World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hattic language


Hattic language

Region Anatolia
Ethnicity Hattians
Era 3rd to 2nd millennia BCE[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xht
Linguist list
Glottolog hatt1246[2]

Hattic (Hattian) was a non-Indo-European, agglutinative[3][4] 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.[5] The Hittite term for Hattic was hattili, after the city of Hattus, whereas the Hittite dynasty called their own language nešili 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.

The heartland of this oldest attested language of Anatolia, before the arrival of nešili speakers, ranged from Hattusa (then called "Hattus") northward to Nerik. Other cities mentioned in Hattic include Tuhumiyara and Tissaruliya. The nešili speakers conquered Hattus from Kanesh to its south, in the 1700s BCE. They eventually absorbed or replaced the Hattic speakers (Hattians); but they retained the name Hatti for the region.


  • Corpus 1
  • Vocabulary & Grammar 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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 nešili-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 Hattili".[6]

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 incantation 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 conservative view is that Hattic is a language isolate that is different from neighboring Indo-European and Semitic languages, though, based on toponyms and personal names, it may have been related to the otherwise unattested Kaskian language. Certain similarities between Hattic and both Northwest (e.g., Abkhaz) and South Caucasian (Kartvelian) languages have led to assumptions by some scholars about the possibility of a linguistic block stretching from central Anatolia to the Caucasus.[7][8][9][10]

Vocabulary & Grammar

Known words include:

  • alef = "tongue"
  • ashaf = "god"
  • fa-zari = "humankind, population"
  • fel = "house"
  • *findu = "wine" (found in the compound findu-qqaram "wine-ladle")
  • fur = "land"
  • Furun-Katte = "King of the Land", the Hattic war god
  • Furu-Semu = Hattic sun goddess
  • Hanfasuit = Hattic throne goddess
  • hilamar = "temple"
  • Kasku = the Hattic moon god
  • katte = "king"
  • -nifas = "to sit"
  • pinu = "child"
  • zari = "mortal"
  • -zi = "to put"

Hattic formed a collective plural by attaching the prefix fa-: e.g., fa-shaf "gods". It formed conventional plurals with a le- prefix: "children" = le-pinu. The genitive case, which signifies 'of' in English, was declined with the suffix -(u)n (e.g. fur "land" but furun "of the land"). While some linguists like Polomé & Winter have claimed the accusative case was marked with es- (giving the example of ess-alep "word"),[11] this has been identified as a pronominal clitic meaning "their" by others.


  1. ^ Hattic at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Hattic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Kevin James, A Mystery in Clay: Codes, Languages, and a Journey Through Time to the Last Ice Age, p.148, AuthorHouse, 2009; quoted "They called themselves Hattie, and spoke a non-Indo-European language called Hattic."
  4. ^ The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 22, p.593; quoted "The non-Indo-European Hattic is an agglutinative language"
  5. ^ Hattian – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Akurgal, Ekrem – The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations ( p.4 and p.5)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ John Colarusso, Peoples of the Caucasus; in Introduction to the Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life (1997); Pepper Pike, Ohio: Eastword Publications
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Polomé, Winter. Reconstructing languages and cultures, 1992. p.455


  • Akurgal, EkremThe 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. text on line

External links

  • A detailed description by Igor Diakonov (Russian)
  • Hattic grammar by A. S. Kassian (Russian)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.