Hittite-Luwian Languages

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hittite-Luwian Languages


(also Anatolian languages), an extinct group of Indo-European languages that were spoken by peoples inhabiting Asia Minor and adjacent territories in the second and first millennia B.C. The relationship between the Hit-tite-Luwian languages and the other Indo-European languages remains unclear, but most data indicate that the former are related to the languages of the western area.

The Hittite-Luwian languages are divided into two subgroups: the Luwian, in which the languages are interrelated to a high degree, and the Hittite; the languages belonging to the latter subgroup have not been strictly determined by linguists. The Luwian subgroup includes Luwian cuneiforms (14th to 12th centuries); Luwian hieroglyphs, also known as Hittite hieroglyphs (16th to eighth centuries); Lycian A and B (seventh to fourth centuries); Pisidian (second century); and, evidently, Lycian, Isaurian, and Cilician, which are attested only in personal and place names.

Palaic, which was spoken from the 14th to 12th centuries and is attested by texts deriving from an earlier period, seems to have occupied an intermediate position between the two subgroups. Also unclear is the relationship of Sidetic (fifth to third centuries) to the Hittite-Luwian languages. Hittite proper is represented in numerous texts dating from the 18th to 12th centuries. Of the later languages, Lydian (seventh to fourth centuries) and Carian (eighth to fourth centuries) are closely related to Hittite.

Because of their archaic nature, the data provided by the Hit-tite-Luwian languages are important to the comparative historical study of Indo-European languages.


Dunaevskaia, I. M. lazyk khettskikh ieroglifov. Moscow, 1969.
Sommer, F. Hethiter und Hethitisch. Stuttgart, 1947.
Handbuch der Orientalistik, vol. 2, fasc. 2: Altkleinasiatische Sprachen. Leiden-Cologne, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.