ISO 639-3 xht
Linguist list xht
|Era 3rd to 2nd millennia BCE|
Language family unclassified (Hatto-Kaskian?)
Hattic (Hattian) was a non-Indo-European, agglutinative 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. 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 Hittite speakers, ranged from Hattusa (then called "Hattus") northward to Nerik. Other cities mentioned in Hattic include Tuhumiyara and Tissaruliya. The Hittite speakers conquered Hattus from Kanesh to its south, in the 18th century BCE. They eventually absorbed or replaced the Hattic speakers (Hattians); but they retained the name Hatti for the region.
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 Hattic".
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.
Known words include:
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"), this has been identified as a pronominal clitic meaning "their" by others.