A modern Faliscan descendant?

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SkryNRiv
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A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by SkryNRiv »

Hey, guys! Newcomer here.

Lately I've been toying with the idea of creating a naturalistic conlang based on Faliscan, which would be my very first conlang. Savvinic made me think it could be a plausible and awesome idea, but after some research, now I realize that it's going to be a difficult task.

Faliscan attestations aren't that scarce and comprise sepulchral inscriptions, signatures, owner's signs, decorations, dedications and inscriptions on public works. Bakkum counts c. 355 inscriptions, some of which have more significant linguistical value, but none of them are lengthy. Having something like a literary work would be so much helpful, but that's not the case here. As things stand, I've thought of two main concerns:
  • I should standardize Faliscan orthography, but I don't know how to do it or what should I consider. There are instances where the spelling of a word varies, e.g. the first person singular pronoun eqo is also spelled eco, and eko.
  • For the unattested and obscure words, I may have to go back to Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Italic reconstructions to make up for the lack of lexicon and compare with Latin and Sabellic cognates, but how will I be sure that I made a good work? Even cognates have different meanings between close languages.
This whole thing seems overwhelming, but, anyway, I'm thrilled by the thought of having my first conlang thriving among the rest.

What do you guys think? Any advice or comment will be much appreciated!

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by Pabappa »

a posteriori languages are a lot of work, yes. I've never been able to make a decent one. And the further back you go, the more work it will be. On the other hand, you can work more changes into the modern language that might relieve you of the need to make arbitrary decisions for the reconstruction of the proto-language.

I've always wanted to see a Romance (or at least Italic) language that kept a complex noun inflection system, and Savvinic seems to be exactly what I'm thinking of .... but as much as I love it, I think it's unrealistic for a language that remains in Italy because the vast majority of surrounding languages would be typical Romance languages for most of its history. This is another big reason why I stick to a priori ... I dont have to worry about the languages I dont care for affecting the evolution of my own. But I wouldnt say it's a bad language if you decide to go down that path too ... it would just be quite an anomaly.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

I've toyed around with an idea like this before, but was stumped by lack of resources. However, Faliscan is the second best-attested one. Bakkum's Faliscan grammar, which is the most complete resource, includes a discussion of sound changes from PIE to Faliscan so you could probably reconstruct some words. As to their accuracy, there's no way of telling and you'll just have to assume they're okay.
Anyway, there are a couple of ways I would consider going about doing this. First would be making the descendant a romlang which happens to derive from Faliscan; Bakkum argues that it's just a dialect of Latin and it would be plausible to have just a normal (if divergent to the level of French) romlang with some Faliscan features. This might not be that interesting for you, so another option is to have a completely independent descendant which doesn't look much like a romlang at all, which would be less plausible but more unusual. Or you could go somewhere in between with amounts of Romance influence. It depends what look you're aiming for.
SkryNRiv wrote:
31 Jan 2020 20:30
  • I should standardize Faliscan orthography, but I don't know how to do it or what should I consider. There are instances where the spelling of a word varies, e.g. the first person singular pronoun eqo is also spelled eco, and eko.
I'd say the best bet is just spelling it as if it were Latin, so eco~eko~eqo would be eco. It's likely that if Faliscan survived long enough to create a descendant, it would have a lot of Latin influence anyway.
  • For the unattested and obscure words, I may have to go back to Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Italic reconstructions to make up for the lack of lexicon and compare with Latin and Sabellic cognates, but how will I be sure that I made a good work? Even cognates have different meanings between close languages.
Definitely you'll have to go back to proto-Italic, possibly proto-Indo-European for a few cases. As for being realistic, you could obscure it through sound change and meaning change. When providing etymologies, just give the Faliscan form as being reconstructed and unattested, which would explain any errors (although there wouldn't be any native speakers to correct you).
This whole thing seems overwhelming, but, anyway, I'm thrilled by the thought of having my first conlang thriving among the rest.

What do you guys think? Any advice or comment will be much appreciated!
This looks like a really well thought-out idea for a first conlang! Everyone here would be happy to help if you need it.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by qwed117 »

VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
SkryNRiv wrote:
31 Jan 2020 20:30
  • I should standardize Faliscan orthography, but I don't know how to do it or what should I consider. There are instances where the spelling of a word varies, e.g. the first person singular pronoun eqo is also spelled eco, and eko.
I'd say the best bet is just spelling it as if it were Latin, so eco~eko~eqo would be eco. It's likely that if Faliscan survived long enough to create a descendant, it would have a lot of Latin influence anyway.
For what it's worth in Latin there was a similar set of changes in orthography <Q> was used for /k/ before <O> and <U> at first, before being relegated to /kw/, and was replaced by <K>, which was in use for /k/ before <A>, which was later replaced by <C>, which was at first used for /k/ behind <I> and <E>
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
For the unattested and obscure words, I may have to go back to Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Italic reconstructions to make up for the lack of lexicon and compare with Latin and Sabellic cognates, but how will I be sure that I made a good work? Even cognates have different meanings between close languages.
Definitely you'll have to go back to proto-Italic, possibly proto-Indo-European for a few cases. As for being realistic, you could obscure it through sound change and meaning change. When providing etymologies, just give the Faliscan form as being reconstructed and unattested, which would explain any errors (although there wouldn't be any native speakers to correct you).
I worked on an Arcado-Cypriotic language, and from my experience, there will probably be a lot of reconstruction from PIE, but it's not impossible to do that.
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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

qwed117 wrote:
01 Feb 2020 00:50
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
SkryNRiv wrote:
31 Jan 2020 20:30
  • I should standardize Faliscan orthography, but I don't know how to do it or what should I consider. There are instances where the spelling of a word varies, e.g. the first person singular pronoun eqo is also spelled eco, and eko.
I'd say the best bet is just spelling it as if it were Latin, so eco~eko~eqo would be eco. It's likely that if Faliscan survived long enough to create a descendant, it would have a lot of Latin influence anyway.
For what it's worth in Latin there was a similar set of changes in orthography <Q> was used for /k/ before <O> and <U> at first, before being relegated to /kw/, and was replaced by <K>, which was in use for /k/ before <A>, which was later replaced by <C>, which was at first used for /k/ behind <I> and <E>
Interesting... I suppose there are a few options as to which stage of the orthography is the basis for the standard.
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
For the unattested and obscure words, I may have to go back to Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Italic reconstructions to make up for the lack of lexicon and compare with Latin and Sabellic cognates, but how will I be sure that I made a good work? Even cognates have different meanings between close languages.
Definitely you'll have to go back to proto-Italic, possibly proto-Indo-European for a few cases. As for being realistic, you could obscure it through sound change and meaning change. When providing etymologies, just give the Faliscan form as being reconstructed and unattested, which would explain any errors (although there wouldn't be any native speakers to correct you).
I worked on an Arcado-Cypriotic language, and from my experience, there will probably be a lot of reconstruction from PIE, but it's not impossible to do that.
Perhaps, although I think proto-Italic is more developed than proto-Greek. At least there's Latin to help.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by SkryNRiv »

VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
Anyway, there are a couple of ways I would consider going about doing this. First would be making the descendant a romlang which happens to derive from Faliscan; Bakkum argues that it's just a dialect of Latin and it would be plausible to have just a normal (if divergent to the level of French) romlang with some Faliscan features. This might not be that interesting for you, so another option is to have a completely independent descendant which doesn't look much like a romlang at all, which would be less plausible but more unusual. Or you could go somewhere in between with amounts of Romance influence. It depends what look you're aiming for.
I think my starting point is "What if Falerii Veteres never fell after the 241 BC war against Rome?". If I follow Bakkum's claim that Faliscan was a dialect of Latin, I would certainly make it diverge over an alternate timeline where the Faliscans do survive even within the Roman Republic and then the Empire. Faliscan would obviously have influence from Latin, but, over time, I'd still like the result to be a language in its own right.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

SkryNRiv wrote:
01 Feb 2020 06:28
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
31 Jan 2020 22:07
Anyway, there are a couple of ways I would consider going about doing this. First would be making the descendant a romlang which happens to derive from Faliscan; Bakkum argues that it's just a dialect of Latin and it would be plausible to have just a normal (if divergent to the level of French) romlang with some Faliscan features. This might not be that interesting for you, so another option is to have a completely independent descendant which doesn't look much like a romlang at all, which would be less plausible but more unusual. Or you could go somewhere in between with amounts of Romance influence. It depends what look you're aiming for.
I think my starting point is "What if Falerii Veteres never fell after the 241 BC war against Rome?". If I follow Bakkum's claim that Faliscan was a dialect of Latin, I would certainly make it diverge over an alternate timeline where the Faliscans do survive even within the Roman Republic and then the Empire. Faliscan would obviously have influence from Latin, but, over time, I'd still like the result to be a language in its own right.
Of course the result would be a separate language, I was just wondering whether it would be similar enough to the other Romance languages to be classed as one, or something much more different. I think the issue would be whether it's plausible for it to diverge completely from the romlangs, given the prestige of Latin. Unless you choose to have Faliscan as a major language in the empire, in which case there would be much more of a chance of it being completely distinct from Latin.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by Lambuzhao »

SkryNRiv wrote:
31 Jan 2020 20:30
Hey, guys! Newcomer here.

Lately I've been toying with the idea of creating a naturalistic conlang based on Faliscan,
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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by Salmoneus »

Linguistically, it's an interesting idea. I'd suggest finding a copy (pdfs are available online) of de Vaan's etymological dictionary of Latin - he doesn't give sound changes all the way down to Latin, but he gives them at least to Proto-Italic if not later, he lists a bunch of non-Latin Italic cognates, and he might be useful both in helping you derive the Falsican from PIE and giving a sense of the semantic drift. I guess an Old Latin dictionary might be helpful too, to help you work out how much drift is just from Old to Classical Latin, and how much predates Old Latin (most of which would be shared with Faliscan, I would assume).


Historically, though, I'm not sure how this could work - unless this is a world in which Rome never rose? Because Faliscan territory is less than 20 miles from the middle of modern Rome. It would be like having English be the dominant language of the US, spoken everywhere EXCEPT the town of Yonkers (just outside NYC), where everyone speaks Dutch. That doesn't seem very viable to me. At least something like Oscan, you can handwave a rural dialect/language in southern Italy, but Faliscan was spoken in a very small area, literally right outside Rome, and was also close to (if not outright a dialect of) Latin to begin with.

You could do a 'no rome' scenario, though. My suggestion would be: what if the Faliscans changed sides in the early Roman-Etruscan wars? Perhaps the Faliscans rebel against Etruscan influence, and conquer the southern Etruscans, perhaps even moving their own capital to Veii. If Rome then loses any of its wars agains the Latins, the Volsci, the Aequi, the Sabines, etc, and gets sacked, the Faliscans would then be in prime position to conquer it, or at least supplant it. You could have the Faliscans directly replace Rome in its subsequent imperial rise, or you could let the Oscans occupy the south of Italy while the Faliscans conquer all the Etruscans and northern italy, pushing unification of the peninsula much later...

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

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What if there was some religious connection, such as maybe it survives as the language of a sect of Christianity, and therefore resists all outside military pressure? This could be temporary, with it regaining territory of its own after the fall of Rome.
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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

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Salmoneus wrote:
01 Feb 2020 17:42
Historically, though, I'm not sure how this could work - unless this is a world in which Rome never rose? Because Faliscan territory is less than 20 miles from the middle of modern Rome. It would be like having English be the dominant language of the US, spoken everywhere EXCEPT the town of Yonkers (just outside NYC), where everyone speaks Dutch. That doesn't seem very viable to me. At least something like Oscan, you can handwave a rural dialect/language in southern Italy, but Faliscan was spoken in a very small area, literally right outside Rome, and was also close to (if not outright a dialect of) Latin to begin with.
TBF that did happen
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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by SkryNRiv »

Pabappa wrote:
01 Feb 2020 17:55
What if there was some religious connection, such as maybe it survives as the language of a sect of Christianity, and therefore resists all outside military pressure? This could be temporary, with it regaining territory of its own after the fall of Rome.
I like this idea, but Christianity didn't appear at least for 200 years after the fall of Falerii Veteres, and it wasn't even in the Italic peninsula. Christianity had to wait until 313 to be officially legal in the Roman Empire. [:(] So I would had to think of another way of keeping Faliscans safe until the arrival of Christianity to the peninsula. One thing I thought of was that maybe Faliscans emigrated to another place far from Rome, but I'm not really sure about it.
Salmoneus wrote:
01 Feb 2020 17:42
or you could let the Oscans occupy the south of Italy while the Faliscans conquer all the Etruscans and northern italy, pushing unification of the peninsula much later...
I like this better, or a not-so-powerful-Rome scenario where Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian and the rest of Italic languages survive alongside Latin. But for now I'll stay with the linguistic work. I hope I can show you guys my first results within the next few days. [:D]

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

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VaptuantaDoi wrote:
01 Feb 2020 06:59
Of course the result would be a separate language, I was just wondering whether it would be similar enough to the other Romance languages to be classed as one, or something much more different.
Definitionally, the result wouldn't be a Romance language, since Romance languages are all descended from Proto-Romance, and a Faliscan descendant wouldn't fit that bill. It'd probably be classified as a separate branch of the Italic family. Maybe under the Latin-dialect scenario, there'd be an umbrella term for showing the closeness with Romance languages.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Dormouse559 wrote:
01 Feb 2020 23:57
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
01 Feb 2020 06:59
Of course the result would be a separate language, I was just wondering whether it would be similar enough to the other Romance languages to be classed as one, or something much more different.
Definitionally, the result wouldn't be a Romance language, since Romance languages are all descended from Proto-Romance, and a Faliscan descendant wouldn't fit that bill. It'd probably be classified as a separate branch of the Italic family. Maybe under the Latin-dialect scenario, there'd be an umbrella term for showing the closeness with Romance languages.
If Faliscan was a dialect of Latin like Bakkum claims it is then the descendant could descend from a dialect of Vulgar Latin / Proto-Romance with Faliscan features, but mutually intelligible with other Vulgar Latins. If scholars generally accepted Faliscan as a dialect of Latin they would probably consider a descendant a Romance language. If in the alt history Faliscan was a dialect of the Roman empire the term "romance" would make sense etymologically. If there was an umbrella term then it would be "Romance" divided up into Latin and Faliscan Romance.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

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If we assume eqo is /eˈkoː/ (cf. Esp. yo, Fr. je, It. io, etc.), you can develop a unique first person pronoun of <co> /ko/ or <ec> /ek/, which is enough to make your language "not-Romance" (because ego was inherited to eo in all other Romance languages).
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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

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VaptuantaDoi wrote:
02 Feb 2020 00:56
If Faliscan was a dialect of Latin like Bakkum claims it is then the descendant could descend from a dialect of Vulgar Latin / Proto-Romance with Faliscan features, but mutually intelligible with other Vulgar Latins.
Well, that's different, but okay.

VaptuantaDoi wrote:If scholars generally accepted Faliscan as a dialect of Latin they would probably consider a descendant a Romance language.
Here, I'd disagree. As far as I can tell, Faliscan was already distinct from (Vulgar) Latin before the common era. Any evidence of modern Romance languages doesn't come until centuries later. Now, I suppose an alt-history with a modern Faliscan might have a different definition for the term "Proto-Romance" than ours, placed further back in time to include Faliscan.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Dormouse559 wrote:
02 Feb 2020 02:07
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
02 Feb 2020 00:56
If Faliscan was a dialect of Latin like Bakkum claims it is then the descendant could descend from a dialect of Vulgar Latin / Proto-Romance with Faliscan features, but mutually intelligible with other Vulgar Latins.
Well, that's different, but okay.
Sorry, I didn't explain it fully the first time.
VaptuantaDoi wrote:If scholars generally accepted Faliscan as a dialect of Latin they would probably consider a descendant a Romance language.
Here, I'd disagree. As far as I can tell, Faliscan was already distinct from (Vulgar) Latin before the common era. Any evidence of modern Romance languages doesn't come until centuries later. Now, I suppose an alt-history with a modern Faliscan might have a different definition for the term "Proto-Romance" than ours, placed further back in time to include Faliscan.
There would probably have to be a lot of changes in the alt-history. Faliscan was definitely distinct, but it's plausible that in an alternate timeline it evolves parallel to Latin, with enough influence to keep them as dialects of each other (but still distinctive) up until the point of Vulgar Latin. Whether or not it would be classified as Romance isn't really my main contention; I was just saying that there were various degrees of Latin influence, between diverging as much as possible or in parallel to the romance languages.

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Re: A modern Faliscan descendant?

Post by SkryNRiv »

qwed117 wrote:
02 Feb 2020 02:05
If we assume eqo is /eˈkoː/ (cf. Esp. yo, Fr. je, It. io, etc.), you can develop a unique first person pronoun of <co> /ko/ or <ec> /ek/, which is enough to make your language "not-Romance" (because ego was inherited to eo in all other Romance languages).
Nice idea, thanks! I think I'll go with ‹ek›~‹ec› since most Indo-European languages retained the inicial vowel.
Dormouse559 wrote:
02 Feb 2020 02:07
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
02 Feb 2020 00:56
If Faliscan was a dialect of Latin like Bakkum claims it is then the descendant could descend from a dialect of Vulgar Latin / Proto-Romance with Faliscan features, but mutually intelligible with other Vulgar Latins.
Well, that's different, but okay.

VaptuantaDoi wrote:If scholars generally accepted Faliscan as a dialect of Latin they would probably consider a descendant a Romance language.
Here, I'd disagree. As far as I can tell, Faliscan was already distinct from (Vulgar) Latin before the common era. Any evidence of modern Romance languages doesn't come until centuries later. Now, I suppose an alt-history with a modern Faliscan might have a different definition for the term "Proto-Romance" than ours, placed further back in time to include Faliscan.
Whether Faliscan was a dialect of Latin or a distinct language, I don't think it should matter if we assume an alt-history. It might as well evolve from Latin to form its own branch and its descendant(s) should be called anything other than Romance. "Neo-Faliscan language(s)" maybe?

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