AskDefine | Define Oscan

Dictionary Definition



1 an Oscan-speaking member of an ancient people of Campania
2 an extinct Italic language of ancient southern Italy

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to the Oscan language or Oscan people, or their writing system.


  1. A member of an ancient group of Italic-speaking peoples of Campania (the Osci).

Proper noun

  1. The language of the Oscan people.

External links

Extensive Definition

Oscan, the language of the Osci, is in the Sabellic branch of the Italic language family, which is a branch of Indo-European that also includes Umbrian, Latin, and Faliscan. It was spoken in Samnium and in Campania, as well as in Lucania, Ager Bruttius (modern Calabria) and Abruzzo. Oscan is known from inscriptions beginning in the 5th century BC. The most important Oscan inscriptions are the Tabula Bantina and the Cippus Abellanus. Oscan was written in the Latin and Greek alphabets, as well as in a variety of the Old Italic alphabet.
Dialects of Oscan include Samnite, Marrucine, Paelignan, Vestinian, Sabine, and Marsian.
Oscan had much in common with Latin, though there are also many striking differences, and many common word-groups in Latin were absent and represented by entirely different forms. For example, Latin volo, velle, volui, and other such forms from the Proto-Indo-European root *wel ('to will') were represented by words derived from *gher ('to desire'): Oscan herest ('he wants, desires', English cognate 'yearns', Spanish quiere) as opposed to Latin vult (id.). Latin locus (place) was absent and represented by slaagid (place).
In phonology, Oscan also showed differences from Latin: Oscan 'p' in place of Latin 'qu' (Osc. pis, Lat. quis); 'b' in place of Latin 'v'; medial 'f' in contrast to Latin 'b' or 'd' (Osc. mefiai, Lat. mediae). This is like the P-Celtic/Q-Celtic rift in the Celtic languages.
Oscan is considered the most conservative of all the known Italic languages, and among all Indo-European languages it is rivaled only by Greek in the retention of the inherited vowel system with the diphthongs intact.

Example of an Oscan text (the Cippus Abellanus)

ekkum[svaí píd herieset trííbarak[avúm tereí púd liímítú[m] pernúm [púís herekleís fíísnú mefi[ú íst, ehtrad feíhúss pú[s herekleís fíísnam amfr et, pert víam pússtíst paí íp íst, pústin slagím senateís suveís tangi núd tríbarakavúm lí kítud. íním íúk tríba rakkiuf pam núvlanús tríbarakattuset íúk trí barakkiuf íním úíttiuf abellanúm estud. avt púst feíhúís pús físnam am fret, eíseí tereí nep abel lanús nep núvlanús pídum tríbarakattíns. avt the savrúm púd eseí tereí íst, pún patensíns, múíníkad ta[n ginúd patensíns, íním píd e[íseí thesavreí púkkapíd ee[stit a]íttíúm alttram alttr[ús h]erríns. avt anter slagím a]bellanam íním núvlanam s]úllad víú uruvú íst . edú e]ísaí víaí mefiaí teremen n]iú staíet.


External links

Oscan in Afrikaans: Oskies
Oscan in Aragonese: Osco
Oscan in Breton: Oskeg
Oscan in Welsh: Osgeg
Oscan in German: Oskische Sprache
Oscan in Spanish: Idioma osco
Oscan in Esperanto: Oska lingvo
Oscan in French: Osque
Oscan in Galician: Lingua osca
Oscan in Italian: Lingua osca
Oscan in Latin: Lingua Osca
Oscan in Limburgan: Oskisch
Oscan in Hungarian: Oszk nyelv
Oscan in Dutch: Oskisch
Oscan in Japanese: オスク語
Oscan in Polish: Język oskijski
Oscan in Portuguese: Língua osca
Oscan in Russian: Оскский язык
Oscan in Slovak: Oskičtina
Oscan in Slovenian: Oskijščina
Oscan in Finnish: Oskin kieli
Oscan in Swedish: Oskiska
Oscan in Chinese: 奥斯坎语
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