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What do Hittite, Ayoreo, and Old Italian have in common? Cross-linguistic perspectives on Hittite clause-linkage strategies

  • Guglielmo Inglese (University of Pavia, University of Bergamo)
Wednesday 8 March 2017
P.N. van Eyckhof 2
P.N. van Eyckhof 2
2311 BV Leiden

Guglielmo Inglese, a visiting scholar from the University of Pavia and the University of Bergamo, will deliver a presentation on sentence connectives in Hittite. 

There will be ample room for questions and discussion. Afterwards, there will be drinks in the Common Room of LUCL, courtesy of ‘Stichting VIET’.

Although the presentation deals with a Hittitological subject, the talk has been made accessible to non-specialists as well. Therefore, staff members, PhD candidates and students of all linguistic disciplines are more than welcome to attend!


In this talk I present a new investigation of the Old Hittite sentence connectives nu, šu, and ta, with a focus on their occurrence after subordinate clauses. Although this phenomenon is well known to Hittitologists, a comprehensive account of the synchronic function and the origin of this peculiar construction is still missing. This study aims at partly fulfilling this gap. Based on a detailed corpus analysis of original Old Hittite texts, the occurrence of connectives after subordinate clauses is synchronically investigated in order to assess its syntactic, semantics, or pragmatic motivations. Both quantitative and qualitative data are taken into account, and the discussion is framed within current trends in general and typological linguistics. I will also take a closer look at the origin of this syntactic pattern, and discuss how the occurrence of connectives in different syntactic environments can be diachronically motivated, taking into consideration the diachronic typology of clause-linkage strategies. Building on evidence collected from the corpus, I argue that a correct understanding of the occurrence of connectives after subordinate clauses in Old Hittite leads to useful insights explaining post-Old Hittite developments in clause linkage, notably the expansion of nu and the eventual disappearance of šu and ta.

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