Kretschmer 1943

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Paul Kretschmer, "Die vorgriechischen Sprach- und Volksschichten", Glotta 30 (1943), 88–218.

Author/Editor: Paul Kretschmer
Type: linguistic study
Language: German
Used for: 4 pages (show list)


(in particular "Zur Lepontischen Sprache" pp. 192-197, and in "Die raetischen Elemente im Lepontischen und Westlichen Oberitalien"" pp. 197-203)

Comparing the word pala and those words with endings which he considers genitives in -ui in the Latin-script inscription of Sabbio (PID II 59: dieupala minui) , Kretschmer considers the Lepontic language a linguistic reality not only for the area of Como, Lugano and the lakes, but also for the surrounding area of Lake Garda.

For the inscription on the jar (beak-spouted ewer) of Castaneda (considering that the place of discovery lies on the Eastern limit of the Lepontic territory), he hypothesises that the use of u for v in "uecezus" is a peculiarity acquired from the Lepontic inscriptions.

He linguistically describes the Lepontic language as a mixed variety of Venetic (the endings in -ui, -i, -ai and -ei of the genitive singular), Ligurian (certain onomastic elements such as -as'ouni - and the ending in -ua, which he claims is also found in toponyms as far as the Iberian Peninsula), Gaulish (sufficiently significant for onomastics; -kn-, patronymical suffix in the inscription of the vessel of Carcegna, the ending -eos, also to be found in Gaulish) and South Picene (the accusative ending -m, the enclitic -pe < *-Kʷe, which is not normally part of those variants that show labial treatment of the labiovelar consonant).

It is not clear how these parallels have to be explained. According to Strabon, the Camunii and Lepontii were Raeti: Kretschmer claims that, if we remove all Indo-European elements, the following traits of Raetic would stay with Lepontic:

  • a) part of the nominatives in -u (others, e.g. atepu, are Celtic stems in -n) would be Raetic stems in -u of the type matinu, kus'qu, etc;
  • b) it would be very possible that the retained Lepontic patronymical formation in -al stems from Raetic and not from Etruscan.

In the paragraph "Zum Ligurischen", he also addresses the Ligurian elements which characterise the Lepontic language, from the information in the sources, to the onomastics of the Tabula Alimentaria of Veleia and the Sententia Minuciorum, and in general to toponymic onomastics of North Italy.