- The Etruscan language does not survive as a literary record and has to be largely reconstructed from funerary inscriptions and some words recorded by later authors. The surviving evidence of the Etruscan language comes from a restricted literacy of an elite. The Greek script is, however, perfectly legible and requires no decipherment, merely a painstaking piecing together of vocabulary and grammar from the largely ritual usage where the language has survived. From this research, it has been concluded that the language is non-Indo-European, providing a major distinction from other contemporary languages. Inscriptions from the island of Lemnos appear to have linguistic similarity with Etruscan, and are now more generally, but not universally, interpreted as evidence of Etruscanrelated groups in the east Mediterranean rather than as an Eastern origin of the Etruscans. Indeed, the stress on the Eastern origins of the Etruscans is primarily found among some linguists. The fact that the surviving evidence of language is from an elite may have permitted the ease of movement of the language from outside through the medium of the relatively small number of people involved. Similarities to the Raetic language (from northeast Italy) have also been noted by some scholars and may relate to the impact of the Etruscans toward the north.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.