Iberian language

Formerly spoken in


The Iberian language was spoken in the eastern and southeastern regions of the Iberian Peninsula. That is not very far from the researched people of the Iberian Iberian spoken, which is to be classified as pre-Hispanic, was talked about in the period between the 7th and 1st century BC until it detached from the Latin spoken by the Romans been.

  • 4.1 Today's knowledge of the Iberian language
  • 4.2 Phonology 4.2.1 vowels
  • 4.2.2 diphthongs
  • 4.2.3 consonants

Dissemination of the Iberian language

The Iberian language was widespread in the area of the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The northernmost extent of the language was limited by the French today Hérault river. Important relics of the language were found in Ensérune, in an oppidum, so one city after Celtic pattern, which was permeated by Iberian and Celtic elements. The southern border, in what is now southern Spain, drawn by Porcuna where you found artful rider statuettes. The distribution in the interior of the peninsula is not further clarified, but it is thought that one helped himself to the Ebro towards the Iberian languages.

Hypotheses on the origin

The Iberian language seems to be a language isolate. However, there are a number of hypotheses with which the origin of this language is to be explained:

  • Contestanos ( De Hoz 1993): In this theory it is assumed by De Hoz, that the cultural diversity of the Iberians be attributed also to the language would that also possessed a large variety.
  • Urn field culture ( Rodríguez Ramos 2003): In this hypothesis, the relationship between the Iberian, the Basque and Aquitanian is recognized. One sees the Iberian language as a variant of the language family of the urn field culture.
  • Catalonia ( Velaza 2006): The Iberian could have its roots in the north of Catalonia, since there the oldest Iberian inscriptions have been found ( Ullastret ).


The oldest inscription that was written by the Iberian script is dated to the 5th or 4th century BC, the most recent was in the 1st century BC or beginning of 1st century AD written. . To date, it has been discovered about two thousand inscriptions that were written in the same font. Most of these inscriptions are short texts that can be found on ceramic as a base, and press the owner of the ceramic piece from; logically can be many names found in these texts. Longer texts were written on sheets of lead; the longest text found comes from Yátova, from the Comunidad Autónoma Valencia and comprises a total of over six hundred characters.

There are three well-known Iberian writings:

  • Northeastern Iberian script: Dual variant (4th- 3rd century BC)
  • Nondual variant ( 2nd to 1st century BC)

Northeastern Iberian script

The nordiberische document also briefly as the Iberian font known because, were written by sub man of 1990, 95 percent of all previously discovered texts that were written in Iberian fonts with the nordiberischen alphabet. As the name suggests, this publication has been found almost exclusively on found objects from the Northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, mostly. Between the coast of Languedoc- Roussillon and the Spanish city of Alicante today However, they also found the Ebro Valley in use.

The nordostiberische writing was almost completely deciphered.

Southeastern Iberian script

The southeastern Iberian script, as well as the northeastern, a semi- syllabary, but more closely resembles the tartessianischen font that is used in today's southern Portugal. In Spain, the signature was applied as in the triangle of Badajoz, Seville and Cordoba. The southeastern writing was often discovered in Murcia, Andalusia, Valencia, Albacete and Alicante.

This document has not yet been fully deciphered.

Graeco - Iberian script

The Graeco - Iberian writing is a direct adaptation of the Ionic version of the Greek alphabet and was adapted to the Iberian writing. The inscriptions that used this writing system, were found mainly in Alicante or Murcia.


Today's knowledge of the Iberian language

We know very little with certainty about the Iberian language. The phase of information gathering from the texts found have already completed a linguist and now go on to explore the grammatical structure of the language.

The previous hypotheses of this language are therefore still not fully covered, much of the inspiration for the theses gained linguist primarily by the findings of bilingual texts.



The Iberian has the five vowels / a, e, i, o, u /, / a, e, i / appear more frequently than / o, u /. There is evidence of the existence of allophones; it is assumed that the volume (< M> ) could be one such. It seems to have been no distinction between long and short vowels, despite other representation in Greek authors.


Diphthongs are always a combination vowel semi- vowel, eg / ai / ( śaitabi ), / ei / ( neitin ) and / au / ( Laur ). Also / ui / occurs.


  • Vibrants: There are the trills and ŕ r. There are among linguists is no consensus on the differences between these trills. Correa struck before 1994 that à is a voiced alveolar tap and r a connecting voiced alveolar Vibrant. Ten years later, Rodriguez Ramos preferred that r is a retroflex, and thus followed the theory Ballester from the year 2001 that r is a uvualer fricative. Four years later, however, Ballester changed his mind and suggested that r is a voiced alveolar tap and that the voiced alveolar ŕ Vibrant is. Both r à appear word-initially.
  • Lateral: laterally L is usually interpreted as a [l]. One can find this sound very seldom end of the word; there are alternations with à, so a complementary distribution is possible: aŕikal - he ~ aŕikaŕ -bi.


In the Iberian language, a larger number of affixes is known to have been specifically applied in name. In the Iberian these words were probably more of a kind of post position and were agglutinating ( or clitics ), nichtdeklinierend used. The following is a list of smaller affixes which have hitherto been well known:

  • - ar: This form appeared in use with the first names to indicate possession.
  • En: Also this post position was used for holding indicative purposes. Basque has an en - or arene is in the genitive forms.
  • - ka: This post position appears to specify the recipient of a gift.
  • Th: Is probably due to the doer or is used in the Ablativform.
  • - sken: Was found on coins and specifies the name of a city or a nation again to indicate possession, or it was used in the genitive plural.
  • K: was used to illustrate the plural; -k is also a plural marker in the Basque language.

Relationship between the Iberian and Basque

Whether the Basque and Iberian are two languages ​​that belong to the same family, is still a controversial question. Many experts on the Iberian language suggests that there is a relationship between the Iberian and the Aquitanian, a precursor of the Basque language. However, there is not enough evidence for such a relationship. The hypothesis that there was a language contact is not backed up. The lexical similarities in both languages ​​could be grown from language contact, the grammatical overlap could also indicate a Sprachbund. Similar to this phenomenon are the similarities of the old Spanish and Basque. The languages ​​do not belong to the same language family, but have some grammatical similarities. However, still need to follow several scientific studies to prove the relationship between both languages ​​- or disprove.

Viewed from a historical perspective, the first features between the Iberian and Basque were the following two:

  • The suffixes -sken/-ken on Iberian coins ( which was similar to the genitive plural form on other ancient coins ) with the Basque plural -k and the genitive - s;
  • Iberian cities containing the particles ili (such as Iliberri ). These particles is now compared with the Basque importance for the city ( hiri ).

Although other particles ( like eban; ars ,- ka ,- te, among others ) have also suggested the importance of these particles in the Iberian remains controversial. The main arguments that confirm a relationship between the Iberian and Basque, are mentioned here:

  • Phonetic: Proto - Basque phonology, first proposed by Michelena, seems with what you now know about the Iberian phonology, coincide in many respects. Especially the lack of text m appears to be significant for both languages.
  • Name: Aquitanisch - Latin inscriptions include the names of people and deities, to be compared with modern Basque words, but also grammatical and lexical similarities with Iberian become visible.
  • On Iberian grave stones can often find the inscription Åre take, another variant is Åre Teike that is, with the Latin words hic situs est ( here) how to compare Hübner suspected. Schuchardt compared these Iberian words in 1907 with the Basque importance ( h) ara dago is.
  • The Iberian word ekiar ( he made ) is possibly the Basque word ekiar ( make ) related.
  • Also the Iberian word salir, which means coin, money or value is compared sari with the Basque word that is translated similarly.

Orduna (2005) and Ferrer i Jané (2007) found parallels in the number of words of Iberian and Basque. However, since the exact value of the Iberian number words is not known for sure, the comparison is considered to be controversial.

Personal names

Thanks to the lead plate of Ascoli, which has Latin inscriptions, many Iberian names are known. Was listed on the lead plate of Ascoli the names Iberian cavalry who were in the service of the Roman army. Iberian name consist usually of two elements. Both elements usually consisted of two syllables, such as sub- man wrote in 1998. The element iltiŕ be found for example in the following names: iltiŕaŕker, iltiŕbaś, iltiŕtikeŕ, tursiltiŕ, baiseiltiŕ or bekoniltiŕ. The following list contains some of these elements or proposed elements:

Abar, aibe, ail, ain, aitu, Aiun, aker, albe, Alor, to, Anar, Arbi, Arki, ARS, asai, aster, ata, atin, atun, aunin, AUR, austin, baiser, Balor, balke, Bartas, BAS, Bastok, bekon, belauŕ, Beles, lever, bene, BER, beri, Beron, Betan, Betin, bikir, bilos, bin, bir, bitu, Biur, Bolai, boron, BOS, boton, Ekes, ekar, eler, ena, esto, eten, eter, iar, iaun, IBES, ibeis, ike, Ikor, iltiŕ, Iltur, inte, Fisker, istan, iunstir, iur kaisur, Kaker, Kaltur, kani Kares, karko, katu, Kere, Kiba, kine, Kitar, kon, Koro, Kors, kules, kurtar, lako Laur, leis, lor, lusban, nalbe, neitin, neŕse, nes NIS, nios, Ortin, Sakar, sakin, Saltu, Sani, SAR, seken, Selki sike, sili, sine, sir, soket situ, sensor, Sosin, Suise, taker, talsku, tan Tanek, TANES, TAR, Tarban, tartin, TAS, Tautin, Teita TEKER, Tibas, cians, tikirs, tikis, tileis, tolor, tuitui, Tumar, TURs turkir, Tortin, ulti, uninteresting, Urke, ustain, mbar, nḿkei.

Some names have a simpler structure. In the inscriptions of the lead plate of Ascoli one finds the names beles, carrier -do and bivr -no, contained in the by Ullastret neitin and Laur -to, bartas -ko -ko and Sani in other writings of the Iberian name.

Iberian names contain repeating patterns of morphological components: eter / eten / ete in the same variation as Iltur / iltun / iltu, kere / keres as lako / Lakos or alos / alor / alo and bikis / bikir / biki.

Some Iberian name specifications found in Aquitaine and the Basque Country similarities. This has been described by experts as Mitxelena as " name reservoirs ". This connection, however, remains apart from a few cases, purely hypothetical. But some linguists maintain an antique Sprachbund quite possible.