Hittite diachronic language

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Pāṇini
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Hittite diachronic language

Post by Pāṇini » 13 May 2018 23:50

The Hittite Empire was ending in flames in the 12th century BCE. The Sea Peoples, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians were all encroaching in on the southern marches of the country, Hattusa was razed—burnt to the ground by invaders. The Hittites, people of the horse, the chariot, and of a thousand gods, vanished from the historical record as if they had never been there. Their language was undeciphered until the early 19th century CE, when Bedřich Hrozný deciphered text written in the familiar cuneiform writing system of the Akkadians, but in an unknown language. He pored over the tablets, analyzed them, and proposed that the Hittite language was a member of the Proto-Indo-European family, one of the Anatolian branch, which was long extinct.

But was it really?

While I was studying grammars of obscure languages of the Middle East, I came across a pretty much unknown nugget of scholarly information—a dusty little-known grammar and lexicon of a surviving Anatolian language (Fünke et al., 1953), called Cappadocian by the scholars who wrote it, and Nasiǝl by the people who speak it—a direct descendant of Hittite. As I continue to translate this rather obscure grammar from German, I'll be posting updates on here analyzing the only remaining Anatolian language.

A brief phonological sketch:

/a e i o u ə y ø ɯ/
⟨a e i o u ǝ ü ö ı⟩

/p t t͡ʃ k b d d͡ʒ g m n s z h x v j ɸ θ/
⟨p t ç k b d c g m n s z h ħ v y f θ⟩

(C)(V)V(C)

The language is here written in a remarkably Turkic style orthography: the vowels ö and ı are only found in Turkish loanwords, and the consonant θ is found solely in words of Greek etymology. Fünke et al. say that this is based on de facto usage in the Nasiǝl-speaking community, which is more or less limited to two or three villages in Yozgat Province, Turkey. While this surprises me, I'll take their word.

I haven't seen much of the lexicon yet, but something did catch my eye: an entry saying cioba: Ziegel, nach Ägyp. ḏbt. I'm anxious to find out what other secrets this Neo-Anatolian language has to offer... [:D]

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IEPH
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Re: Hittite diachronic language

Post by IEPH » 15 May 2018 00:29

Should be interesting to see.

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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Re: Hittite diachronic language

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 15 May 2018 00:38

[<3] Hittite, it's one of my favorite IE languages, and it's underrated as a conlanging source. Looking forward to seeing more of this :)

Pāṇini
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Re: Hittite diachronic language

Post by Pāṇini » 15 May 2018 14:10

Nouns
The vast majority of nouns are declined according to a simple paradigm. Most inanimate/neuter nouns have fallen into this declension, with some frequent ones sticking around as irregular.

antuşa (man)
NOM: antuşa, antuşe
ACC: antuşan, antuşu
GEN: antuşa, antuşa
DAT: antuǝş, antuşa

Using the genitive case is held to be archaic, stuffy, and/or overly formal—the usage of a dative of possession is far more common. Irregular nouns not ending in -a (inherited or loans) have a slightly more complex declension:

paħur (fire)
NOM/ACC: paħur, paħure
GEN: paħura, paħura
DAT: paħuǝr, paħura
ERG: paħuranza, paħurantie

The ergative case is an interesting archaicism inherited from Hittite used when neuter nouns are the subject of a transitive verb; eg.

Parcuranza sanerrin yesǝz.
food-NOM good-ACC be-3SG.PRES

There is one severely irregular noun preserving PIE ablaut:

votar (water)
NOM/ACC: votar, vidor
GEN: vitena, vitena
DAT: veteǝn, vitena
ERG: vetanza, vetantie

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Pāṇini
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Re: Hittite diachronic language

Post by Pāṇini » 18 May 2018 13:53

Verbs
Verbs in Nasiǝl have two voices and two tenses; they are respectively the active voice and the mediopassive/middle voice, and past and non-past. Verb stems ending in a consonant are conjugated as follows.

har- (to have)

1SG, 1PL
2SG, 2PL
3SG, 3PL

non-past
harǝm, haruǝn
harǝ, harentǝ
harǝz, haranǝz

past
harun, harǝven
harǝ, harǝten
harat, harer

mediopassive non-past
hara, harusta
harǝtaǝt, harǝduma
harǝtaǝr, harantaǝr

mediopassive past
haraǝt, harustat
harǝtat, harǝdumat
harǝtat, harahnat

imperative
harǝtel

infinitive
haranna

Verb stems ending in a vowel have the vowel changing to i if the same vowel follows it, so it is not *varaat but variat (third person past of vara-, to burn).

An infrequently used pluperfect can be created by prefixing the past with har-, eg.,

Ammuħ harun payun-at saǝn.
1SG.NOM have-1SG.PAST give-1SG.PAST-3SG.INA.ACC 3PL.ANI.DAT
I had given it to him.

The future tense can be created by using the particle ne after the verb, eg.,

Ammuħ payǝm-at ne saǝn.
1SG.NOM have-1SG.PAST give-1SG.PRES-3SG.INA.ACC FUT 3PL.ANI.DAT
I will give it to him.

Similarly, an optative mood can be created with the particle de, for example,

Ammuħ payǝm-at de saǝn!
1SG.NOM have-1SG.PAST give-1SG.PRES-3SG.INA.ACC OPT 3PL.ANI.DAT
May I give it to him!

Native Languages:
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/aɪ kænʔ r̼̊ ʌnəɹstʲænd r̼̊ jəɹ æksɪnt r̼̊/

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