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Italic languages

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Indo-European
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The Italic subfamily is a member of the Centum branch of the Indo-European language family. Italic has two known branches:

  • Sabellic including:
    • Oscan, was spoken in the south-central region of the Italian peninsula
    • Umbrian (not to be confused with the modern Umbrian dialect of Italian), was spoken in the north-central region
  • Latino-Faliscan including:
    • Faliscan, was spoken in the area around Falerii Veteres (modern Civita Castellana) north of the city of Rome
    • Latin, was spoken in west-central Italy, the Roman conquests eventually spreading it throughout the empire and beyond.

The Italic speakers were not native to Italy, but migrated into the Italian peninsula around 1500 BC, probably from central, or east-central Europe, along the Danube River. Before the Italic arrival, Italy was populated primarily by non-Indo-European groups, such as the Etruscans.

The Italic languages are first attested in writing from Latin inscriptions dating to the 6th or 5th centuries BC. The alphabets used are based on the Old Italic alphabet, which is itself based on the Greek alphabet. The Italic languages themselves show minor influence from the Etruscan and somewhat more from the Ancient Greek languages.

As Rome extended its political dominion over the whole of the Italian peninsula, so too did Latin become dominant over the other Italic languages, which ceased to be spoken perhaps sometime in the 1st century AD. From so-called Vulgar Latin the Romance languages emerged.

The ancient Venetic language, as revealed by inscriptions (including complete sentences) is considered by many linguists to have been very close to the Italic languages and it is sometimes even classed as Italic.

See also

az:İtalik qrupu de:Italische Sprachen he:שפות איטליות ja:イタリック語派 pl:Języki italskie ru:Италийская языковая группа ro:limbile italice vi:Nhm ngn ngữ gốc zh:意大利语族

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