General Notes

Umbrian is an Italic language in the Osco-Umbrian family. Its chief difference with Oscan and the Sabellian dialects is in its simplification of original diphthongs, which are retained in the Oscan group.


The national Umbrian alphabet was inherited from the Etruscans. As a result, signs for /d/ and /g/ are lacking, and are represented in native Umbrian inscriptions by T and K. In inscriptions written in the Latin alphabet, the following conventions are noted: use of digraph RS for Umbrian /rs/, and S' for Umbrian Ç. There are 19 letters in all.


These changes are common to the entire Osco-Umbrian group:

  • P in place of /qu/: Umb. pis, Lat. quis.
  • B in place of /gu/: Umb. umen (from *umben), Lat. unguen.
  • /nd/ group simplified to NN: Umb. pihaner, Lat. piandi.
  • F from Indo-European /bh/ and /dh/: Umb. tefe, Lat. tibi.
  • HT in place of /kt/: Umb. rehte, Lat. recte.

    These changes are specific to Umbrian:

  • Monophthongization of diphthongs in all positions: Umb. pre, Lat. prae; Umb. ote, Lat. aut.
  • Loss of final /d/: Umb. -po, Lat. quod.
  • Loss of /l/ before /t/: Umb. muta, Lat. multa.
  • Ç for /k/ (assibilation) before front vowels: Umb. façiat, Lat. faciat.
  • I for gutturals /g/ and /k/ before /t/: Umb. aitu, Lat. agito.
  • RS for intervocalic /d/: Umb. persi, Lat. pede.
  • HT in place of /pt/: Umb. screhto, Lat. scripta.
  • V for initial /l/: Umb. vutu, Lat. lavito.


    ape, when.
    arsmor, rite, religious custom.
    combifia-, announce, command.
    eso-, divine, sacred.
    her-, to want, wish.
    mers, law.
    ner-, man, leader.
    nertr-, left, to the left.
    nesim-, near.
    persclo-, prayer, sacrifice.
    pir, fire.
    tota-, city, state, public.
    tud-, boundary, border.

    Sample Inscription: Iguvinian Table 1A

    este persklum aves anzeriates enetu
    pernaies pusnaes. preveres treplanes
    Iuve krapuvi tre buf fetu. arvia ustentu
    vatuva ferine feitu, heris vinu heri puni,
    ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvina feitu. sevum
    kutef pesnimu arsepes arves.
    pusveres treplanes tref sif kumiaf feitu
    trebe iuvie ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvina.
    supa sumtu, arvia ustentu, puni fetu,
    kutef pesnimu arsepes arves.
    preveres tesenakes tre buf fetu, marte krapuvi
    fetu ukripe fisiu, tutaper ikuvina. arviu ustentu,
    vatuva ferine fetu, puni fetu, kutef pesnimu arspes arves.
    pusveres tesenakes tref sif feliuf fetu
    fise saçi ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvina.
    puni fetu, supa sumtu, arviu ustentu. mefa,
    vestiça ustetu, fisuvi fetu, ukriper fisiu fetu,
    kapirs purtatif sakref, etraf purtitaf, etraf
    sakref, tutaper ikuvina. kutef pesnimu arsepes arves.
    preveres vehiies tref buf kalersuf fetu vufiune
    krapuvi ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvina.
    vatuva ferine fetu, heri vinu heri puni,
    arviu ustentu, kutef pesnimu arsepes arves.
    pusveres vehiies tref hapinaf fetu tefre iuvie
    ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvina. puste asiane fetu, zersef fetu,
    pelsana fetu, arvia ustentu, puni fetu, taçez pesnim
    u arsiper arvis. api habina purtiius, sursum pesuntru
    fetu, esmik vestiçam preve fiktu tefri iuvi fetu ukri
    per fisiu, tutaper ikuvina, testruku persi kapirse persum feit
    u. api ersek purtiius, enuk sursum psuntrum feitu staf
    lii uve, esmik vestiça afiktu, ukriper fisiu, tutaper ikuvin
    a feitu, nertruku persi kapirse persum feitu. puni feitu.
    api sursuf purtiius, enuk hapinaru erus titu, zersef
    kumultu, zersef kumates pesnimu.

    Evolution | Viteliu