Linen Book had a
problem. A problem it shared with thousands of other
Etruscan inscriptions: the language looked nothing like any other. Mysterious… but not undeciphered. These letters go from right to left, but flip
them and you’ll see they are basically our letters. See, the popular story goes that the ABCs
spread from the Phoenicians, to Greece, to Italy where Rome inherited them. We’re missing a piece though: it was the Etruscans
who spread the alphabet in Italy. It seems the Greek alphabet they inherited
had too many sounds for them. Etruscans were fine with voiceless p, t, k
but they didn’t need the voiced b, d, g. In an inscription, they even wrote the word
Greek as “Creice”. This is why the Romans, when they borrowed
the alphabet, originally pronounced C as both k and g. Looking at the Greek alphabet, it should’ve
only made the sound “g”. In my video on Latin letter modding, this
is why we met a vexed Roman who added a tail to that C to create our letter G. But Etruscan did make use of sounds that might
be harder for you to distinguish. Get your ears ready: p, t, k versus aspirated
ph, th, kh. Like phersu, mask, a word that lives on right
in the heart of our English vocabulary. Ancient reports tell us that they were also
missing the vowel “o”. Or, linguistically, we’d say that they didn’t
distinguish o from u. If we believe the claim that Rome took its
very name from Etruscan, one interesting example is the word Ruma. So this book was missing letters, but it also
added letters. Like this curious 8-looking symbol, earlier
written /v/ plus /h/. The Romans cut out the H and left us with
F. So this is a /f/. Etruscans also had many letters for s-sounds
but only used two of them at a time, a hint that they distinguished s from sh. But what do these letters mean? The answers lie in an ancient dictionary written
by the last known speaker, Emperor Claudius! Whose work was lost. No dictionaries. No grammars. And find after find after find frustratingly
never uncovered an Etruscan Rosetta Stone. The experts turned to “guessology”: pull words
out of the text and guess. Is this by chance Indo-European? No, clearly Semitic! Wait, it’s like Basque! No, no, Hungarian! Fed up with this circular approach, Etruscologists
took a new path. Don’t pull words out of artifacts; leave them in. Then, like a code without a key, try out combinations. Look at each inscription in its context. Combine different meanings in different contexts until you find meanings that unlock every text. It was brute force, but slowly this “Combinatory
technique” yielded results. We caught glimpses of a language with real
grammar. It had singular and plural nouns: “clan”,
“clenar”, “ais”, “aiser”. There were case endings, like nominative -e
on Creice. Pronouns like mi, mini. And verb tenses: “tur” had a past tense “turuce”. We uncovered a language with dynamic and changing
sounds. Vowels were trending simpler over time. The hero Ajax was once Aivas but later became
Eivas or Evas. The word for the gods, the highest Etruscan
concern, was aiser and later eiser. They used nucleic consonants where we might
expect vowels: lautn. Or maybe faint vowels, like Atlnta. These smashed Etruscan words suggest the language
underwent a big shift. Centuries into its written history, inscriptions
start to drop vowels after the first syllable. The Etruscan name for themselves was once
Rasenna but became Rasna, and in one inscription a Latin word gets chopped down to preśnts. It’s a major clue that Etruscan words started
with a heavy accent on their first syllable: not /ra’senna/ but /’rasenna/. Comparing translations and glosses yielded
even more results. Take quasi-bilinguals, these inscribed Etruscan
artifacts with a Latin or Greek doppelgänger. My favorite are “talking objects”, aristocratic
gifts that speak for themselves: mini muluvanice Laris Velχanas. It’s very quirky, but it’s plausible when
we find out that objects also talk like this in Latin and Greek and Venetic. We were even finding hints of a context for
the language itself, a language so unlike its neighbors. A fascinating stone from the Greek island
of Lemnos features a soldier surrounded by letters and words that really resemble Etruscan. Is this a lost sister language? A dialect? Perhaps Etruscan wasn’t so alone. Did it belong to a larger family of Tyrrhenian
languages? The language of that Linen Book is still mysterious. We don’t know how this text got to Egypt,
but thanks to all this work we can tell it’s a kind of ritual calendar. And sometimes we can follow whole threads
of text: “celi huθiś zaθrumiś flerχva neθunsl śucri θezric”. It’s almost like if you close your eyes I
can take you right back to the days of fluent Etruscan, but ask how to say a simple yes
or no and we’re lost again. Stick around and subscribe for language.

100 thoughts on “What Etruscan Sounded Like – and how we know

  1. Etruski are pellzgo-Illyrians only language official left worldwide is Albanian official language Good luck on research.

  2. “Clan” (for son) is very similar to the Irish “clann” (family). And “tur” (give) in Etruscan is almost identical in sound as “tabhair” (give) in Irish

  3. I wanted to hear a little more what the language may have sounded like, instead of just about its history.

  4. “The Armenians, like the Celts, are now few in number. They belong once to a longer extent of a country where they spread westward from Armenia to Italy under the names of Phrygians, Thracians, Pelasgians, Etruscans and also spread to other locations.” from the Book "The Armenian Origin Of The Etruscans" by Robert Ellis 1891 and new study confirmed it see here "Etruscan origins study reveals migration from Armenian Highlands" https://www.peopleofar.com/2014/09/26/etruscan-origins-study-reveals-migration-from-armenian-highlands/

  5. Who were the Serbs? The most convincing records of who the Serbs were were the Porphyrogenets "SERBIA UNDER THE CONSTANTINE VII. Porfirogenet-IT"
    The Serbs in their mother tongue were called prisoners (δοολοι)., So their shoes were called Serbs (σέρβυλα), while those with those poor shoes were called serbulan ((τζερβουλιάνοι.) And all were prisoners of the Byzantine king of Rome.
    (Срби на језику Ромеја значи робови (δοολοι) ,. па се стога и ропска обућа обично назива сербула (σέρβυλα), to цербулијани (τζερβουλιάνοι.) Они који јевтину и сиромашну обућу носе. Ово име добише Срби, јер постадоше робови цара Ромеја150. (ВИЗАНТИСКИ ИЗВОРИ 3A ИСТОРИЈУ НАРОДА ЈУГОСЛАВИЈЕ, Прпмљено на VII скупу Одељења друштвених наука Српске академије наука од 18 новембра 1958 год TOM II = Константин VII ПорфирогенитСПИС НАРОДИМА O, 29 O ДАЛМАЦИЈИ И СУСЕДНИМ ПЛЕМЕНИМА Page 47-48.)
    "What are the Serbs" ?! "Judging from the historical sources known so far, it can be said that the Serbs with descent" are not Slavs, as they are not native to the Balkans, let alone in Kosovo. Although the world is widely spoken by the world, science in particular does not recognize it. "Due to the origin of a people, whether they are Slavs, the ancestral sciences of history are particularly important: archeology and ceramics and filigree, weapons and burial the Illyrians, the Cyrillic Paleogenesis, the Slavs, the Diplomats (in particular the Latin documents and Greeks, chronology, seregoria, heraldry, genealogy, bibliography, archivism, toponymy, philanthropy, etc. in general, etc.
    "The Serbs actually have Turkish origins. They come from the Turkish-Avar tribe." Around the 7th century, those of many other Turkish tribes crossed the Danube river and settled on the right side of the Smederevo district. They were like all the nomadic Turkish tribes and knights. It is pointed out: "Neither the Serbian name has Slavic origin." He adds: "The Serbs before being established in the Balkans were mercenaries in the service of the Iranian rulers, and as mercenaries they came to the fore. This status of knight knights in the new Balkan environment was also guaranteed by the Byzantine emperors."
    Repeating each time (it is necessary to write the same thing) that the Serbian "nation" was born after the so-called Serbian revolts of the early nineteenth century and according to them: after the first and second Serbian revolt and after the diplomatic activity of Knjazit Milos Obrenovic, the Principality of Serbia was formed in a slightly wider territory than the Turkish Pasha of Belgrade.
    (Првим и Другим српским устанком, као и дипломатском активношћу кнеза Милоша Обреновића створена је Кнежевина Србија, на територији нешто широј од турског Београдског пашалука.)
    According to them, the "Serbian" provinces of the south were still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

    Yes, what were those southern provinces (south of Belgrade pashalluk,)? Obviously all the Albanian lands that guarded the Turkish, who neither wanted nor dared to say the world; That's enough, these lands are Albanians! (The sworn enemy of Turkey has always been the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has been its greatest ally. The two Christian institutions have always been against each other. The Albanians were for the most part Catholic and aware of the clashes of two Orthodox churches with the Catholic one, Athens)
    ("Turkey, on the other hand, did not want the Albanians to remain Catholic because they would remain under the influence of the Vatican which, as we have said, was an enemy of the Empire, while the Orthodox Albanians left them as they were after having assuming the ally of the Orthodox Church the Catholic Albanians forced them to change their religion, the Catholics could not become Orthodox, so the only choice left was Islamism ").

  6. Etruscan to figure out what these words are no need to go any further than the Albanian language . They are the same.

  7. Etruscan “Aiser” means “gods,” which sounds quite similar to Nordic “aesir,” a particular kind of Norse god or goddess. Connection?
    Did Etruscans mix up with Germanic and Northern Europeans?
    I’m genuinely curious, I’m not learned enough to be asking ironically or sarcastically

  8. Well, Things should get suspicious for everyone around the 1,200 BC time period when almost all cities on the Western Hemisphere, Including Egyptian, Greek, Mediterranean and whatever was in Europe collapsed simultaneously leaving a full monopoly in the hands of the Phoenicians. Somehow all of these places were destroyed swiftly by a mysterious "Sea People". And the Phoenician settlements were left unharmed and actually ended up growing into these places that were non-Phoenician to take them over with the help of the "Sea People" of course. It's hard to put everything together. Also, it's said that just 3-400 years ago a massive flood happened and history was rewritten once again. Through the use of Freemasons. Obviously, the people and their shields that control all the banks are the ones benefitting from all of this today. It's hard to get the full story of what's actually going on.

  9. It seems to me that there are also some connections with the modern Irish language from what is shown on the video:

    Etruscan "clan" (son) × Irish "clan" (children)
    Etruscan "tur" (give) × Irish "tabhair" /təwrʲ/ (give)

  10. EtRuski are Slavic even their name said so, ET RUSI, RASENI. This is Russ/ Russian= Это русь (Eto rus')

  11. Rasseni were serbian people. They named italian river Rassina after serbian river Rassina in Serbian state Rashka were Rasseni lived. Their other name was Tracians. Etruscans spoke slavic language similar to sanskrit and serbian. Their name came from different pronunciation of Tracian-Etracian-Etruscan. Latins added e to sound they could not pronunced like Spain-Espana, Slovenia-Eslovenia. Etruscan slavic language is now descifered! Rasseni also settled north europe and named it after themselfs as RASIJA-RUSSIA. How is this still not known???

  12. Ironically many ppl of Slavic descent have very few problems reading Etruscan but few researchers talk about this as it opens more cans of worms in the history of dialects 🏛

  13. Written Arabic drops vowel symbols. But that doesn't mean it drops the actual vowels. A lot of conclusions here are DUBIOUS.

  14. What complicated fuckeries. We should've just stuck with man's natural language. Then our poor children wouldn't have to go through such bullshit at buildings called schools. Babies have 5 natural words they say. When you hear a baby say 'amma' and 'babba' they are saying mother & father. That is the natural language of man. We're the only species on this earth plain that need to 'teach' children language🙄

  15. Aesir is gods in etruscan… Æsir is gods in norse… huuuh…? Can someone explain how they are so similiar? I know they sound a hit different but it seems oddly coincidental.

  16. Lol, this is old Turkic. Look at old Turkic runes. Then thousends years later, Chinese arabic Thai greek italy came. 🇹🇷☝🏼👨🏻🤘🏼🐺

  17. They are Troyans..After mother suck Greeks and other nations betray and atack them..They fleed to couscasia to İtaly..Build early Romans..There is a reason you have a romus- romulus myth..its a damnt ancient Turkic story..was and still Wolfs Holy for Turks..anyway when you dig Etruscan even their horses-cow dna shows they were from minor asia..-Tuskany-Tuscii-Turki-Turchia ? isnt they came to you similar ? Atilla to Fatih Sultan Mehmet what was they aiming center of Rome…ok ok im going back to mongolia :s

  18. This seems similar to the hatchet job Webster did to the English language in America. Dumbed down and substitutions.

  19. the abc spread from finicians we have million of text from phinicians? No nothing. from Greeks yes so idiot and Etruscan have Greek alphabet and Greek Dna from the island of Lemnos

  20. ako umes da procitas ovo onda si naucio ovaj jezik gore..ako nisi onda ces razumeti ovo …eta civsha none

  21. I live in Tarquinia (Tarkna in etruscan) and i'm Proud that my roots are recognise and studied all over the world, anyway, etruscan population Born between north Latium and Tuscany, not only Tuscany

  22. The Etruscans were the Ancient Slavonic People ( etRUScan=RUS)-> the scientists for ages were not able to find out the clue what language was Etruscan One -the language specialists until 20 century were trying to compare Etruscan texts to any other European languages (except Slavonic Ones for most of Western People underestimate Slavonic People,etc) -so after they put the Etruscan to compare with Polish +Russian they at last found solution > still in Italy (south) in Venecia you can find the Slavonic DNA there ,etc.

  23. So much effort has gone into making sure they are NOT seen as the proto Russians they were. Like putting a cute "Et" ahead of the Ruscan.


  25. E Tro(u)s means: it's Tros (the King of Troy) …. E tros ken means They was from Tros comming..
    Tosk is One from Two Albanian Dialekts.

  26. Etruscan is a dialect of Pelasgian languages. Pelasgian illirian are pre-hellenic people. The people of the sea. https://youtu.be/J0c8WzrnaXg

  27. In Italy there were dozens of languages together with Etruscan or (proto) Latin: Celtic , Venetian, Osco/Umbrian (some day the oldest ), Sabine and many others !

  28. Et "Rus" Can… They called themselves "Rasenna"… all this means "Russian". RS and SR stood for original Cauc-Asian Slavic people. Languages were read left to right and right to left so SR and RS were interchangeable when confusion arose. SRb became Serb, Srbija.

    Ras Shamra with the Liturgical poems of all the biblical divine names and stories that made their way into bible are of Slavic origin. Modern male "Jews" genetically are related to Greeks, Albanians and Italians. The women tho thru mitochondrial DNA are related to north eastern European Cauc-Asian women… since "Jewishness" is inherited from the mother traditionally, that means original "Jews" are Slavic Cauc-Asians aka Serbians and Russians of Sarmatian, Scythian tribes.

  29. Romans were not Etruscian . But Etruscian were Turk. Roman Latin alpfabet derive from etruscian alpfabeth. Romans conquered etruscian lands . But they effected from their culture . Maybe you can see familar similarity GOKTURK alfabet wşth etruscian alphfabeth.

  30. The ethrusc or tosks was to living in southern ilirians country start from shkumb river to all Greece today in all northern Greece before was southern ilirans country. And other part of ilirans calling gega ilirans start from shkumb river to finish in border with austrisa in sllovenia .. .. and I think the ethrusc come from iliria peslagia to today italia before 3000 years

  31. @6:48 how about Raska/Rascia/Rascians/Rasens/Serbs? https://goo.gl/maps/QwYyRwbYYhS5sd2N8

    Also letters of the Greek alphabet are not just Greek. Look at Vinca culture and you will find much older language than Greek.

    @3:05 Ruma. I know it's similar to Rome, but here's a place called Ruma even today: https://goo.gl/maps/mHLCxrjy1Vdi6RPN6

    And finally @5:50 Rasenna. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Principality_of_Serbia "also known as Raška (Serbian Cyrillic: Рашка, Latin: Rascia)[a] was a Serbian medieval state that comprised parts of what is today Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and southern Dalmatia"

    I know.. it's too similar and geographically too close. No hard feelings, just sharing some facts.

  32. “Clan” for son is similar to Irish “clann” meaning family (as in children – “clann mhac” and tur meaning give is very similar to Irish “tabhair” (pronounced roughly like “choor”) and also meaning “to give”

  33. I wonder if there is any clue in the word "clan" which is Gaelic means "son" or "sons of". Also the word for "gods" Aiser being like the name for the Norse gods the "Aesir".

  34. etruskan language was decoded by two slavic speakers in 19th century, because, it is old russian language, or old slavic, without knowing slavic russian language, westerners will never decode the writings

  35. Old name for Serbs was Raseni, and name of old Serbian kingdom was Rasia . Check work of 1)Mr.Svetislav Bilbija, Phd. Mr. Pešić (Serbo-Italian Profesor) Phd Mr. Radovan Damjanović.

  36. Etruscans – name given by Romans, derives from Jetruška (Jetruschka), old Slavic word describing prophecy out of animal liver (liver=jetra). Etruscans were famous for practicing prophecy by examining animal liver. They called themselves RASA, Slavic word for race, because they were not originally from Italy (came from Balkans and they were their own race of people) and they distinguished themselves from other Italian tribes. Etruscans were Proto-Slavs.

  37. Etruscans sound like Serbs ,course they were SERBS!!!
    Only Serbian linqvists were able to translate those scripts!!!
    The alfabet(azbuka) is from VINCA CIVILIZATION –Belgrade Serbia!!!!!

  38. Interesting to see a possible connection between "Aiser" for gods in Etruscan and "Aesir" for a particular group of gods in Norse. Or it's a coincidence…

  39. Watched the whole video, and no mention of a man that decoded the Etruscan writing. His name is Svetislav Bilbija. The writing is the Etruscan law on state organization . It is similar to serbian cyrilic -more percisely serbian alphabet – Vincansko pismo. even the words the speaker pronounce made sense to me. For example. Kle or klan menas descendant e.g son( we call it KOLENO or SIN). That word is derived from word Kle or klan. Word klan is still in use in Serbian language. If you are puzzled with what I am saying, feel free to explore Danube civilization and Vincha culture. Old Vincha alphabet…

  40. And YES. Serbs are Rasens. There is a city call Ras in Serbia , name dated back in ancient time. My ancestors are from Ras. Etruskans are Rasens e.g Serbs

  41. “_______ sounded like this” Funny how linguists speak all ancient languages exactly the same…and suspiciously like Game of Thrones.

  42. In the game The Witcher 3, there is a vampire language based on Etruscan. Those vampires live in a place called Toussaint which represents Italy and France.

  43. So this fucking language sounds to Georgians like Georgian, to Finns like Finnic, to Scandinavians as Scandinavian, to Turks as Turkic, to Armenians like Armenian, to Russians as Slavic, and that's just half of comments… so maybe we just fucking found mother tongue of IndoEuropeanUraloAltaicoCaucasian languages.

  44. lol if you think aspirated syllables are too difficult, don't try learning Korean lol. Just kidding, you should give it a try. It's fun
    But also, these aspirations are found in everyday English, most have just never noticed because they've never had a reason to analyze it like a non-native speaker.

  45. 6:43 this text can be translated with albanian language .

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