The Greek-Anatolian area between language contact, sociolinguistic
The Greek-Anatolian area between language contact, sociolinguistic variation and IndoEuropean inheritance.
In this study, we investigated the shared linguistic features in the Greek-Anatolian area in the
second millennium BC, with the aim of disentangling language contact phenomena from
socioculturally-dependent traits, inherited aspects and properties that appear to have a strong
crosslinguistic validity. We first showed how the traditional definition of linguistic area
(Sprachbund) may be readjusted to account for substrate phenomena and true or false archaisms in
Greek and Anatolian (Aikhenvald, 2008). Then, after a critical review of the sociolinguistic
variation in Mycenaean, we proposed a new analysis of possible traces of sub-standard Greek and
Mycenaean, that can be represented by the following equation: Standard Mycenaean : Hittite =
Sub-Standard Mycenaean : Luwian. In addition, to assess the “weight” of archaisms, we began by
analyzing the case of Greek τολύπη (Melchert, 1998), a supposed lexical borrowing, and showed
that it might be considered an archaism or, at least, an “impure borrowing”. Finally, we investigated
two morphosyntactic phenomena, in which functional (and, in one case, presumably, also formal)
features are common to both Greek and Anatolian: 1) the Greek particle ἄν, which conveys modal
values, parallels the Hittite particle man, which, besides indicative and imperative moods, is the
only way to express modalities in Hittite (Hoffner & Melchert, 2008); 2) the role of verbal
prefixation appears to be the same in Greek and Hittite, which is significantly consistent with the
Latin and Sanskrit evidence of this phenomenon (Romagno, 2003; Romagno, 2004; Danesi, 2010).
AIKHENVALD, A.Y. (2008), Grammars in Contact: a Cross-Linguistic Perspective, in A.Y.
Aikhenvald – R.M.W. Dixon (eds.), Grammars in Contact: a Cross-Linguistic Typology,
DANESI, S. (2010), La preverbazione in Vedico: uno studio sul RgVeda, PhD Dissertation,
University of Pisa.
HOFFNER, H.A. – MELCHERT, H.C. (2008), A grammar of the Hittite language, Winona Lake.
MELCHERT, H.C. (1998) Once more Greek τολύπη, «Orpheus» 8: 47-51.
ROMAGNO, D. (2003), Azionalità e transitività: il caso dei preverbi latini, «AGI» 88: 156-170.
ROMAGNO, D. (2004), Ancora su preverbazione e sistemi verbali. Il caso dei preverbi greci,
«AGI» 89: 165-180.