Expressing Agency and Point of View: The Core Cases in the Ancient Anatolian Languages, 1700-300 BCE


ACLS Fellowship Program


Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations


Core cases, expressing the agent and undergoer of events and situations, are present in almost every sentence in almost every language. Despite this, the four core cases of the ancient Indo-European Anatolian languages have received surprisingly little attention, with the exception of a controversial agent case that seems to be restricted to mostly inanimates. This project fills this gap by investigating not only how the four core cases are expressed but also how they reflect these societies’ views on which entities and concepts have agency. For Hittite specifically, the project also explores how changes in the form and use of the core cases correlate with attested sociopolitical events such as population movements, deportations, and long-term contact with other languages and societies, such as the indigenous Hattians, the Luwians of western and southeastern Anatolia, and the Hurrians from south of the Caucasus and northern Syria.