Hattic language

Hattic language

Infobox Language
extinct=around 1100 BC?

Hattic was a language spoken by the Hattians in Asia Minor between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC. Scholars call this language 'Hattic' to distinguish it from the Hittite language--the Indo-European language of the Hittite Empire. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-256934/Hattian Hattian - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ]

The heartland of this oldest attested language of Anatolia, before the arrival of Nesian (i.e., "Hittite") speakers, ranged from Hattusa (which they called "Hattus") northward to Nerik. Other cities mentioned in Hattic include Tuhumiyara and Tissaruliya.

The Hittites conquered Hattus from Kanesh to its south, and thence eventually absorbed or replaced the Hattic speakers (Hattians); but they retained the name Hatti for the region.

The Hittite term for Hattic was "hattili" after the city of Hattus, whereas the Hittite dynasty called their own language "nesili" after their city of origin Kanesh. The form "Hittite" in English originally comes from biblical Heth, quite possibly connected to common Assyrian and Egyptian designations of "Land of the Hatti" (Khatti) west of the Euphrates. It is unknown what native speakers of "hattili" called their own language.


No documents have been found in which the native Hattic speakers wrote their own language. Scholars today rely on indirect sources or mentions by their neighbours and successors, the Nesian-speaking Hittites. Some Hattic words can be found in religious tablets of Hittite priests, dating from the 14th and 13th centuries BC. Those passages contained between the lines of the text signs with the explanation "the priest is now speaking in Hattian". [ Akurgal, Ekrem - The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations ( p.4 and p.5) ]

Roots of Hattic words can also be found in the names of mountains, rivers, cities and gods. Other Hattic words can be found in some mythological texts. The most important of these is the myth "The Moon God who fell from the Sky", written in both Hattic language and Hittite.

The catalogued Hattic documents from Hattusa span CTH 725-745. Of these CTH 728, 729, 731, 733, and 736 are Hattic / Hittite bilinguals. CTH 737 is a Hattic incantion for the festival at Nerik. One key (if fragmentary) bilingual is the story of "The Moon God Who Fell from the Sky".

There are additional Hattic texts in Sapinuwa, which had not been published as of 2004.


The Hittites used Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform for their own language, and they applied this system to the Hattic language as well.

In the Hittite form of cuneiform, all sibilants are written with "sh" phonograms. Hittite scribes applied this to Hattic as well.

Language characteristics

The Hattic language is a language peculiar to itself and completely different from any Indo-European or Semitic language.

Known words include:
* child = "pinu";
* god = "shapu";
* moon god = "Kasku";
* sun goddess = "Wurusemu";
* temple = "hilamar".

Hattic formed a "collective" plural by adding a "wa-" prefix: "e.g.", "The Gods" = "washapu". It formed conventional plurals with a "le-" prefix: "children" = "lepinu".

According to some specialists Hattic is related to the Northwest Caucasian (Circassian) family. [ Ivanov, Vyacheslav V., "On the Relationship of Hattic to the Northwest Caucasian Languages," in B. B. Piotrovskij, Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Vladislav G. Ardzinba, eds., Anatoliya - Ancient Anatolia, Moscow: Nauka (1985) 26 - 59 (in Russian)] [ John Colarusso, "Peoples of the Caucasus"; in Introduction to the "Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life" (1997); Pepper Pike, Ohio: Eastword Publications ] Some striking parallels also point toward a possible genetic link to the Abkhaz-Adyghean languages [Ardzinba, V.G., 1979. “Nekotorye sxodnye strukturnye priznaki xattskogo i abxazo-adygskix jazykov”. Peredneasiatskij Sbornik III: istorija i filologija stran drevnego vostoka, 26-37. Moscow: Nauka] [Dunaevskaja, I. M. & D´jakonov, I. M. 1979. “Xattskij (protoxettskij) jazyk”. Jazyki Azii i Afriki, III. Jazyki drevnej perednej Azii (nesemitskie), Iberijsko-Kavkazskie jazyki, Paleoaziatskie jazyki, ed. by G. D. Sanžeev, 79-83. Moskva. Nauka. ] However, this characterization is held in serious doubt by scholars of Hittitology. This point of view, is not universally accepted and other scholars, such as Soysal, say that any relationship has at present not been satisfactorily proved. Yet other scholars propose a relationship with other languages of the Caucasus, for example Girbal with the Kartvelian languages.



*Akurgal, Ekrem - "The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations"; Publications of the Republic of Turkey; Ministry of Culture; 2001; 300 pages; ISBN 975-17-2756-1
*Ardzinba, Vladislav. (1974): Some Notes on the Typological Affinity Between Hattian and North-West Caucasian (Abkhazo-Adygian) Languages. In: "Internationale Tagung der Keilschriftforscher der sozialistischen Länder", Budapest, 23.-25. April 1974. "Zusammenfassung der Vorträge" (Assyriologica 1), p. 10-15.
*Ardzinba, V.G. (1979): “Nekotorye sxodnye strukturnye priznaki xattskogo i abxazo-adygskix jazykov”. "Peredneasiatskij Sbornik III: istorija i filologija stran drevnego vostoka", 26-37. Moscow: Nauka
*Chirikba, Viacheslav (1996): "Common West Caucasian. The Reconstruction of its Phonological System and Parts of its Lexicon and Morphology." Leiden: CNWS Publications, 452 pp. [Chapter XI. "The relation of West Caucasian to Hattic", p. 406-432] .
*Dunaevskaja, Irina. (1973): "Bemerkungen zu einer neuen Darstellung altkleinasiatischer Sprachen. 2. Zum Hattischen." In: "Orientalische Literaturzeitung" 68, Leipzig, 1/2.
* Дунаевская И. М. О структурном сходстве хаттского языка с языками северо-западного Кавказа. — "Сборник в честь академика" Н. А. Орбели. — М.-Л., 1960.
*Dunaevskaja, I. M. & D´jakonov, I. M. 1979. “Xattskij (protoxettskij) jazyk”. In: "Jazyki Azii i Afriki, III. Jazyki drevnej perednej Azii (nesemitskie), Iberijsko-Kavkazskie jazyki, Paleoaziatskie jazyki, ed. by G. D. Sanžeev", p. 79-83. Moskva. Nauka.
*Girbal, Christian. (1986): "Beiträge zur Grammatik des Hattischen" (Europäische Hochschulschriften Reihe XXI, Bd. 50). Frankfurt am Main, Bern, New York: Verlag Peter Lang, V+201 pages.
*Ivanov, Vyacheslav V., "On the Relationship of Hattic to the Northwest Caucasian Languages," in B. B. Piotrovskij, Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Vladislav G. Ardzinba, eds., Drevnyaya Anatoliya - Ancient Anatolia, Moscow: Nauka (1985) 26-59. In Russian with English summary.
*Kammenhuber, Annelis (1969): "Das Hattische." In: "Handbuch der Orientalistik", Abteilung I, Bd II, Abschn. 1/2.
*Klinger, Jörg. (1996): (StBoT 37)" Untersuchungen zur Rekonstruktion der hattischen Kultschicht." Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, xx+916 p.
*Rizza, Alfredo. (2007): "I pronomi enclitici nei testi etei di traduzione dal Hattico". Pavia. (Studia Mediterranea 20).
*Schuster, H.-S. (1974): "Die hattisch-hethitischen Bilinguen. I. Einleitung, Texte und Kommentar. Teil 1." Leiden: E.J. Brill.
*Soysal, Oğuz (2004): "Hattischer Wortschatz in hethitischer Textüberlieferung", Leiden/Boston: Brill.
*Taracha, P. (1995): "Zum Stand der hattischen Studien: Mögliches und Unmögliches in der Erforschung des Hattischen." In: "Atti del II Congresso Internaziomale di Hittitologia a curo di Onofrio Carruba" - Mauro Giorgieri - Clelia Mora. Studia mediterranea. 9. Gianni Iuculano Editore. Pavia, p. 351-358.
*Kevin Tuite (Université de Montréal): "The rise and fall and revival of the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis". [http://www.mapageweb.umontreal.ca/tuitekj/caucasus/IberoCaucasian.pdf text on line]

ee also


External links

* [http://www.philology.ru/linguistics4/dunayevskaya-dyakonov-79.htm A detailed description] by Igor Diakonov (in Russian)

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