Sull’alfabeto del celtico d’Italia
The Lepontic alphabet derives from the Etruscan alphabet and it is used for the Celtic inscriptions of Italy. The history of this alphabet provides interesting insights in the topic of language contact and, particularly starting from the moments when the Lepontic language met other linguistic traditions and cultures, it coincides with turning points in the history of ancient Italy. The first important historical moment is when, in the seventh century BCE, the Celts of Italy come into contact with the Etruscans: the most momentous consequence of this event is the creation of the Lepontic alphabet via the intermediary of the Etruscan variety (circa 600 BCE), which reveals the Celts’ wish to be distinguishable through their own typology of writing. Later on, in the 1st century BCE, the Romanization of Celtic Italy leads to the adoption of the Latin alphabet: in this context, the Lepontic alphabet may continue to be used as a marked variety, the outcome of a conscious and ideologically-motivated choice.