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LRC Blog

August 25, 2010

Jonathan Slocum

Etruscan is Related to Albanian

N.B. The email exchange below may have been edited, e.g. to remove content not essential to the main point(s) or to standardize English spelling/grammar.

Query

Dear J. S.

I have deciphered some Etruscan inscriptions (...), Thracian inscriptions (...), the Lemnos stele etc., all [assuming an Albanian language connection]. The fact that these languages are decipherable mainly [via] Albanian means that these are [Indo-European] languages.

Would you please ... express your opinion?

Response

I don't want to spend ... days on this, which would be required in order to render a carefully studied opinion, but I'll make a very few notes based on several hours of examination:

  1. you do not understand what boustrophedon means; in particular you use it incorrectly describing inscriptions not written in boustrophedon style -- for example (but not only) the 5th century BC ring unearthed near Ezero;
  2. looking at the Cippus Perusinus text article in Wikipedia, in particular comparing their transcription [as of 8/25/2010] to a magnified inscription image, I see transcription inconsistencies and small errors; looking at your transcription, I see that it is much like Wikipedia's [8/25/2010] version, albeit with global substitutions -- i.e., yours also disagrees [slightly] with the inscription itself, hence any analysis you present without explaining this is necessarily flawed;
  3. your idea that Etruscan is similar to Albanian is not new, but dates to the latter 19th century -- and yet no one has convincingly deciphered Etruscan or proven it to be [Indo-European] despite many claims;
  4. I've read that Albanian vocabulary is estimated to be ca. 20% native and 80% borrowed (incl. from modern Turkish, which is neither Balkan/Aegean/Mediterranean nor IE in origin); thus, when noting similarities between Etruscan & Albanian (Gheg or Tosk), first eliminate any/all non-native Albanian vocabulary -- or, at least, isolate borrowings to Greek alone, which was spoken in the Balkan/Aegean area when Illyrian (or might I say your *Etrusco-Albanian?) was spoken there.

As intriguing as you make your case sound, I cannot conclude based on your evidence & analysis that you are correct [re: Etruscan and Albanian being closely related to Illyrian]. The claim that Albanian is descended from Illyrian is itself unproven. [Credible] work requires... care, consistency, and understanding & correct use of relevant terminology.

J. S.