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The Latino-Faliscan or Latino-Venetic languages form a group of the Italic languages within the Indo-European family. They were spoken by the Latino-Faliscan people of Italy from 1200 BC.

Originally Latium in Italy, then throughout the Roman Empire, especially in the western regions; now also throughout Latin America, Eastern Canada, and many countries in Africa
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Proto-languageProto-Latino-Faliscan (Praeneste fibula)
Latino-Faliscan languages and dialects in different shades of blue.

Latin and Faliscan belong to the group, as well as two others often considered dialects of archaic Latin: Lanuvian and Praenestine.

As the power of Ancient Rome grew, Latin absorbed elements of the other languages and replaced Faliscan. The other variants went extinct as Latin became dominant. Latin in turn developed via Vulgar Latin into the Romance languages, now spoken by more than 800 million people, largely as a result of the influence of the Spanish, French and Portuguese Empires.

Linguistic description

Latin and Faliscan have several features in common with other Italic languages:

Latin and Faliscan also have characteristics not shared by other branches of Italic. They retain the Indo-European labiovelars /*kʷ, *gʷ/ as qu-, gu- (later becoming velar and semivocal), whereas in Osco-Umbrian they become labial p, b. Latin and Faliscan use the accusative suffix -d, seen in med ("me", accusative), which is absent in Osco-Umbrian. In addition, Latin displays evolution of ou into ū (Latin lūna < Proto-Italic *louksnā < PIE *lówksneh₂ "moon").


It is likely that the consonant inventory of Proto-Latino-Faliscan was basically identical to that of archaic Latin. Consonants not found in the Praeneste fibula are marked with an asterisk.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-
Plosives voiceless *p *t k *kʷ
voiced *b d *g *gʷ
Fricative f s *h
Sonorants *r, *l j *w
Nasal m n

The /kʷ/ sound still existed in archaic Latin when the Latin alphabet was developed, since it gives rise to the minimum pair: quī /kʷī/ ("who", nominative) > cuī /ku.ī/ ("to whom", dative). Note that in other positions there is no distinction between diphthongs and hiatuses: for example, persdere ("to persuade") is a diphthong but sua ("his"/"her") is a hiatus. For reasons of symmetry, it is quite possible that many sequences of gu in archaic Latin in fact represent a voiced labiovelar /gʷ/.[citation needed]


Indo-Europeanists initially assumed that the various Indo-European languages of ancient Italy belonged to one unitary family, like the Celtic or Germanic languages. This view probably originated with Antoine Meillet (1866–1936).[1]

This unitary model, however, has been strongly criticised, first by Alois Walde (1869–1924). Decisive counter-arguments were given by Vittore Pisani (1899–1990) and Giacomo Devoto (1897–1974). Both proposed that the Italic languages could be grouped into two distinct branches of Indo-European. This view, though reformulated in the years following the Second World War, has become dominant.[citation needed] Nonetheless, how exactly the languages are to be grouped, how they entered Italy, and how they became distinct, are open questions in historical linguistics.[2]

See also



  1. Villar, 'Gli Indoeuropei e le origini dell'Europa, pp. 474-475.
  2. Villar, cit., pp. 447-482.

Further reading

На других языках

- [en] Latino-Faliscan languages

[es] Lenguas latino-faliscas

Las lenguas latino-faliscas o lenguas latino-venéticas son un subgrupo perteneciente al grupo itálico de las lenguas indoeuropeas. Se hablaban en Italia. Incluye principalmente el latín y el extinto falisco. También, según otras propuestas, los extintos sículo y venético, en cuyo caso el grupo suele llamarse latino-venético.[1][2][3] La clasificación del venético es controvertida y algunos autores prefieren considerarlo una lengua indoeuropea independiente, una lengua itálica independiente y primitiva o bien una lengua itálica más estrechamente emparentada con las lenguas osco-umbras.[2][3][4] Es muy posible que la división entre Itálico Q (latino-falisco) e Itálico P (osco-umbro) no tenga valor filogenético, ya que el venético parece haber sido la primera lengua en separarse del resto, debido a sus arcaísmos perdidos en las otras lenguas itálicas.[1]

[fr] Langues latino-falisques

Les langues latino-falisques ou italo-falisques sont un sous-groupe des langues italiques, qui constituent une famille de langues indo-européennes.

[it] Lingue latino-falische

Le lingue latino-falische o veneto-latine (anche conosciute come lingue italiche occidentali) erano un gruppo di lingue indoeuropee storicamente attestate nel Lazio, nel Veneto ed in Sicilia.

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