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LINGUIST List 20.620

Fri Feb 27 2009

Diss: Historical Ling/Phonology/Writing Systems: Sirola: 'Two ...'

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        1.    Dorjana Sirola, Two Pre-Roman Alphabets of Northern Italy: Venetic and Raetic

Message 1: Two Pre-Roman Alphabets of Northern Italy: Venetic and Raetic
Date: 27-Feb-2009
From: Dorjana Sirola <dorjana.sirolamail.inet.hr>
Subject: Two Pre-Roman Alphabets of Northern Italy: Venetic and Raetic
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Institution: University of Oxford
Program: Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Dorjana Sirola

Dissertation Title: Two Pre-Roman Alphabets of Northern Italy: Venetic and Raetic

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Writing Systems

Subject Language(s): Raetic (xrr)
                            Venetic (xve)

Dissertation Director:
John H W Penney
Anna Morpurgo Davies

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation, conceived as a pilot study for a project which would
encompass all the Etruscan-derived pre-Roman scripts of northern Italy,
concerns itself with the transmission processes, developments and
adaptations resulting in alphabets of Etruscan origin which were used to
write two languages, Venetic and Raetic, during the first millennium BC,
and with the cross-fertilisation between these local alphabets. Following a
discussion of the relationship between Etruscan orthography and the
phonological system, with special attention given to the problem of the
'aspirate letters,' the main body of the thesis is taken up with detailed
description and analysis of individual signs appearing in Venetic and
Raetic inscriptional evidence, and their relationship to the phonology of
the respective languages. These data are used to analyse the development of
the alphabets from their source(s) in terms of the modifications of the
source writing system that constitute its adaptation for the target
language, and to identify particular strategies employed in adaptation and
the reasons for them. The Venetic alphabets are shown to all ultimately
derive from a single Etruscan source, which is argued to be a southern
Etruscan system, and the differences between local Venetic alphabets to
originate in internal reforms which were caused or supported by reasons of
phonology or graphemics, script economy, and a desire to maintain local
identities. A very tentative reconstruction of the Raetic phonological
system is attempted, based on features of the alphabets that served as
sources for its writing systems. The differences between Raetic alphabets
are argued to originate in different sources and/or different patterns of
adaptation or influence from Venetic and Etruscan; cross-fertilisation
between Raetic alphabets and the persistent influence of different
alphabetic variants of Venetic on them is emphasised.

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