Eteocypriot is an extinct pre-Indo-European language that was spoken in Cyprus by the pre-Hellenic population until the Iron Age. The name means "true" or "original Cypriot" parallel to Eteocretan, both of which names are used by modern scholarship to mean the pre-Greek languages of those places. Eteocypriot was written in the Cypriot syllabary, a syllabic script derived from Linear A (via the Cypro-Minoan variant Linear C). The language was under pressure from Arcadocypriot Greek from about the 10th century BC and finally became extinct in about the 4th century BC.
|Native to||Formerly spoken in Cyprus|
|Region||Eastern Mediterranean Sea|
|Era||10th to 4th century BC|
One of the Eteocypriot inscriptions from Amathus
The language is as yet unknown except for a small vocabulary attested in bilingual inscriptions. Such topics as syntax and possible inflection or agglutination remain an enigma. Partial translations depend to a large extent on the language or language group assumed by the translator, but there is no consistency. It is conjectured by some linguists to be related to the Etruscan and Lemnian languages, by others to be related to Hurrian, and by some to Northwest Semitic. Those who do not advocate any of those theories often adopt the default of an unknown pre-Greek language. Due to the small number of texts found, there is currently much unproven speculation.
Eteocypriot may be descended from the language of the Cypro-Minoan inscriptions, a collection of poorly-understood inscriptions from Bronze Age Cyprus. Both Cypro-Minoan and Eteocypriot share a common genitive suffix -o-ti.