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ETRUSCAN, A DRAVIDIAN TONGUE? (I)
(DIGITADO POR MOISÉS / NOVEMBRO DE 1999 / FELIX QUI POTUIT RERUM COGNOSCERE CAUSAS)

by Arysio Nunes dos Santos
arysio@horizontes.net
 

 
Introduction
On Odds and Probabilities
First Estimate of the A Priori Probability
Second Estimate of the A Priori Probability
Methodology
Identification
Publication Strategy
Grammatical Correspondences
Theonyms and Related Issues
Etruscan Etymologies and Similar Problems
Dravidian Etymologies and Word Formation
Onomastics and Controversial Entries
On Notation and Alphabetical Transcriptions
ETRUSCAN – DRAVIDIAN GLOSSARY
References
List of Abbreviations
 

Introduction

We have, some years ago, made the remarkable discovery – which we now prove in full detail – that Etruscan, the ancestral tongue of the ancient Romans, is indeed a member of the Dravidian family of languages. The importance of this discovery cannot be overstated, as it radically alters all that is known of human prehistory. Among other things, it shows that the mobility of early man was far larger than allowed by the conventional academic doctrines of historiography and archaeology.

Secondly, the present discovery demonstrates the great importance that coy India had in civilizing the other nations, not only in the Far East, but also in the Mediterranean region, the so-called Old World. Dravida, even today one of India’s main tongues, is also closely related to the Austronesian languages, spoken all over the South Seas, from Madagascar in the West to Easter Island in the East. So, in a very literal way, we can say that Dravida – the name given the family – is indeed a global tongue that well deserves the name of Proto-World, the tongue formerly spoken in the primordial center where humanity first evolved, before its great diaspora.

We well realize that this claim of ours may be seem vaunted to the persons attached to the traditional paradigm. But we are prepared to back it up with fact, both anthropological and linguistic which we have been collecting over our twenty years or so of research on the matter. It is in the attempt to prove our case that we now publish these preliminary results.

Our hope is that of attracting the attention of the linguistic community in general and of the Etruscologists in particular in pursuing our present discovery which, if materialized, opens new vistas to Etruscology and indeed to Archaeology and History in general. More than that, we seek to obtain the collaboration of professional individuals, groups or institutions for the advancement and perfecting of our remarkable discovery, which was made by means of a series of serendipitous coincidences which cannot be told here.

Our objective is also that of inviting debate and inquiry, above all of the scientific community, for only through constructive criticism can our preliminary results be improved, perfected, and rendered compelling to all and everyone engaged in Etruscological research and in Archaeology. We lack both the talent and the resources to complete that task that has baffled all experts thus far. And they are many, and highly qualified, most of them.

But, even though admittedly preliminary and incomplete, our results suffice to demonstrate conclusively the reality of intimate contacts in prehistoric times – possibly in shady Troy itself, as Virgil held – between the Etruscans and the Dravidian people now settled in India. This fact is here demonstrated mathematically, by means of Probability Theory, in the following pages. We simplified the computation to the extreme, in order to render its mathematical details accessible to all. But they are rigorous, though conservative, and the odds in favor of our thesis are so overwhelming that we are sure they will convince all and everyone. Those unfamiliar with the Calculus of Probabilities are advised to check the validity of our computations and their meaning with experts on the matter, in case they doubt our results.

Of course, we have a myriad other arguments both linguistic and otherwise that confirm the reality of our present discovery, which is far more than just another scientific theory. These details will be disclosed on demand to professionals interested in a possible collaboration or, when possible, in the open arena of this forum kindly opened to us by Mr. Cyril Babaev.

Only a few of these results are presented here, in the pages of the present monography. As we just said, the work published here is preliminary, being a mere sample of the vast mass of material that we collected during our research on the matter. Besides, we leave out of the present document our results on Etruscan Religion and Mythology, and our research on the etymological meanings of their onomastics, which are even more fascinating and, in our view, more compelling even than the present demonstration that the Etruscan language is a member of the Dravidian family of tongues.

We are sure that our work will fail to convince some of the more diehard specialists, particularly those used to rigid academic canons. But many professionals now realize that, in order to advance further, Etruscology has to become a multi-disciplinary task. And for that purpose, we have all to lower our guard and relax our rigid standards for profitable, constructive intercourse to become possible at all levels.

As a professional scientist ourselves, we are well aware of the fact that scientific theories are only provisory working hypotheses. Like ordinary dresses, theories are most attractive when new, and soon become old-fashioned. They are fast superseded by newer, more up-to-date versions and reconstructions. In this way, Truth is approximated more and more as some sort of unattainable limit. Every little contribution, even if ultimately rejected, helps in this endless pursuit that is indeed the stimulus for the work of all of us, professionals and amateurs like.

But the amateurs lack the authority and the savoir faire, which is indeed the help we seek with this advance publication, having reached the limits of both our competence and our resources. The amateurs’ greatest advantage lies in a greater liberty in framing hypotheses without having to put their careers and their reputation at stake. But this advantage is soon lost when the professionals take over and set out to work on the problem with far more technical resources and competence. Eventually, the novel, seemingly absurd proposals, expunged of their errors and natural exaggerations, become everyday Science and soon turn out to be the novel paradigm, the one for the next century.

All we ask is that this our theory be given a fair chance, at least as simply a working hypothesis to be tested unbiasedly, on its intrinsic methods, rather than in comparison with other more traditional preferred hypotheses. As we said in our Preface, new theories, when first proposed, invariably seem somewhat ridiculous, if not preposterous. In time, people get used to the novel ideas, the theory is perfected and expunged of its imperfections and inconsistencies, and fast becomes the new textbook academic standard.

Such was the case with Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, not to mention Heliocentrism and Gravitation, which were deemed absurd and were held to violate even ordinary commonsense by most, if not all scientists of the time. But commonsense is very often merely the result of our own biases and indoctrinations, particularly those learnt in infancy, that get indelibly imprinted in our minds. The new generations, educated under the new light, take for granted and as natural the new doctrines that we, their elders, so staunchly resisted. And so, eventually it becomes the new paradigm, the new doctrine accepted by all.

We decided to publish these notes despite their incompleteness and inadequacy in order not to delay the disclosure of our discovery any further. This publication will be done piecemeal, here in this forum, where we hope to earn the attention and the welcome critique of both the public and the professionals, either in public or by private mail. And the Internet seems to be the ideal vehicle for that type of revolutionary disclosure, as it is fast, open, universal and uncensored, at least that anyone notices.

Some etymologies are presented in detail, particularly when they are difficult or are of great importance, as is for instance the case with calendrical matters, so important in the ancient world conception. But a substantial portion etymologies are presented only in a very schematic way, both on the Etruscan side and in the Dravidian one. But we have for most of them, far more complete glossaries, which we will be publishing as opportunity and demand arises. Most of them are self-evident, and dispense both Proto-Dravidian reconstructions and diachronic derivations, which we generally avoided.

Several laws of phonetic change were by us recognized when passing from one language to the other. They are usually self-evident and are not discussed in this preliminary work, except occasionally, for we are avoiding the more controversial issues. We kept, in separate documents, the discussion of onomastics such as toponyms, anthroponyms, theonyms, for they usually require a lengthy discussion. Likewise, we also skipped the more difficult phonetical and grammatical issues, and simply omitted the difficult problem of connectives, flexives, locatives, and others such, confining our attention to the basic roots themselves.

We also relinquished, in the present document, all attempts to indicate the modificatives like macrons, palatizations, cerebralizations and others which abound in Dravida and Sanskrit, and to some extent, in other languages as well. We also skipped all special characters and symbols, transcribing them to ordinary Roman letters, as best we could. These special symbols are impossible to implement in HTML and the ordinary computers, and only result in garbage when passing from one computer or computer language to another, particularly on the Internet and in countries adopting different standards than the usual one. We only marked them when they are essential for the comprehension of certain transitions.

The specialists will have no problem in providing these specialties by themselves, and the amateurs will only thank us for skipping symbols they are utterly incapable of reading correctly. In this way, we hope to have rendered this work accessible to the general public to whom it is ultimately intended, anyway. But we also expect to be publishing more erudite articles in the specialized journals, hopefully with the collaboration of the specialists that may be willing to collaborate with us in specific issues, or who volunteer to do a more professional rendering of the symbols and special characters.

On Odds and Probabilities

Though we are the first to recognize the fact that the chances are apparently against our theory, the mathematical odds that it may be wrong are utterly small, as we now demonstrate. In our quality as a professional scientist we are well acquainted with the Calculus of Probabilities, a discipline that we use in our daily work. So, we beg the specialists indulgence for this excursus into the realm of probabilities.

Since we humans can never reach absolute certainty, we have to content ourselves with odds and probabilities. Probabilities are the best, if not the only way we have to assess how close we are to the always unattainable Truth. They have the advantage of being verifiable by experts, and can easily being refuted in case the computations are invalid for some reason. Those unfamiliar with the science can easily obtain the help of specialists such as mathematicians and physicists, particularly since we made them so easy that even college kids can check our results for their accuracy and pertinence.

So, we hope this excursion profits not only the lay readers, but also the professional linguists, who are usually unacquainted with the mathematical implications of the human discipline they practice. We believe that this type of calculation was never performed before in the realm of Linguistics, despite its enormous practical importance.

The same expectation of ours holds in what concerns the actual linguistic evidence that we present further below. At least, our results have the practical importance of showing that Linguistics is a far more exact science than usually recognized by the laypersons. The linguists well know this fact, which is now mathematically demonstrated for the satisfaction of other specialists, inclusive of the so-called Exact Sciences.

As we were saying, the Calculus of Probabilities is essential for the estimation of whether we are right or not. And the odds – Fortuna, as some would say – are overwhelmingly in our favor in this case, as we show next. So, from now on, the linguists and the other researchers as well, will have a reliable tool to assay the odds in favor or against our proposal before they pronounce their final veredictum on the matter. It is seldom the case that these odds can be estimated as reliably as seems to be the case here.

We perform this calculation in two independent ways that are easy to follow even by non-mathematicians. As we shall see, next, both results concur rather closely, demonstrating the soundness of our computation. And this, as we said above, in our opinion brings the science of Linguistics to within the realm of the scientific disciplines which can be deemed “exact”, in the sense of the great amount of certainty it affords with its demonstrations, which cannot be questioned in any reasonable way, particularly by non-specialists.

This type of “certainty” is not available for the other anthropological disciplines, where odds and probabilities are far more difficult to assay, and are usually no more than “educated guesses”. Who can, for instance, assay the odds that a given specific religious symbol or artistic motif arose independently in two different locations or was the result of a mere coincidence or, as Jung and Eliade would argue, as the result of the Collective Unconscious? But this elusive concept cannot be invoked in Linguistics, where tongues are visibly as different from each other as is humanly possible.

First Estimate of the A Priori Probability

Consider that there are about ten different ways in which a different phoneme can be distinguished when passing from one language to another inside or outside the family.
Note:
We use the number tem because it is convenient for calculations. The actual number is actually far larger, so that the results we get are indeed rather conservative. Phonemes are the elementary sounds (vowels or consonants) of oral speech. They are the least significant phonetic units of a given tongue or family of tongues which can be clearly discerned. Roughly, they correspond to the “letters” of the alphabet and, more exactly, to those of the phonetic alphabet that apply in common to the languages in question.
A phoneme is composed of phones (“sounds”), that is, the individual speech sounds that are represented by a single symbol (“letter”). For instance, consider the sound r in words such as “bring”, “red”, “round”, “error”, etc... They are the same phoneme, and the slight voice differences are due to the interference of the adjacent sounds (phonemes). These slightly different variant forms are called allophones. Allophones are considered mere variants of a single phoneme even though they may sound slightly different from each other.

The a priori probability for a random coincidence is, hence, equal to 1/10. So, for the typical four letter word, the probability that the two words match when passing from one language to the other is about (1/10)4 = 10-4. In other words, the odds for such a coincidence is about 1 in 10,000 words. A language such as English may have up to a million or more individual words. But these usually derive from a few thousand basic roots which compose with the other ones in order to form longer words of a more complex nature.

For instance, take the word “metronome”. It was coined from the Greek roots metron (“measure”) and nomos (“law”, “mode”, “norm”), and means “to measure the norm” (i. e., time or compass in music). But is it a rare case that things are so clear-cut in practice. Take the word “mathematics” as an example. There are two schools of thought on its etymology. The majority of linguists derive it, as did the Greeks, from a Greek base mathemat-, stem of mathema, meaning “that which is learnt”. This in turn is connected with the IE root men- (to think”, related to the Latin mens, the Sanskrit manas, the Greek menos, the English “mind”, and so on.

Another school attempts to go further, and derives the word from two different roots math- (or manth-) derived as above and another one, mat- related to the idea of “measure”, and derived from the IE root med-, as in the English “mete”, the Greek medomai, metron, the Latin modus, etc.. In their view, the word “mathematics” would then mean “the science of measures”, rather than simply: “the science”.

Controversy on the matter will probably rage forever, as the issue is unclear and difficult to settle in practice. Ultimately, the decision lies, as usual, with the expert linguists who, alone of all people, are qualified to ponder all facts and make an educated guesses.

In practice, an individual root, a basic etymological unit, varies considerably both in phonetic form and even in meaning when we pass from one tongue to another or, within a single language, from a given epoch to another (synchronic and diachronic changes). So, it takes a great expertise and familiarity with the different tongues of a family before one becomes able to make educated guesses about affinities and variability of the individual etymological bases.

Such is particularly the case with polysemic languages such as Dravida and Sanskrit, quite often unfamiliar to many western scholars. Sanskrit is better known, above all in its affinities with the IE languages, actually the seminal discovery that led to the rise of the modern science of Linguistics. We are sure that another similar door is being opened by the present discovery that Dravida has had a similar impact not only upon Sanskrit itself, but over the other IE languages and, above all, on certain non-IE tongues of the Pelasgian nations such as the Etruscans and possibly other nations as well.

Returning to the mathematical aspects of the problem. We saw above that the a priori probability that a typical four letter word phonetically coincides with another one of a different language is about 10-4 or less. That number is only 0.001 or, in terms of odds, 1 in 10,000. Probabilities compound according to Bayes’ Law, which states that the probability of compound events is the product of the individual probabilities.

So, the probability of two matches is 10-4 x 10-4 = 10-8, and so on. For 100 matches the compound probability is 10-400 and for 1000 matches, 10-4000. Of course, this precludes problems such as borrowings or cultural contact. But these can be essentially precluded here, as it is unlikely that the Etruscans would have borrowed from the distant, secluded Dravidas of South India in historical or proto-historical times.

The intimate contact required for extensive borrowing can hence only have occurred, if it is invoked, in remote prehistoric times. And this hypothesis would not solve the problem, for it amounts exactly to what we aim to prove here: a Dravidian influence. Since we must rule out – or fully explain if invoked – all sorts of contacts between Etruscans and Dravidas, the only alternative is to attribute to chance each and every instance of any “coincidence” that actually occurs between the two tongues.

This is a direct consequence of what present day historiography requires, and is a fact that cannot be circumvented in any reasonable way. Admit a single word of Etruscan or Dravida was acquired by borrowings form one language to the other, and you have to accept the reality of cultural contact, which is the one in question here. So, the strict, exact linguistic connections which we present below for several hundreds of words have all to be illusory for our thesis to be deemed invalid. And, of course, the burden of proof incumbs on allegers, just as it incumbed on us to prove our case, as we are doing here.

As we showed – or purport to have shown – that essentially all the several hundreds of known and the majority of suspected Etruscan words can be readily derived from Dravida, the probability that this coincidence is random is hence below the unthinkably small value calculated above. Even taking the lower, more conservative value of 100 Etruscan words whose etymology is known with certainty, this still yields 10-400 as we just said. This number is equal to 0.000... 1, where there are 400 zeros following the coma.

This value is billions of times less than, say, 1 divided by the number of individual atoms in the universe. In another calculation, this value is equivalent to the probability of winning, for instance, the Irish Sweepstake (odds 1 in a million) about 66 times in a row. No one can seriously entertain the notion that this type of thing happens on a routine basis in Linguistics or elsewhere without arousing the disbelief of all their more knowledgeable peers.

So, the only valid alternative to linguists seems to lie in either attempting to refute our finds with valid linguistic (or other) arguments, or accepting them, at least as a preliminary; working hypothesis, until something better develops and a clearer picture of Etruscan origins is obtained somehow.

Second Estimate of the A Priori Probability

The above calculation is further supported by an independent one that confirms its numerical value. As we said above, an individual language is normally composed of a few thousand different roots (or “bases”, as they are often called). These bases are usually taken to be about 5,000 to 10,000 or so, as is the case of Dravida. So, the a priori probability that a given base coincides with the equivalent one in the other language is between about 1/10,000 = 0.0001 and 1/5,000 = 0.0002 or, equivalently, between 1x 10-4 and 2 x 10-4.

This value is roughly comparable to the one obtained above. So, we can say that, for all practical purposes the odds the when we pick two similar sounding bases they will have compatible etymologies are about 1/5,000 or, more probably, 1/10,000 = 0.0001 = 10-4. As per the above, the probability that this happens for two bases is 10-8, and so on. For 100 bases we get about 10-400, the same value obtained before. Hence, as we see, the a priori probability of random phonetic coincidences for basic roots is more or less equivalent to the one based on etymological correspondences, so that their odds and probabilities can be realistically assessed in either of the above two ways.

Methodology

In the present work, we followed a methodology which is not exactly canonical, but is one that saves a lot of time and effort. This is in no way a definitive work, and we hope that the specialists will help us to carry it on to completion, tightening up the loose ends. First, since Dravida is a polysemic tongue, a diversity of related etymologies is available for each base. And these are further extended by closely related bases, sometimes separated reather arbitrarily by Burrows and Emeneau, in their seminal work on Dravidian etymology.

So we selected only the fitter etymologies in each base, refraining from listing all of them, as this would only obscure the issue. Actually, this is precisely what is done in practice by the users of polysemic tongues, as we explain in the text, for meaning actually depends on context for such tongues, so unusual here in the West.

Second, we picked, among the large diversity of individual languages of the family, the actual forms that better conform to the Etruscan one, rather than to attempting reconstruct a somewhat arbitrary proto-Dravidian form. In this way, we automatically obey the phonetic laws that account for the passage from one language to another within the family in a way that no one can validly contest, since it actually occurred in reality. Instead of postulating some arbitrary evolution, we usually limit ourselves to listing the actual pertinent forms of the word within the base, and leave the reconstructions to the reader, except in a few cases.

All in all, the correspondences thus obtained are all essentially perfect, showing the close correspondence, if not identity between Dravida and Etruscan The two tongues must have separated rather late in time, much to our surprise, or at least be uncannily stable over time, perhaps as the result of both being literate. Third, we generally worked with roots only, except in a few cases where the coincidence in form was too inviting to resist. This way, the size of the work was considerably reduced, and the labor required became more manageable.

Only in this way could we hope to be able to tackle the already substantial vocabulary of the Etruscan language. Each word takes a lot of research and musing and, otherwise, the task would take forever forfeiting its purpose. So, we generally skipped, here in this present work, the detailed analysis of the many endings and secondary roots that are attested for some cases, as their present knowledge is but nil. Besides, their analysis would obscure the clarity of our demonstration, and would require a lot of idle hypotheses and vagaries.

We hope to be eventually able to cover here and present all the several hundreds roots of the words already known or hypothesized in Etruscan, so that no one can validly argue that the correspondences obtained are the result of lucky chances. A tongue is, after all, formed from the few thousand basic roots which, in combination, yield all the hundreds of thousands or even a million compound words that fill up the standard dictionaries and encyclopaedias. And we already studied in our notes, all of the available known words or suspected in Etruscan and Dravida, which amount to several hundreds and several thousands in each case.

Interestingly enough, the great majority by far of the etymologies so far proposed by the experts are uncannily close to their Dravidian ancestrals, so that the Etruscologists can only be complimented for the fine quality of their job. For the first time ever some sort of “Rosetta Stone” is available for Etruscan, allowing the practical test and assay of contributions such as those. Dravida is that long search magical key to the arcanes of the elusive Etruscans. So, we can finally hope to understand the mysteries that surround the origins of European civilization and of the glory that was Rome.

Our research has, for instance, validated the thesis – long held by some Etruscologists – that the non-Indo-European borrowings of Latin mainly derive from the Etruscan language, for hardly could we explain their exact corresponding existence in Dravida otherwise. Fourth, it should be kept in mind that both Etruscan and Dravida are both agglutinative languages.

What this means is that the individual composite words are formed more or less at the moment of use, according to some well established rules and, differently from Indo-European, words only rarely become permanently fixed as a whole. Hence, different synonymous roots may be used in different combinations in the diverse individual tongues, either inside the family itself or outside it. This is particularly the case when the different tongues of the family have been separated by a long span of both time and space, as happened here.

So, we cannot be accused of having arbitrary devised the words we present, for such is precisely the spirit of agglutinative tongues such as Dravida and Etruscan. Several words we present in the Glossary below are often composed of two or even three individual Dravidian roots, the secondary ones being suffixes that qualify or delimit the actual meaning in question. We generally tried to avoid the inclusion and analysis of the grammatical suffixes, but several had to be included, for reasons of clarity or of completeness.

The only rule that is essentially never violated in both Dravida and Etruscan is that the basic root is placed at the start of the word, and all modifications are added at the end, as suffixes, in the order of their importance. The fact that these two languages both obey this unusual rule and both form words by agglutination is in itself a compelling evidence of their close linguistic affinity, for it is unlikely that both tongues would hit on the idea independently, unlike what happened, say, with Indo-European.

Fifth, we dropped, except where essential, the rich variety of velarizations of the dentals (t and d) which can also be formed as retroflexes (t and d) or alveolars (t and d). Similar distinctions also obtain in Dravida for nasals, liquids and trills such as r, for instance, which has four different varieties. The Dravidian consonants have six positions of articulation for obstruants: labial, dental, alveolar, retroflex, palatal and velar. This variety would only confuse the non-specialists and would cloud the issue unnecessarily in this initial stage.

Besides, as we already said, this variety poses impassable obstacles for typesetting, particularly in the PC and in the Internet. And, moreover, this feature may be peculiar to within India itself, as it is observed in both Sanskrit and Dravida, but not in other languages of the region, inclusive the IE family, to which Sanskrit indubitably belongs. So, we dismissed all attempts at a phonetic transcription, approximating the actual sounds as best we could within the Roman alphabet itself, in the way indicated further below in our section on notation.

We also ignored the rich variety of cerebrals in both Dravida and Sanskrit, which is a pitiful loss, as it provides the inner logic for the frequent and regular transition from, say, a specific Dravidian cerebral -n- to Etruscan -r- or -l-, as so often happens. When necessary, we indicated the mutated root within Dravida itself, to make its reality more visible, and marked it with an asterisk, as is conventionally done in Linguistics. In certain cases, we indicate explicitly the cerebralization.

Of course, we are unable to tell whether the transition actually occurred within Dravida or in Etruscan itself. The important fact to retain is that it actually occurred, and that we only postulated the existence of the corresponding form when the Dravidian consonant was cerebral, hence forcing the conversion, as the Etruscan language did not have cerebrals at all.

In other words, the retroflexes and some other finer partitions seem to be a late affair, internal and specific to India, and their introduction is probably later than the partition between the Etruscans and the Dravidas, whenever that event may actually have happened. Anyway, these subdivisions, if they ever become possible and necessary for Etruscan, can always be done later, when time and opportunity arise.

Identification

In order to render the identification of the individual Dravidian roots and words we followed the genial numbering scheme devised by Burrows and Emeneau (BE) in their magistral work which indeed sets new, seminal trends in Linguistics. Without it, our decipherment of the Etruscan affinity with Dravida would have been utterly impossible. All previous attempts probably failed because the specialists did not dispose of this recent masterwork, and hence could not do a relatively thorough job, such as we pressure to have done here for the first time ever.

In fact, if our thesis succeeds, the largest share of the glory rightfully belongs to them and their Etruscological peers, rather than to our humble person. It is only because BE grouped the individual languages under collective entries for each base and each etymon that the global pattern for the family became apparent. Otherwise, anyone would be lost in the maze of tongues (about two dozen) and etyma, which present an enormous variety of subtle changes in both spelling (alphabets inclusive), as well as in form and etymology.

With this device – their device – all the reader has to do is to note the entry number in our paper and look for it in their dictionary, and then confirm, if he/she so desires, the root we gave and the presence of the corresponding etyma inside the group. Even if a particular etymology does not exist for a specific language within the group, this does not matter, as we explained further above, since it is attested elsewhere within the base.

No better proof of the existence of a particular transition, either phonetic or etymological, can be given than the fact that the evolution actually occurred in practice. Besides, in this way, they will be able to check directly the presence or not of the cerebrals whose marking we skipped in the present document, for the notational reasons expounded above.

Despite its apparent simplicity, the method we used is, however, actually extremely reliable, verifiable, testable and, hence, strictly scientific. Moreover, it has the advantage of filling up the enormous gaps that still exist – in the present state of the affair – in our knowledge both of Etruscan and of Dravida. The work of BE on Dravida has barely started, compared to, say, Sanskrit and the other languages both of India and elsewhere. We hope that the present discovery of its former importance for the origins of Western Civilization results in a greater interest in this charming and fantastically well endowed family of languages.

But the fact that the importance of Dravida today is relatively lesser, and that most tongues are now only spoken by primitives lost in the jungles of South India – savages who only welcome the inquisitive strange when they could cook him for dinner until recently – does not mean that they were also so in the far past.

Times change, and civilizations rise and fall, and often leave no traces of their former grandeur. Some once mighty civilizations go and leave almost no vestige at all, until the archaeologists and the linguists get to work on them. Such was the case of Egypt, Crete, Troy, Sumer and, even more surprisingly, of the fabulous Indus Valley Civilization, the realm of the very Dravidas we are mooting here in this context for the first time ever, we believe.

So, if our discovery indeed proves to be real, we have finally a direct evidence that the fantastic Indus Valley Civilization once extended not only over most of India and the Far East itself, but also all the way to the Mediterranean, where it was later reborn as the mighty Roman Empire itself, the brainchild of Etruria and its magnificent civilization.

We also hope that the present discovery of the Dravidian presence and role in prehistoric Europe – a fact thus far ignored by all – contributes to restore the former glory and dignity of that great people, the true enlighteners of the Occident, and serves to show that rather than enemies, Aryans and Dravidas actually shared the role of civilizers both in the East and in the West. So, the raging Aryan Invasion controversy finds its serendipitous end in the inescapable realization that both nations were one and the same originally, and only parted company rather late in time, well within historically documented times.

Publication Strategy

The Internet is a wonderful form for this type of discussion either in public (lists) or by private e-mail. Publication is essentially instantaneous, low cost, and informal. It is accessible to all, on a worldwide scale and in a hopefully uncensored way. It is truly a technology of the future, the one we now enter, at the dawn of the new millennium. So, we cannot envisage a better medium than this one, sponsored as it is by an enterprising, dedicated philologist, Mr. Cyril Babaev, who is kindly opening his linguistic site to us, proving once more the largeness of the Russian hearts.

Of course, the present publication does not close the usual channels such as peered journals for those of our eventual collaborators who prefer to do it that way. We have worked out essentially all the several hundreds of bases known or proposed in Etruscans, except those not accessible to us for some reason. Some of these bases may not be Etruscan, after all, as there has been considerable borrowing from nearby tongues such as Phoenician or Celtic and, above all, Latin and Greek. But most are, at least to judge from their Dravidian affinities.

Dravidian too did borrow from other Indo-European tongues such as Sanskrit and Hindi. But the fact that these bases may have Dravidian etymologies apparently means nothing more than the fact that these tongues also borrowed from the Dravidas. Such is the case, for instance, of the word Achale (“June”) which we discovered to have been borrowed by the Etruscans from the Vedic Skt. Achalha, meaning the same. No one will ever reasonably argue that this is a mere coincidence, as the odds against this hypothesis are dismally small.

Moreover, similar identities also obtain for the other months of the Etruscan calendar, as we show in detail in the present document. And, as we adduce in the Glossary’s text, it was the Sanskrit language that borrowed from the Dravida family and calendar, and not vice-versa, as it also did for the other months. And this Dravidian influence on Sanskrit is in itself a remarkable discovery that may revolutionize the science of Linguistics by itself alone.

As we just said, we have worked out essentially all known Etruscan bases, and hence are extremely sure that this tongue indubitably derived from the Dravidian family. How else can we account for this fact when the probability of a random coincidence is essentially nil, as we demonstrated further above? However, our extensive notes on the matter are not yet all ready for publication in the detailed style adopted here. So we will be publishing them more or less in alphabetical order (Etruscan). But that does not prevent us from anticipating the publication of certain bases or issues that are mooted out by our readers or by eventual collaborators or polemists who so desire.

In order to attract the interest of the experts, we will also be publishing the more interesting bases (words) first, when required, even when they disobey the alphabetical order. And, as we said above, precedence will be given, when possible, to the words mooted out by the readers and eventual collaborators and co-authors. So, the order of publication will be essentially alphabetical, with a minority of curious entries of more generalized interest. For reasons of our own, we started with the letters A and M.

Grammatical Correspondences

The grammatical correspondences affords an independent confirmation of linguistic affinities or, at least, of borrowings in former epochs. Unfortunately, these are far more difficult to assess quantitatively. But they can be guessed by experts better equipped than ourselves. And, of course, grammatical correspondences and phonetic coincidences (or lack thereof) can only enhance the probabilities, regardless of their existence or not, as they were calculated on a priori basis, independently of any such hypotheses.

Whether they exist or not, their presence (or absence) must still be explained, as the linguistic affiliation of Etruscan, like that of Dravida, is utterly unknown. Every linguist well knows that grammatical constructions are far from being the stable logical structures that they were formerly thought to be. And this is particularly the case when the tongue is a second tongue of, say, a minority forced to live among foreign speaking people, either at home or abroad. But there are several uncanny grammatical (or other) affinities between Dravida and Etruscan. Some that we can mention here and which we comment in the text comprise:

    • Both tongues belong to no known linguistic family.
    • Both are suffixive only, and seldom or never use prefixes or infixes.
    • Both invariably place the main root at the start of the word, the other roots
    • following in the same prescribed order.
    • Both are agglutinative, forming their words more or less at the spur of the
    • moment.
    • Both use odd consonantal connectives which closely correspond in the two.
    • The cases and conjugations (where known) also closely match.
    • The phonetics of the two tongues, known from their alphabets, etc.
    • are remarkably similar.
Several other grammatical and phonetical correspondences could further be pointed out between Etruscan and Dravida, as we do elsewhere. All in all, these affinities look rather promising and do not at all preclude a linguistic affillitiaton, at least until a more serious linguistic objection arises.

Theonyms and Related Issues

Given their great importance, we will also be discussing, eventually, the etymologies of Etruscan (and other) theonyms, ethnonyms, anthroponyms and toponyms. Though this topic is usually far less certain and far less scientific than linguistic ones, its anthropological importance cannot be overstressed. We have also thoroughly researched this matter, for we believe that it may shed a great light no only on Etruscan matters but also on Greek and Roman origins, which are only slightly less vexing a problem than the Etruscan one.

Most, if not all of these Etruscan onomastics are unknown or poorly explained. And, in contrast to common words, they are far more fixed and enduring and hence afford a highly reliable link to their original homeland, wherever that might have been located. As Prof. Meiser said in his magistral lecture on the matter, Etruscology must adopt a multidisciplinary approach to the problem of Etruscan origins if it is to make substantial progress in the next few years.

It is interesting to mention that both Dravida and Etruscan are considered isolated groups which present no connection whatsoever with any other language family. Many studies and many attempts have been made by earlier researchers to find the linguistic affinities of Etruscan, and all results were negative or unconvincing. The best results so far obtained were for the Uralo-Altaic family, which seems however, to be only remotely connected with Dravida, even in the most optimistic appraisals.

We hope our work succeeds in convincing the specialists or, at least, motivates the scholars to pursue it further, and to either prove or disprove the connection we now purport to have demonstrated. We showed a lot of uncannily detailed coincidences which cannot be easily dismissed, and which should be easy to refute in case they are only illusory or coincidental. No matter what, it is a pity that both Dravida and Etruscan should forever remain single and lonely. After all, the serendipitous union of the two would indeed open entirely new vistas not only in the science of Linguistics, but also in those of Anthropology and Archaeology as well.

Can that union of East and West – the wild dream of Alexander the Great – be finally achieved by means of the present discovery? Can the pen achieve what the sword was unable to accomplish? Well, it is now our turn to try, as intellectuals...

Etruscan Etymologies and Similar Problems

Many of the Etruscan words and etymologies so far proposed by the experts are highly speculative, given the intrinsic nature of the problem, the essential lack of substantial bilingual texts, the repetitive nature (tomb epitaphs) of most inscriptions and, above all, our ignorance of the true linguistic affiliation of the Etruscan language and, for that matter, of this mysterious people themselves. They certainly did not come from Lydia, as neither their tongue’s family nor their racial type is attested in the region. What better candidate than India, pray?

If the parent language has now been – or can be sometime in the near future be – indeed discovered, the science of Etruscology and the understanding of the language would advance enormously. What is now mere speculation of some scholars could fast become a scientifically established fact that no one can easily refute in any valid way. The inherent difficulties of the problem can be appreciated from the magistral lecture of Prof. Meiser or from a perusal of the many sources that exist on the subject.

Note: The interest reader should visit the below Internet sites, where he will also find an extensive bibliography on the subject of Etruscology:
1) Z. Gabor: Zagreb mummy unscription
2) The Indo-European Database
3) Paolo Agostini (Home)
 

Some specialists have claimed that the Etruscan language has been deciphered. This is essentially untrue, despite the enormous efforts that have been invested in the problem. The alphabet only is known, and was indeed ancestral to the Roman alphabet which most of us nowadays utilize. Where the Etruscans originally obtained it is as obscure a point as is the provenience of their tongue or even of the enigmatic people themselves. We see in it an uncanny similarity to the Brahmi alphabet and to others of ancient Dravidian India. But that is a subject which we only cover elsewhere.

What is known of Etruscan grammar is essentially nil. And only about a hundred Etruscan words have etymons known with reasonable certainty. Most others are variant forms of the same bases or borrowings from other tongues (Greek, Latin, Phoenician, etc.) which are supposed by some scholars to be originally Etruscan. Many of these etyma are still the subject of speculation, and are actually highly uncertain and vague. Likewise most of the words in the more extensive glossaries were obtained for other tongues and may well have been borrowed from the host of unknown tongues which became lost to Science or have had their etyma altered in the passage from that tongue, even if they prove to be Etruscan.

So, we cannot be sure of their pedigree until their Etruscan origin is scientifically demonstrated, say by the discovery of the true linguistic affinity of Etruscan. What is quite clear is that if an extensive text such as an Etruscan epic or a long poem was found now, no one could read it. Of course, this text would be subjected to the potent decrypting methods now is use, and would eventually be at least partly understood, though probably only vaguely. Much would still be lost, and remain obscure, as is so often the case.

We emphasize the need for the pursuit of questing the true origins of the Etruscan people and that of their mysterious tongue, which probably holds the key to the riddle of the origins of Civilization and that of the European nations as well. If we can indeed prove that Etruscan was a Dravidian tongue, we will have proved their Indian origins either as an Indo-European nation that adopted the Dravidian tongues (just as they would later adopt the Latin one) or as a Dravidian nation that was eventually engulfed by the Indo-Europeans.

In either case we will have considerably broadened the horizons which delimit the rise of Civilization to the circum-Mediterranean region. And this perspective certainly opens new vistas in both Archaeology and Linguists. The longest trip starts, says the Tao-te-ching, with the first step. And we can now take that decisive step that promises – for the first time ever – to lead us back to that true Troy where Etruscan Civilization indeed originated.

As we were saying, some but not many of the Etruscan etymologies proposed by the many researchers of the subject are somewhat obscure and speculative. Sometimes, three or four alternative etymologies are given by the researchers, and we have essentially no valid criterion whatsoever to chose the right one. So, we listed them all, usually joined as a single entry. Fortunately, the congruence among the different scholars’ etymologies and specific entries is surprising good, and conflicting ones are rarity.

Only occasionally do we present more than a single etymological alternative. But we tried to list the many independent Dravidian bases that fit the given etymon, for completeness’ sake. We attempt, as far as possible, to preserve the original etymologies given either by these researchers or by BE and other sources we used. But that endeavor is not always possible, and in a few cases we had to supply a few further synonyms, in order to render the issue at stake clearer, though we avoided doing that whenever feasible.

Synonyms are never exact, and one may sometimes introduce one’s own biases in their choice, distorting the picture. We will be glad to correct the mistakes and inaccuracies introduced in this way or another if someone points them out. As we said further above, we did not credit the individual proposals in this preliminary task, inclusive with the objective of minimizing the biasing effect. But we plan to do so in the final edition and at the measure that we obtain help for that difficult task or when need arises for such amendments.

Another reason for that procedure is that we are not sure who is the real author of each specific proposal or decipherment and are hence at a loss whom to cite. For that we need the help of the authors themselves or their colleagues and friends. This way we try to avoid committing injustices by being at least impartial. But, we repeat, theirs is the glory, explicit or anonymous, for taking the preliminary steps that rendered our own work and that of others possible in the first place, even if at the level of mere hypotheses pending validation by further research like the present one.

We cannot respond for the accuracy of our sources on Etruscan words and etymologies, which were taken more or less uncritically from the available material. But those on Dravida and other languages we checked carefully, and assume the responsibility for their accuracy, as they are correct to the best of our knowledge. Likewise, the Etruscan vocabularies we adopted were taken from sources outside our control, for which we cannot respond. These sources are accredited elsewhere in this document, and are we presume, reliable.

Only the finding of the true source of Etruscan can definitively settle the vexing problem of which textual words are actually members of that tongue or are borrowings from other tongues or wrongly ascribed to it by the authorities whence they were extracted. For instance, Herodotus affirm that the word kapra (“goat”) is Etruscan, though it is now known to be the Latin capra for sure. How many errors such as this actually affect the many words assumed to be Etruscan by the ancient Classical authors? And these are by far the majority of words included in the more extensive “Etruscan” glossaries, which often fail to explicitly mention this controversial, unreliable origin.

Even the words actually taken from authentic Etruscan inscriptions cannot be relied on entirely without external, independent confirmation. After all, the Etruscans lived at the crossroads of many nations both great and small, which spoke a multitude of obscure tongues, as is even today the case in Rhaetians. So, who can say what words were borrowed and which are indeed pedigreed and genuine?

Consider, as an example, the case of English. Authorities on the matter claim that some 98% of its vocabulary has been directly or indirectly borrowed from tongues such as Greek and Latin, even though these two have been long dead. A third source of words of doubtful origin are the modern authorities. They collect words of obscure origin in places such as Rhaetia and others sometime inhabited by the Etruscans, but are unsure about their ultimate origin.

But what of the many other possibilities in that veritable Babel of tongues and peoples? Again, these sources are highly controversial and unreliable, and the genuinity can only be assayed in relation to the elusive mother tongue of Etruscan itself, and which we believe to be the Dravidian family.

One thing which is known for sure is that the Etruscans did not come from Troy dumb, only learning to speak once they reached Latium. And, as many specialists are now concluding, the Troy of Schliemann, in Turkey [Hissarlik], is probably as fabulous as the Lydian origin of the Etruscans mentioned by Herodotus. The ancients – and Herodotus in particular, did not clearly separate History from Mythology, and accepted as historical many facts now known to be mere fable. Is this the case here? We think so…

Dravidian Etymologies and Word Formation

Like Sanskrit, Dravida is a polysemic language. And, unlike it, Dravida is an agglutinative tongue. What this means is that words are formed arbitrarily, at the spur of the moment, by composing the several individual radices at the end of the principal one which invariably starts the word in Dravida. Other rules dictate the order in which this suffixation is done. Word composition obeys, however, a preferred order, and words normally end with the suffixes designating gender, number and case.

Such is apparently the case with Etruscan also, as we verified in the course of our researches on the matter. The logical structure that results is fantastically functional and rational, despite its inherent simplicity. In contrast with most other tongues, Dravida never uses prefixes or infixes, which often lead to linguistic difficulties in most other tongues.

Likewise, the basic roots are generally polysemic, meaning that the actual signification derives from the context in which it is being used. For instance, the Dravidian base #4919 mut- basically means “to contract, shrivel, maim, cripple, spoil, abide, remain, stay, lie down, bend, exhaust, spend, confine, be bed-ridden, to bend (knee, arm, hand, head, body), withdraw, shake off, limp, halt, be crooked, distort, shrink, become stiff, crumple, close, contract, stoop”, etc..

What is more, the basic root is often allied to, and interchangeable with other related ones such as, for instance, in the present case, bases #4935 mutt- and #5114 mott. These in turn have a host of different meanings, again depending on context, which is determined by the suffixes and the general trend of the dialogue. The inner working of the tongue, though fantastically simple, logical and effective, is somewhat perplexing to persons unused to this type of language.

In order to avoid confusing the reader with these issues, and in keeping with the spirit of the language, we did what its users normally do: we selected only the pertinent etymologies and phonetic forms (basic roots) and skipped the other, non-pertinent ones. We thus saved a lot of effort to all and everyone, and avoided turning this essay into a jumble of unintelligible rigmarole which no one would read, let alone understand.

However, in order to facilitate further research or verification by those who may prefer different methodologies, we gave the individual entry numbers of the bases as listed in BE. Moreover, we also give the several variant forms in the specific entry that are pertinent to the issue at hand. We thus keep the necessary explanations at a minimum, and leave to the reader the task of reconstructing from this data the possible evolutionary trends incurred in passing from Dravida into Etruscan from the forms given. This is and obvious and far easier a task than would be apparent if I tried to explain it here in detail.

Only very exceptionally did we contribute to the etymologies given by BE or by the Etruscologists for a specific entry. And, in the few cases we did that, we generally separated ours from the bases given by these authorities. An individual root may sometimes be separated in BE or the Etruscan Glossaries under different but related entries, But these separations are often artificial and somewhat arbitrary, as they do no obtain in the real speech, as occurs for the non-agglutinative tongues. So, we listed more than one Dravidian base when such is the case. In practice they were not thus separated, at least before the actual composite words became individualized.

Occasionally, we present two or more of these closely related basis, in order to prove our point more clearly. But in most cases this would demand a long explanation and justification, and would only becloud the issue. So, we proceeded in this way only exceptionally and only very rarely without justification, for reasons of expediency, and never to distort the etymology to have it match the Etruscan ones. The fact that the two languages agree so closely was indeed a surprise to us, as the agreement was way far better than we had expected.

Likewise, we also joined the several Etruscan etymologies which have been proposed thus far by the experts into a single entry, leaving out none, even when we feel it is somewhat inadequate. When they are non-conformal, we do the discussion in the respective text when required, stating what we think was the reason for that disagreement. This way, we deem to be doing justice and, at the same avoiding to be introducing our personal biases into the already obscure issue of Etruscan etymologies.

All in all, the Etruscologists did a remarkably good job to judge from the unusually perfect agreement with their Dravidian counterparts which obtains both phonetically and etymologically. And all we can hope for is that our own work is in keeping with these high standards of Etruscological scholarship or, at least, contributes something useful to it. We did it with scientific rigor, and fully inside the best academic canons, in order to allay the justified criticisms that usually arise with more romantic initiatives than ours.

Onomastics and Controversial Entries

While we attempted to use all words of Etruscan origin or suspected to be so that have so far been proposed, we avoided advancing any of our own or eliminating any in order not to be charged of bending the bough in our own direction. We also avoided introducing any new etymologies, even when they are crying to be included. The few cases in which we do so – for instance, in the word mantissa – we clearly note the fact, and justify in detail our reasons for doing so. We thus hope to be doing our own little contribution to the Etruscological side of the question rather than being charged with unduly grinding our own ax.

But those purists who disagree with this procedure are advised to just skip the entry as an unacceptable hypothesis. Since these cases are so few, they in no way affect the odds in favor of our proposal that Etruscan can indeed be linguistically derived from the Dravidian family. These scholars are advised to leave the discussion of these pettier issues for later, and cling to the major one at hand, which is indeed the essence of our thesis.

The same thing can be said of the controversial entries, whose Etruscan origin many specialists reject. If we did not include them, we would be justly charged of favoritism, which is not the case at all. We decided to include all words which have been listed in the Etruscan glossaries we were able to access.

Any omissions are purely the result of chance and, hence, in no way affect the a priori probability that we may be right. Our inclusion of any specific entry is in no way an endorsement of its pedigree. All it means is that the word and its etyma have formerly been proposed as Etruscan by someone and included in some Etruscan Glossary, qualified or not. We plan to include all words, particularly if we deserve the honor of being supported by the collaboration of the Etruscological community and of other linguists and experts, either at the individual or the organizational level.

As concerns onomastics in general – words such as theonyms, toponynms, ethnonyms and anthroponyms – we decided not to include them in the present work for several reasons that seemed good to ourselves, the main one being that they required a lengthy discussion that ill-fits the present work. But we plan to include them in a future glossary specifically dedicated to this type of word, particularly if we earn the collaboration of colleagues or institutions.

The few onomastics that are discussed in the present essay were included in the context of more canonical linguistic matters. Another reason why they were not included is fundamentally because they are somewhat marginal to Linguistics proper, and not because they are not interesting per se. On the contrary, they are even more interesting than ordinary words. But few linguists are unfortunately conversant with the difficult science of comparative Mythology and Religion, and would only feel insulted by its inclusion here.

On Notation and Alphabetical Transcriptions

Everyone who uses languages with alphabets different from the Roman one well knows the difficult problems posed by notation, that is, the transcription of these alphabets to the computer. Use the original alphabets – if you succeed in obtaining the required fonts – and you will never find a good publishing house and, probably, no readers as well. Use the Roman alphabet and you often have to use – particularly with Dravida and Sanskrit where you have 40+ individual characters – a lot of macrons and other such signals that only serve to confuse the average lay reader.

So, we took the radical step of eliminating all such marks, unless they are required for some very good reason such as marking a specific transition. The professionals will have no problem filling them in at their hearts desire. And the ordinary reader will probably only thank us for the radical solution. Besides, what typist can type in these symbols successfully? In order to requite that deficiency, we noted every specific Dravidian entry by their number in BE, so that the reader can verify for himself all notational and other conventions and data.

On transcribing the Etruscan alphabet we used th and ph instead of the originals, as most experts do. We were tempted into replacing Etruscan c for k, to comply with the Dravidian transcription, which uses this letter. This would greatly enhance the essential identity between the two tongues. But as this would shock or confuse most experts, we decided to keep the Etruscan c, alerting the reader that its use conforms to Latin, sibilant before e and i, and guttural before a, o, u.

In Dravida the situation is different, and k is always guttural, whereas the sound of c is always sybillant, pronounced as in English “chair” or as in Italian “dolce”. We graphed c’ – for instance, c’a – for cerebral c, in order to make this sound of this letter self-evident. We hesitated between this choice and ç, which could confuse some readers, or ch, which is perhaps better, but again misleading. Likewise, we graphed the cerebrals according to the same device, writing d’a, t’a, n’a, r’a,etc., for cerebralized da, ta, na, ra, etc..

And we did the same for Sanskrit, transcribing as c’ the sound equivalent to the Dravidian one, and by s’ instead of the more usual sh, the sibilant value. This avoids confusion, for Sanskrit has both. This way we were able to use a single modifier which is somewhat mnemonic, and hence very easy to remember. But, we repeat, we generally skipped the use of these modifiers, though they are the rule rather than the exception in Dravida. We did that both for clarity’s and simplicity’s sake, both in typing and in reading.

All in all, both Dravidian and Etruscan vowels and consonants somewhat correspond to Italian in pronunciation, if we skip the vexing matter of cerebralizations. We note that BE also use this notation, which they graph as ordinary c, though the sound in Dravida is closer to “tch”, as just pointed out. The reader will be alert to the fact that Dravidian k is the perfect equivalent of Etruscan c (guttural), as noted above, the difference being purely due to an artifact of notation, for the Etruscan alphabet does not indeed correspond to the Roman one we use.

This was a great loss, for in their passage into Etruscan, cerebral n or t usually becomes r, etc., with which they closely asonated. So much so, that the passage often occurs within Dravida itself. When this occurs, we often list the modified form, even when it is otherwise different from the radix in question. We also supply this deficiency in notation by the expedient of listing, as a hypothetical form marked with the usual asterisk (*), the transition as possibly occurring within Dravida itself or in its passage to Etruscan.

The reader can rest assured that the transition, when indicated, is indeed phonetically possible and plausible, and/or actually occurred in Dravida itself. Anyway, the inquisitive reader can always check the original source, BE, for the more exact forms. This is the best we can do for the moment, anyway. And as a lot of confusion on this matter also exists within the different tongues of the family itself. So that the reader can reasonably suppose that when the change occurs, the cerebral form is always the one in Dravida, as it is indeed the normal one, at least when the change occurred in the transition to Etruscan. When this is not the case, we do call attention to the fact, explicitly.

We note that in Dravida, as in Etruscan, the roots are agglutinative, that is, link one to the other directly in order to compose individual words. But we usually spell the individual roots separated by hyphens (-) in order to facilitate their recognition. But sometimes we fail do that when we deem this (artificial) separation unnecessary or, more often, when the word was already formed and fixed within Dravida itself.

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