Ben Fortson, professor of Greek, Latin and Linguistics, is one of the leading experts on the languages of Ancient Italy. As a testament to standing that he holds in this field, he was invited to deliver a keynote addresses at the Twenty-Sixth Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference held in October in Los Angeles. The title of Ben's presentation was "You say coquina, I say popina: Calling the whole thing off?". In his presentation, Ben evaluates evidence about the dialectology of the Sabellic languages, a subgroup of ancient Italic languages related to Latin. The abstract of his presentation is given below.
You say coquina, I say popina: Calling the whole thing off?
Sabellic is a group of fragmentarily preserved ancient Italic languages related to Latin, whose best attested members are Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene. The corpus of these languages has grown substantially over the last several decades; a new comprehensive edition that appeared in 2011, offering many new readings and interpretations, has spurred renewed interest in the dialectology of these languages. Some recent scholarship has argued that the new material cast doubts on all the subgrouping models previously proposed, because a number of features that had been used for subgrouping turn out to be einzelsprachlich innovations that diffused in the historical period. While the material is indeed often difficult to interpret due to the fragmentary nature of the evidence, I argue that rejection of all previous subgrouping attempts is too hasty and negative, and that the evidence, when more carefully considered, still supports the division of Sabellic into an Osco-Umbrian group on the one hand and a South Picene/Pre-Samnite group on the other.