Osco-Umbrian languages

Sabellic, Sabellian
Ancient south and central Italy
Extinct1st millennium BC-1st millennium AD
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Iron Age Italy.svg
Approximate distribution of languages in Iron Age Italy during the sixth century BC

The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced by Latin, as the power of Ancient Rome expanded. They developed from the middle of the 1st millennium BC to the early centuries of the 1st millennium AD. The languages are known almost exclusively from inscriptions, principally of Oscan and Umbrian, but there are also some Osco-Umbrian loanwords in Latin.

Relationship with the Italic languages

Following an original theory by Antoine Meillet (1866–1936), the Osco-Umbrian languages were traditionally considered a branch of the Italic languages, a language family that grouped Latin and Faliscan together with several other related languages.[2] However, this unitary scheme has been criticized by, among others, Alois Walde (1869–1924), Vittore Pisani (1899–1990) and Giacomo Devoto (1897–1974), who proposed a classification of the Italic languages into two distinct Indo-European branches. This view has gained acceptance in the second half of the 1900s, although the exact processes of formation and penetration into Italy remains the object of research.[3]