Camunic language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Native to the south side of the Central Alps (Valcamonica, Valtellina), Italy
Region Italian Peninsula
Ethnicity Camunni
Era first millennium BC[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xcc
Linguist list
Glottolog camu1235[2]

The Camunic language is an extinct language which was spoken in the first millennium BC in the Valcamonica and Valtellina valleys of the Central Alps.


Alphabet of Sondrio

The extant corpus is carved on rock, similar to the rock carvings of Valcamonica. There are at least 170 known inscriptions, the majority of which are only a few words long. The writing system used is a variant of the north-Etruscan alphabet, known as the Camunian alphabet or alphabet of Sondrio. Longer inscriptions show that Camunic writing used boustrophedon.

Its name derives from the people of the Camunni, who lived during the Iron Age in Val Camonica and were the creators of many of the stone carvings in the area. Abecedariums found in Nadro and Piancogno have been dated to between 500 BC and 50 AD.[3]

The amount of material is insufficient to decipher the language, or even to establish what relationship it has to other languages. However, it is thought that it may be related to Etruscan and Raetic.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Camunic at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Camunic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ "Iscrizioni camune a cura di Adolfo Zavaroni" (in Italian). Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  4. ^


  • Mancini, Alberto. 1980. "Le iscrizioni della Valcamonica" in Studi Urbinati di storia, filosofia e letteratura. Supplemento linguistico 2, pp. 75–166.
  • Mancini, Alberto. 1991. "Iscrizioni retiche e iscrizioni camune. Due ambiti a confronto" in Quaderni del Dipartimento di Linguistica, Università degli studi di Firenze 2, pp. 77–93.
  • Markey, Thomas L. 2008. "Shared symbolics, genre difussion, token perceptions and late literacy in North-western Europe" in NOWELE 54/55, pp. 5–62.
  • Schumacher, Stefan. 2007. "Val Camonica, Inschriften" in Reallexikon der germanischen Al­tertums­kunde. Band 35: Speckstein bis Zwiebel. Ed. Heinrich Beck et al., Berlin – New York, pp. 334–337.
  • Tibiletti Bruno, Maria Grazia. 1990. "Nuove iscrizioni camune" in Quaderni camuni 49-50, pp. 29–171.
  • Tibiletti Bruno, Maria Grazia. 1992. "Gli alfabetari" in Quaderni camuni 60, pp. 309–380.

External links[edit]