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Le funzioni sintattiche degli elementi avverbiali di luogo ittiti.

Le funzioni sintattiche degli elementi avverbiali di luogo ittiti anda(n), appa(n), katta(n), katti-, peran, para, ser, sara. By RITA FRANCIA. Studi asiana, vol. 1. Rome: HERDER, 2002. Pp. x + 245. [euro]20 (paper).

This book, a revised version of the author's doctoral thesis, presents a longitudinal study of the syntax of the Hittite "paired" local adverbs (e.g., ser "above" vs. sara "up"). Following a well-established model, she bases her analysis on a restricted corpus of assured Old, Middle, and Neo-Hittite compositions attested in contemporary manuscripts of the respective periods.

This is an important work that significantly advances our understanding of one of the most complex features of Hittite syntax. The quality of the philological foundation is very high. Among more than four hundred textual citations there are inevitably some where one will differ with the interpretation, but I have found virtually no cases that may be fairly labeled as outright errors. The respective text corpora are also well chosen, and claims regarding chronological developments based on them are thus reliable. Francia reads the texts sensitively and refrains from trying to force recalcitrant examples into any rigid preconceived schema. Both the interpretation of individual passages and the analysis as a whole are marked by an abundance of sound common sense, a quality that has too often been in short supply in previous treatments of this topic. Francia forthrightly concedes that there is more subjectivity involved in assigning functions to the local adverbs than we would wish, but does not shrink from the task of making as much sense as she can of the complex facts. The essential validity of her approach is affirmed by the fact that in the great majority of cases she is able to arrive at unequivocally correct interpretations.

I may summarize Francia's principal results as showing that the use of the local adverbs is more differentiated in Old Hittite than previously alleged, but remains far more stable in Middle and Neo-Hittite than generally supposed. She accepts the basic contrast of paired "directional" and "adirectional" adverbs established for Old Hittite by Frank Starke, but correctly insists, against Starke, that in OH both the dative-locative case and the adirectional local adverbs do occur with verbs of motion, indicating the position that results from the movement (pp. 7ff., 57, and 68). On the other hand, there are also a few instances of the "directional" adverb anda in OH with a locatival meaning (see ex. [221] on p. 119). Francia reaffirms that the local adverbs appear in threefold function, as free-standing adverbs, as postpositions, and as preverbs in all phases of Hittite, including crucially as postpositions with the dative-locative already in OH (ex. [4], p. 54; ex. [116], p. 68; and the unnumbered example on p. 77). In general, while some interchange and overlapping of functions between the directional and adirectional adverbs do occur in later Hittite, the basic contrast between the two sets remains (pp. 152 and 215-16). Francia also reaffirms independently the recent claim of F. A. Tjerkstra: one cannot determine the function of the local adverbs based solely or even primarily on word order.

Of many felicitous new individual analyses, I cite as examples the correct interpretation of the expression hassan peran / appan da- "take the hearth in front/behind" as meaning "pass in front of/behind the hearth" (p. 32), and the recognition that the reflexive particle -za may function as the object of a postposition like dative clitic pronouns (ex. [77], p. 53). Against Francia herself, I would extend this analysis also to ex. [48], p. 41, where "Even (when) ill I saw the providence of the deity above/over me" makes excellent sense.

Some inadequacies of the analysis are not the fault of the author, but merely reflect the vastness of the topic and the limitations she necessarily imposed upon herself. In section 2.5.6 and elsewhere, Francia confronts the problem of combinations of adirectional and directional adverbs such as peran katta and ser katta: are these unitary preverbs, or merely collocations of adirectional adverbs in their usual adverbial or postpositional function with directional adverbs serving as preverbs? Francia offers several persuasive individual analyses, but the overall problem will require a much larger data base and an investigation of its own. Similarly, she makes a number of useful observations regarding word order, but any remotely adequate discussion of this aspect of the problem will likewise demand a much larger set of data and a fully explicit model of syntactic movement rules. Finally, only a study that includes all assured Neo-Hittite compositions will be able to elucidate fully the changes that have taken place in the use of the local adverbs during the history of the language.

My criticisms of Francia's analysis within the parameters she has set are few. I must once again protest the perpetuation of the false claim of Starke of a contrast between a dative case for animate nouns and locative case for inanimates in OH (p. 22). This repetition is particularly annoying when Francia herself refutes many of the individual interpretations on which Starke's false analysis was based. On the other hand, Francia fails to adopt Starke's important distinction between the paired adverbs katta "down" and kattan "below, under" and the synchronically separate (and unpaired) adverb katta(n), katti- "beside, with." While Francia for the most part interprets individual examples correctly, this confusion leads to some false statements, such as that on p. 217 where the directional adverb katta is listed as having the meaning "insieme, con"--the word katta has this meaning only as a postposition, never as a free-standing adverb.

The two problems just cited have minimal consequences for Francia's overall analysis. The one lapse in judgment that does cause serious problems concerns the directional adverbs. At several points in chapter 3 Francia insists that directional adverbs such as sara "up," katta "down," anda "in," and para "out" modify and limit the meaning of both intransitive and transitive motion verbs (see, e.g., p. 170 regarding pai- "go" and uwa- "come" or pp. 182 and 207 regarding peda- and pehute- "bring"). She correctly concludes that in these cases the directional adverbs are functioning as preverbs. However, she denies the same status for the same adverbs with other verbs implying motion, such as tarna- "let go, release." I fail utterly to see how the presence of the adverbs in anda/para tarna- "to let in/out" (ex. [238], p. 126) is any less crucial in limiting the semantics of the verb than those in sara pai/katta uwa- "to go up/come down" (ex. [107], p. 148). The same remark applies to many other such combinations. A large number of the cases of directional adverbs assigned by Francia to adverbial or postpositional function in sections 3.1 and 3.2 must therefore be reanalyzed rather than preverbs.

This lapsus does not detract from the generally very high quality of this work, which represents a major advance in the treatment of this difficult topic. All future analyses will build upon the foundation that Francia has laid.


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Author:Melchert, H. Craig
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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