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Volker und Sprachen Altanatoliens.

Volker und Sprachen Altanatoliens. By MACIEJ POPKO. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2008. Pp. xi + 167, maps. [euro]29.80 (paper).

The present work is a revised and extended version of a book that first appeared in Polish as Ludy i jezyki starozytnej Anatolii (Warsaw 1999). The author is a distinguished Hittitologist with special expertise in religion and ritual. Popko assumes a properly broad perspective for his topic. Following an introduction and discussion of personal names from ancient Asia Minor, he discusses Hattic and other possible pre-Indo-European languages of the area, then in turn members of the Anatolian subgroup of Indo-European, followed by other Indo-European-speaking groups with a presence in Asia Minor and finally other relevant non-Indo-European languages. The temporal parameters are roughly the second and first millennia B.C.E., but Popko does not hesitate to exceed these modestly when a coherent discussion demands it. Likewise, the geographic coverage extends beyond the strict confines of Anatolia or Asia Minor where appropriate. An appendix offers two very helpful maps.

An outstanding strength of the book is that Popko strikes an excellent balance in neither taking too much for granted nor talking down to the general reader. He likewise confronts openly and honestly the very difficult issue of the relationship between language and ethnicity and that of how one is even to define the notion of a "people" (a significant advance over previous comparable treatments of the topic). At the same time he does not belabor the point unduly or burden the reader with excessive academic jargon and hairsplitting.

Any author presenting a general survey must make reasoned choices regarding matters of controversy, accepting that another specialist would choose differently. With a single exception (see point [3] below), I find Popko's choices eminently justified and no cause for criticism. His characterization of the relationships among the various languages (or lack thereof) is fundamentally sound and reliable, though readers should be warned that the assumed relatedness of Hattic to (North)west Caucasian (pp. 41-44) is distinctly less assured than he implies.

According to the preface, Popko made an effort to make this revised version as current as possible, and he deserves special credit for the remarkably up-to-date description of Carian, where recent developments have brought dramatic changes in our understanding. The account of the two forms of Luvian also reflects many of the important revisions made in the scholarship of the last thirty years. One cannot reasonably expect encyclopedic knowledge of the ever-burgeoning secondary literature on all the languages. However, in view of the merits just cited, it is rather frustrating that nearly all of the descriptions of the Anatolian Indo-European languages (those this reviewer is most competent to assess) are still marred by some outdated analyses. Fortunately, most of these involve matters of mere detail that do not seriously distort the overall picture of the languages described. I cite here only a few points that have major consequences for the respective languages.

(1) While the new discovery by P. Goedegebuure that Hittite sya- means 'one' is duly cited (p. 57), Popko fails to mention her far more important demonstration that Hittite shows a three-way deictic contrast of ka-, apa-, and asi equivalent to Latin hic, iste, and ille, not the two-way contrast previously assumed. See P. Goedegebuure, "The Hittite 3rd person/distal demonstrative asi (uni, eni etc.)," Die Sprache 43/1 (2002-3): 1-32.

(2) In describing the nominal inflection of Luvian, Lycian, and Lydian, Popko entirely ignores the well-documented phenomenon of "i-mutation" (aka "i-Motion"), although this peculiar feature is a pervasive and defining characteristic of these languages with significant implications for the inner dialectal relationships of Anatolian, as shown by F. Starke, Untersuchung zur Stammbildung des keilschriftluwischen Nomens (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1990), 56-85.

(3) The Lydian letter + has been interpreted as either a bilabial stop /p/ or a labiovelar /[k.sup.w]/ (transliterated as q). Popko (p. 114) argues for the former, citing among other reasons that otherwise the language would lack a voiceless bilabial stop. It has long been established, however, that the Lydian letter conventionally transliterated as b (because its shape resembles a Greek beta) actually represents a voiceless bilabial stop /p/; see already R. Gusmani, "Sulle consonanti del lidio," Oriens Antiquus 4 (1965): 204-5. The letter + must therefore represent another sound, and its appearance in the interrogative-relative stem qi- argues decisively for a value /[k.sup.w]/.

(4) Popko fails to acknowledge the indispensable studies of H. Eichner on accent in Lydian, which have had a profound impact on the analysis of its vocalism and entire phonology: "Die Akzentuation des Lydischen," Die Sprache 32 (1986): 7-21 and "Neue Wege im Lydischen I: Vokalnasalitat vor Nasalkonsonanten," Zeitschrift fur Vergleichende Sprachforschung 99 (1986): 203-19.

Despite these and the other far less serious infelicities alluded to above, Popko has more than ably accomplished the goal of such a survey. More accurate grammatical descriptions are available for many of the individual languages: for Hittite, e.g., E. Rieken, "Hethitisch," in Sprachen des alten Orients, ed. Michael P. Streck (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2005), 80-127. However, these are typically scattered through various anthologies, which are themselves often large, expensive, and accessible only in academic libraries. They also lack the unifying and contextualizing framework provided by Popko. This book offers German-language readers a compact, affordable, and essentially reliable guide to the many languages of ancient Anatolia and their speakers.


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Author:Melchert, H. Craig
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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