Italic language formerly spoken in southern and central Italy, related closely to Umbrian and more distantly to Latin.It was probably the native tongue of the Samnite people of Italy's central mountainous region. Oscan was gradually displaced by Latin and apparently became extinct by the end of the 1st century AD. Modern knowledge of it comes from some 250 inscriptions written in a colonial Latin alphabet, the Greek alphabet, and an alphabet derived from that used for Etruscan.
* * *one of the Italic languages closely related to Umbrian and Volscian and more distantly related to Latin and Faliscan. Spoken in southern and central Italy, it was probably the native tongue of the Samnite people of the central mountainous region of southern Italy. Oscan was gradually displaced by Latin and apparently became completely extinct by the end of the 1st century AD. Modern knowledge of Oscan comes from some 250 documents and inscriptions written in several alphabets: a rustic or colonial Latin alphabet, the Greek alphabet, and a native alphabet derived from Etruscan. Although similar to Latin, Oscan shows a series of different sound shifts (Oscan aasa: Latin āra “altar”; Oscan pid: Latin quid “what”), and a divergent vocabulary.
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Oscan — [äs′kən] n. [< L Oscus, Oscan + AN] 1. a member of an ancient people that lived in Campania, in S Italy 2. the Italic language of this people adj. of the Oscans or their language or culture … English World dictionary
Oscan — Os can, a. Of or pertaining to the Osci, a primitive people of Campania, a province of ancient Italy. n. The language of the Osci. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
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Oscan — noun Etymology: Latin Oscus Date: 1753 1. a member of a people of ancient Italy occupying Campania 2. the language of the Oscan people see Indo European languages table … New Collegiate Dictionary