The Umbrian language is primarily known from the Tabulae Iguvinae (Iguvium is today's Gubbio ), seven bronze plates that contain some records of religious ceremonies and statutes for the priests. The tablets were written in a variant of the old Italian alphabet , which goes back to the Etruscan script .
The inscriptions found can be divided into two groups: the ancient Umbrian texts date from the 5th century BC. BC, the late Humbrian from the 1st century BC. The latter were written in Latin script. A short time later the Umbrian died out.
The following phonetic developments from the Indo-European basic language distinguish Umbrian:
- ă and ā are retained; in the wording, ă becomes ɔ
- ĕ remains or is raised (compare for example Latin farr e a with Umbrian fars i o )
- ¢ becomes i lifted
- i becomes ĕ or remains: pere next to piri "if"
- ŏ is retained
- ō is u or o written (compare lat. ésto with Umbria estu and lat. noun with Umbria nome )
- ai becomes ɛː (compare Latin quaestur with Umbrian kvestur )
- ei usually becomes e or ee (compare Latin ito with Umbrian etu next to eetu )
- oi becomes oː (compare Latin unum with Umbrian unu ), in the final it becomes eː (compare Latin popul o with Umbrian popl e )
- au becomes oː (compare Latin taurus with Umbrian toru )
- eu (italic) becomes * ou
- ou becomes oː (compare Latin tota with Umbrian tuta )
- r disappears in the end
- l disappears before t and is sometimes represented by rs (compare Latin (pater) familiās with Umbrian fameřiās )
- m / n are very weak before consonants and at the end of a word (compare Latin ostendito with Umbrian ustentu , also ustetu )
- ns rarely becomes f (compare Latin mensam with Umbrian mefa )
- Dentals between vowels become ř (rs).
- As in Latin, Rhotazism also occurs in Umbrian . However, sometimes s becomes r at the end of the word .
- The original velare k is palatalized before e / i : to ç, ś, s .
- Michel Bréal: Les tables eugubines. Texts, traduction et commentaire, avec une grammaire et une introduction historique . F. Vieweg, Paris 1875. 2 Volumnes, Pp. LXVII - 395, Pp. 13, 1 album (Photography: Comte Ranghiasci-Brancaleone).
- Jürgen Untermann: Dictionary of the Oskisch-Umbrian. Winter, Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-8253-0963-0
- Rex E. Wallace: The Sabellic Languages of Ancient Italy (Languages of the World / Materials 371). LINCOM Europe, Munich 2007. ISBN 978-3-89586-990-7