Various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch (Faliscan and members of the Sabellian group, including Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene, and other Indo-European branches such as Celtic, Venetic and Messapic) originally used the alphabet. Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian, North Picene, and South Picene all derive from an Etruscan form of the alphabet.
Egyptian hieroglyphs 32 c. BCE
It is not clear whether the process of adaptation from the Greek alphabet took place in Italy from the first colony of Greeks, the city of Cumae, or in Greece/Asia Minor. It was in any case a Western Greek alphabet. In the alphabets of the West, X had the sound value , Ψ stood for ; in Etruscan: X = , Ψ = or (Rix 202–209).
The earliest Etruscan abecedarium, the Marsiliana (near Grosseto) tablet which dates to c. 700 BC, lists 26 letters corresponding to contemporary forms of the Greek alphabet which retained Digamma, san and qoppa but which had not yet developed omega.
Until about 600 BC, the archaic form of the Etruscan alphabet remained practically unchanged, and the direction of writing was free. From the 6th century, however, the alphabet evolved, adjusting to the phonology of the Etruscan language, and letters representing phonemes nonexistent in Etruscan were dropped. By 400 BC, it appears that all of Etruria was using the classical Etruscan alphabet of 20 letters, mostly written from left to right: