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Illyrian languages

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The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in pre-Roman times. Around 230 BC the speakers of these languages were romanized (in some cases completely, as in the case of Dalmatian speakers).

From the 7th century onwards, the surviving Illyrian languages began to lose ground to other languages spoken in the area, largely Slavic languages in the rural areas and the languages descended from vernacular Latin such as Dalmatian and Venetian in the urban areas.

Today, the main source of authoritative information about the Illyrian languages consists of a few cited words and numerous examples of proper names, toponyms, and hydronyms. Since so little is known about these languages, when linguists encounter what they consider to be anomalies in their data, they humorously blame them on "Illyrian influences".

Messapian, an extinct language of South-eastern Italy, is believed by most scholars to be a dialect of Illyrian, based on: the proper names found on the tomb inscriptions; the strong similarities between the material culture of the Messapians and that of the Illyrians. There are also classical references which state explicitly that the Messapians migrated by sea to Southern Italy, having originally come from Illyria. Some scholars decline to identify Messapian specifically as an Illyrian language; yet most scholars consider that the languages were closely related.

Illyrian may also have been related to the Venetic language once spoken in Northeastern Italy, though the theory that Illyrian and Venetic were closely related is no longer favored by current scholarship.

Some linguists believe the modern Albanian language to be the survival of an Illyrian language, yet this is controversial. The majority of scholars and linguists consider Illyrian to have been a centum language, while Albanian is satem. The identification of Illyrian as centum is not unanimously accepted; objections being raised by those linguists who attempt to link Albanian with Illyrian. In general, Illyrian words from ancient sources suggest that Albanian and Illyrian are on different branches of the Indo-European language-tree, though there are some possible correspondences between Illyrian and Albanian.

Some examples of Illyrian names are Epicadus, Bato, Gentius, Temus, Pinnes/Pinnius, Monounios, Grabus, Epidius, Verzo, Zanatis.

See also

External link

az:Paleobalkan qrupu de:Illyrische Sprache nl:Illyrisch pl:Język iliryjski ro:Limbile ilirice

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