Messapic was spoken by Illyrian tribes (Yapodes, Yapiges etc.) from the 8th to the 1st century BC, until Rome conquered this territory and Latin colonists assimilated aboriginal languages. Messapic phonetics includes the transition of Indo-European a, e, o to e, a. Diphthongs were all preserved: ai, au, eu, oi, ei, as well as sonant vowels l, r, m, n and many Indo-European consonants.
Messapic used 5 cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and instrumental), some forms of perfect, aorist and optative mood were discovered. The studies of Messapic are complicated due to lack of lexical data - too many personal names and little morphological material.