So Znex (if they're still keen) and I had the idea to make a modern day Oscan descendent, but the first problem we have is that there isn't a whole lot of inscriptions in Oscan. The morphology, in particular the verbal morphology, and the vocabulary are both lacking. So this thread is a request for help in reconstructing Oscan.
Most of what I have is from reading through Buck's Grammar of Oscan and Umbian. Umbrian is also an interesting language with some neat innovations, but for now we'll focus on Oscan. Buck wrote that 'Oscan is the Gothic of the Italic dialects. In the conservatism and transparency of its vowel-system, it is rivalled only by Greek of all the Indo-European languages. Diphthongs are preserved intact in all positions.' Oscan also underwent anaptyxis between voiceless stops and liquids or nasals: /aragɛtu:d/ for Latin argentō - 'with silver'.
Let's start with the phonology.
/p t k/
/b d g/
/f s x/
/w l r j/
Monophthongs in stressed syllables: /iː u uː e eː ɛ ɛː a aː o/
Monophthongs in unstressed syllables: /i u e ɛ a o/
/ai ɛi oi au ou (ɛu)/
- Consonants can appear geminate.
- Stress is always word-initial
- The fricatives /f s/ were voiced intervocalically. As far as I can tell, /x/ never occurred intervocalically. /x/ might also be realised as [h]. Intevocalic /s/ never rhotacised, giving the 1st declension genitive plural ending /a:su:m/ rather than Latin -ārum.
- There is no rounded velar. It merged with /p/ making it P-Italic rather than Q-Italic . /eu/ only appears in loans from Greek.
- Is /i/ a separate phoneme? I'm thinking not as it only appears in certain conditions or where it's likely to be /i:/. This is a bit complex to try to explain.
- Was stress initial? It was definitely so in Proto-Italic and early Oscan, but may have changed to a weight based system like Latin. I don't know if there's a whole lot of evidence to argue either way but it might have come about throug language contact. The trouble with that is that Oscan had more contact with the other Sabellic languages and Greek colonies.
This post is getting long, so here is a little bonus section: Orthography
/m n/ m n
/p t k/ p t k
/b d g/ b d g
/f s x/ f s h
/w l r j/ v l r i
/(i) iː u uː e eː ɛ ɛː a aː o/ i ií u uu í íí e ee a aa ú
/ai ɛi oi au ou (ɛu)/ aí eí úí av úv ev
- z was also used to indicate /ts/. x was unused.
- Long consonants were written doubled.
- Long vowels were often marked but not completely consistently, especially in inflectional endings. The genitive ending /a:su:m/ that I mentioned earlier was written -asúm.
Any comments or thoughts on the unresolved questions? I would love some feedback or help with this. If people are interested then I will carry on with nominal morphology next.