Raetic language

Raetic language

: "For the modern Romance languages spoken in Switzerland and North-Eastern Italy, see Rhaeto-Romance languages."Infobox Language
states=Ancient Raetia
region=Eastern Alps
extinct=3rd century

Raetic or Rhaetic is a largely obscure language of antiquity, which used to be spoken in the province of Raetia, in the Eastern Alps, to the north and west of Venetic. It is sparsely attested, in inscriptions in various northern developments of the Etruscan alphabet, leaving room for much speculation on its ancestry. For a research history, see Schumacher (1992) and Schumacher (1998) and Morandi (1999) for editions of the inscriptions. All recent authorities have stressed a connection with Etruscan (Rix 1998, Schumacher 1998).

In his "Natural History" (1st century AD), Pliny wrote about Alpine peoples:

Based on this information and Raetian inscriptions it is clear that Raetic is related to Etruscan. Indeed in the usual classification the two are often grouped with Lemnian in the Aegean to form the wider Tyrsenian language family. This is itself usually taken to be an isolate family not demonstrably related to any other known language family - i.e. Raetic is not an Indo-European language.

Raetic became extinct by the 3rd century, after the speakers were assimilated and adopted Latin (in the south) and German (in the north). Many inscriptions are known, but most of them are only fairly repetitive and short, probably mostly votive texts. The name of the Venetic goddess Reitia has commonly been discerned in the Raetic finds, but the two names do not seem to be linked.


* Morandi, Alessandro. (1999). "Il cippo di Castelciès nell’epigrafia retica" (Studia archaeologica, 103). Rome: Bretschneider
* Prosdocimi, Aldo L. (2003-4). 'Sulla formazione dell'alfabeto runico. Promessa di novità documentali forse decisive'. "Archivio per l'Alto Adige" 97-98.427-440
* Rix, Helmut. (1998). "Rätisch und Etruskisch" (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft; Vorträge und kleinere Schriften, 68). Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck.
* Schumacher, Stefan. (1992). "Die rätischen Inschriften. Geschichte und heutiger Stand der Forschung" (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft; Sonderheft, 79). Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, 2nd ed. 2004.
* Schumacher, Stefan. (1998). 'Sprachliche Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen Rätisch und Etruskisch'. "Der Schlern" 72.90-114.

External links

* [http://members.tripod.com/adolfozavaroni/retiche.htm Raetic inscriptions] Adolfo Zavaroni.

See also

* Aegean languages
* Etruscan language
* Etruscan civilization
* Tyrsenian languages

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