Indo-European Phonological Inventory Database

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Family: Anatolian

Region: Anatolia

Time: 18th–12th century B.C.


Labial Dental Palatal Velar Labialized velar
Strong stop p t k
Weak stop b d g
Strong fricative xʷː
Weak fricative s x
Strong affricate tsː
Weak affricate ts
Strong nasal
Weak nasal m n
Strong lateral
Weak lateral l
Strong trill
Weak trill r
Approximant j w


Front Central Back
High i iː u uː
Mid e eː
Low a aː


  1. As Hoffner & Melchert (2008:35) write, "There is no consensus as to whether the phonetic contrast in attested Hittite is one of voicing or of some other feature such as fortis vs. œlenis or aspirated vs. unaspirated." In particular, several linguists assume that the real phonological opposition for stops and affricates was (articulatory) tenseness (tense vs. lax) or gemination (plain vs. geminate). This idea goes back to the pioneering work of Sturtevant (1933:66-67). It was further supported in such works as Kronasser (1956), Kloekhorst (2008), Kassian & Sideltsev (2013) and so on. For a detailed discussion see Melchert (1994:16-18). Kassian and Sideltsev explicitly transcribe the Hittite obstruents as [tː]/[t]. The transcription voiced/voiceless, which is commonly adopted by other authors, is so popular due to typographic convenience. Cf. the related remark in Hoffner & Melchert (2008:35): "For the sake of simplicity we here describe the contrast in stops as one of voicing, but we do not mean thereby to take a definitive stance on this issue.", and in Kloekhorst (2008: 23): "Nevertheless, I have chosen to adopt the following phonemic spelling throughout the book: fortis /p/ /t/ /k/ /kʷ/, lenis /b/ /d/ /g/ /gʷ/".


Hoffner H. A., Melchert H. C. 2008. A Grammar of the Hittite Language. Winona: Eisenbrauns.
А.С. Касьян, А.В. Сидельцев. 2013. Хеттский язык, с. 26-75. В кн.: Языки мира: Реликтовые индоевропейские языки Передней и Центральной Азии / РАН. Институт языкознания. Ред. колл.: Ю.Б. Коряков, А.А. Кибрик. ― М.: Academia. — 512 с. ISBN 978-5-87444-370-2 (A. Kassian, A. Sideltsev. 2013. Hittite. In: Languages of the World: Relict Indo-European languages of Western and Central Asia. Yuri B. Koryakov and Andrej A. Kibrik (eds.). ― Moscow: Academia.)
Kloekhorst, A. 2008. Etymological dictionary of the Hittite inherited lexicon. Leiden-Boston: Brill.
Kronasser H. 1956. Vergleichende Laut- und Formenlehre des Hethitischen. Heidelberg: Winter.
Luraghi, S. 1997. Hittite. In Languages of the world Materials 114. Munchen-Newcastle.
Melchert, H.C. 1994. Anatolian historical phonology. Amsterdam: Radopi.
Sturtevant, Edgar H. A. 1933 [1951]. Comparative Grammar of the Hittite Language. Rev. ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951.


Silvia Luraghi
Maria Molina

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