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(also Hattian, Khattish, Proto-Hittite), an ancient language of the peoples of central Asia Minor. Hattic, which was supplanted by the Indo-European languages Hittite and Palaic, is attested by invocations to the gods interspersed in Hittite cuneiform texts. Only those Hattic texts provided with a Hittite translation are decipherable.
Hattic is an agglutinative language. No distinction is made between nouns and adjectives. Nominal and verbal stems may be preceded by locative elements similar to prepositions or pre-verbs. Grammatical relations of the verb are expressed primarily through a string of prefixes that conform to a set order; there are groups of prefixes that may be assigned to a single position. Usually, three or four of the ten positions are occcupied. If the chain of prefixes is traced from the beginning of the word to the stem, the verbal prefixes indicate prohibition, desire, location of the subject, reflexivity, the subject (singular or plural number), location of the object, and the object. The verb is not marked for tense or person.
Grammatical relations of the noun are expressed through prefixes that mark such categories as possession and collective and plural number and through suffixes that indicate the dative case, ablative case, and absence of possession in oblique cases. The marking of case forms is optional.
Hattic has no ergative case, but the subject-object conjugation of verbs and the distinction between verbs of action and verbs of state justify classifying it as an ergative language. Some linguists have suggested that Hattic is related to the Abkhazo-Adyg languages because of the similarity between the specific verbal structures of these languages. Scholars are uncertain, however, of the phonetic characteristics of the Hattic morphemes and do not have precise information as to the morphemes’ significance; these obstacles, compounded by the 3,000-year gap separating Hattic and the Abkhazo-Adyg languages, make comparisons unpersua-sive.
REFERENCESD’iakonov, I. M. Iazyki drevnei Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Dunaievskaia, I. M. “Printsipy struktury khattskogo (protokhettskogo) glagola.” Peredneaziatskii sbornik, 1961, vol. 1, pp. 57–159.
Dunaievskaia, I. M. “Zum Hattischen.” Orientalische Literaturzeitung, 1973, vol. 68, no. 1/2.
Kammenhuber, A. “Das Hattische.” In Handbuch der Orientalistik, division 1, vol. 2, fasc. 2. Leiden-Cologne, 1969.
Schuster, H. S. Die hattisch-hethitischen Bilinguen, vol. 1, part 1. Leiden, 1974.
I. M. DUNAIEVSKAIA