was discovered in the early 20th century and revolutionized our view of Proto-Indo-European (see introduction). Like the other Anatolian languages, it differs substantially from the core IE languages. It has two series of plosives whose exact nature is still a matter of debate. Phonotactics, too, is disputed, as the highly defective cuneiform writing is far from unequivocal. Hittite preserves two of the laryngeals reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European, albeit merged into one (see sounds). The language lacks a feminine gender. Its case system is rich, while its verbal morphology is strikingly simple compared to that of other ancient IE languages. The most noteworthy feature of the verbal system is the distinction between the so-called mi- and hi-conjugation (see words). Hittite is strictly SOV with a complex template of second position clitics. Remarkably for an early IE language, it shows split ergative alignment (see structures).


Silvia Luraghi

University of Pavia

Guglielmo Inglese

KU Leuven


Hittite, intro, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49526

language, speakers and sources: Hittite, Anatolian and Indo-European, periodization and main sources


Hittite, intro, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49523

writing system, decipherment: the cuneiform syllabary, origin, decipherment, writing systems



Hittite, sounds, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49522

inventory, vowels, stops, fricatives, affricates, sonorants


Hittite, sounds, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49521

phonological processes:
changes affecting vowels and consonants


Hittite, sounds, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49520

syllable structure, accent and prosody, clitics



Hittite, words, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49519

introduction and word formation: morphological type, word classes, word formation processes, derivation, compounding


Hittite, words, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49518

nominal inflection:
nominal categories, nominal and adjectival inflection, inflectional classes, inflection of pronouns


Hittite, words, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49515

verbal inflection:
verbal categories, inflectional classes, verbal inflection, stem formation, non-finite forms of the verb



Hittite, structures, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49525

noun phrase:
marking dependencies, agreement, possessive noun phrases, order


Hittite, structures, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49524

case, grammatical relations and semantic roles: alignment, relations, roles, the free-standing genitive


Hittite, structures, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49516

tense, aspect, modality:
use of tenses, aspect and actionality, mood and modality


Hittite, structures, unit 4


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49517

valency changing strategies: verbal voice, causative suffixation, periphrastic passive, the ‘reflexive’ particle =za, reciprocals


Hittite, structures, unit 5


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49514

word order and discourse structure: word order typology, initial verbs, nominal constituents, sentence connectives, discourse structure


Hittite, structures, unit 6


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49513

complex sentences and subordination: direct questions, subordination, complement clauses, adverbial clauses, relative clauses



Lecturers' references

selection out of the lecturers’ references, enriched by Florian Fischer and project members.


general introductions, encyclopedias, literature, writing, history, miscellaneous

Fortson, Benjamin W. 2010. Indo-European Language and Culture: an Introduction (2nd ed.). 170–201. Chichester: Blackwell Wiley.
Haas, Volker. 2006. Die hethitische Literatur: Texte, Stilistik, Motive. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Klein, Jared & Joseph, Brian D. (eds.). 2017. Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Melchert, Craig H. 2017. Anatolian. In Mate Kapović (ed.), The Indo-European Languages (2nd ed.). 171-204. London, New York: Routledge.
Rüster, Christel & Neu, Erich. 1989. Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Lexicity. 2016. Hittite. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Nègre, Xavier. 2002-2021. Lexilogos. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)


grammars, treatments of major grammatical domains

Francia, Rita. 2005. Lineamenti di grammatica ittita. Studia Asiana 4. Rome: Herder.
Friedrich, Johannes. 1960. Hethitisches Elementarbuch, 1. Teil: Kurzgefaßte Grammatik (2nd ed.) [Indogermanische Bibliothek, 1. Reihe: Lehr- und Handbücher]. Heidelberg: Winter.
Hoffner, Harry A. Jr. & H. Craig Melchert. 2008. A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Part I: reference grammar. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.
Luraghi, Silvia. 1997. Hittite [Languages of the World/Materials 114]. München: Lincom Europa.
Rieken, Elisabeth. 2011. Einführung in die hethitische Sprache und Schrift. (Unter Mitwirkung von Ute Gradmann und Jürgen Lorenz). Münster: Ugarit-Verlag.
van den Hout, Theo. 2011. The Elements of Hittite. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Watkins, Calvert. 2004. Hittite. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

See also a list of grammars on Lexicity 2016 and Lexilogos.


dictionaries, headword search tools, further sources of information about the lexicon

Friedrich, Johannes. 1952-54. Hethitisches Wörterbuch. Heidelberg: Winter.
Friedrich, Johannes, Kammenhuber, Annelies & Hoffmann, Inge. 1975-. Hethitisches Worterbuch [Indogermanische Bibliothek. 2. Reihe: Wörterbücher]. Heidelberg: Winter.
Güterbock, Hans Gustav, Harry A. Jr. Hoffner & Theo P. J. van den Hout. 1989-. The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Kloekhorst, Alwin. 2008. Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon [Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series 5]. Leiden: Brill.
Puhvel, Jaan. 1984. Hittite Etymological Dictionary. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Tischler, Johann. 1983–2010. Hethitisches Etymologisches Glossar. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft.
Tischler, Johann. 2001. Hethitisches Handwörterbuch. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft.

See also a list of dictionaries on Lexicity 2016 and Lexilogos.


text collections, corpora, treebanks

Friedrich Johannes. 1960. Hethitisches Keilschrift-Lesebuch. Heidelberg: Winter.
Cuneiform Digital Library Intitiative. 2021 (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Gippert, Jost & Martinez, Javier & Korn, Agnes & Mittmann, Roland. 2016. TITUS TEXTUS: Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien. Frankfurt: University of Frankfurt. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Hethitologie Portal Mainz. no date (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Hittite Texts. 2014–2021 (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Laroche, Emmanuel. 1966/1971–. Catalogue des textes hittites (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Sideltsev, Andrej V. & Molina, Maria. 2015–2021. Annotated Corpus of Hittite (Accessed 2021-07-06.)

teaching material

coursebooks, exercises, materials or introductions supporting teaching

Hoffner, Harry A. Jr. & H. Craig Melchert. 2008. A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Part II: Tutorial. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.
Krause, Todd B. & Slocum, Jonathan. 2004. Early Indo-European Online: Hittite Online. University of Texas: Linguistics Research Centre. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)