Etruscan Language - Word Formation - Nouns


Etruscan substantives had five cases, a singular and a plural. Not all five cases are attested for every word. Nouns merge the nominative and accusative; pronouns do not generally merge these. Gender appears in personal names (masculine and feminine) and in pronouns (animate, or either masculine and feminine, and inanimate or neuter); otherwise, it is not marked.

Unlike the Indo-European languages, Etruscan noun endings were more agglutinative, with some nouns bearing two or three agglutinated suffixes. For example, where Latin would have distinct nominative plural and dative plural endings, Etruscan would suffix the case ending to a plural marker: Latin nominative singular fili-us, "son", plural fili-i, dative plural fili-is, but Etruscan clan, clen-ar and clen-ar-aśi. Moreover, Etruscan nouns could bear multiple suffixes from the case paradigm alone: that is, Etruscan exhibited Suffixaufnahme. Pallottino calls this phenomenon "morphological redetermination", which he defines as "the typical tendency ... to redetermine the syntactical function of the form by the superposition of suffices." His example is Uni-al-θi, "in the sanctuary of Juno", where -al is a genitive ending and -θi a locative.

Steinbauer says of Etruscan that "there can be more than one marker ... to design a case, and ... the same marker can occur for more than one case."

Nominative/accusative case:
No distinction is made between nominative and accusative of nouns. Common nouns use the unmarked root. Names of males may end in -e: Hercle (Hercules), Achle (Achilles), Tite (Titus); of females, in -i, -a or -u: Uni (Juno), Menrva (Minerva), Zipu. Names of gods may end in -s: Fufluns, Tins; or they may be the unmarked stem ending in a vowel or consonant: Aplu (Apollo), Paχa (Bacchus), Turan.

Genitive case:
Pallottino defines two declensions based on whether the genitive ends in -s/-ś or -l. In the -s group are most noun stems ending in a vowel or a consonant: fler/fler-ś, ramtha/ramtha-ś. In the second are names of females ending in i and names of males that end s, th or n: ati/ati-al, Laris/Laris-al, Arnθ/Arnθ-al. After l or r -us instead of -s appears: Vel/Vel-us. Otherwise a vowel might be placed before the ending: Arnθ-al instead of Arnθ-l.

There is a patronymic ending: -sa or -isa, "son of", but the ordinary genitive might serve that purpose. In the genitive case morphological redetermination becomes elaborate. Given two male names, Vel and Avle, Vel Avleś means "Vel son of Avle." This expression in the genitive become Vel-uś Avles-la. Pallottino's example of a three-suffix form is Arnth-al-iśa-la.

Dative case:
The dative ending is -si:Tita/Tita-si.

Locative case:
The locative ending is -θi: Tarχna/Tarχna-l-θi.

Plural number:
In one case, a plural is given for clan, "son", as clenar, "sons". This shows both umlaut and an ending -ar. Plurals for cases other than nominative are made by agglutinating the case ending on clenar.

Read more about this topic:  Etruscan Language, Word Formation

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