Mood and Modality in Hurrian 9781575067148

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L A N G UA G E S O F THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST Editorial Board Gonzalo Rubio, Pennsylvania State University Editor-in-Chief James P. Allen Gene B. Gragg Manfred Krebernik Antonio Loprieno H. Craig Melchert Piotr Michalowski P. Oktor Skjærvø Michael P. Streck Christopher Woods

Brown University The Oriental Institute, Univ. of Chicago Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena Universität Basel  University of California, Los Angeles University of Michigan Harvard University Universität Leipzig The Oriental Institute, Univ. of Chicago

1.  A Grammar of the Hittite Language, by Harry A. Hoffner Jr. and H. Craig Melchert Part 1: Reference Grammar Part 2: Tutorial 2.  The Akkadian Verb and Its Semitic Background, by N. J. C. Kouwenberg 3.  Most Probably: Epistemic Modality in Old Babylonian, by Nathan Wasserman 4.  Conditional Structures in Mesopotamian Old Babylonian, by Eran Cohen 5.  Mood and Modality in Hurrian, by Dennis R. M. Campbell

Mood and Modality in Hurrian


D e n n i s R. M. C a m pb e l l San Francisco State University

Winona Lake, Indiana Eisenbrauns 2015

Copyright © 2015 Eisenbrauns Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Campbell, Dennis R. M., author. Mood and modality in Hurrian / Dennis R. M. Campbell.    pages  cm.—(Languages of the ancient Near East; 5) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-57506-322-5 (hardback : alk. paper) 1.  Hurrian language—Grammar.  2.  Indo-European languages— Grammar.  3.  Modality (Linguistics).  4.  Grammar, Comparative and general—Mood.  5.  Grammar, Comparative and general—Usage. P958.C36 2015 499′.9—dc23 2014042860

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.♾™

Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   x General x Reference Works  xi

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1.1. Introduction  1 1.2.  The Hurrians and Hurrian Language Source Material  2 1.3.  Statement of Purpose  5 1.4.  Current State of the Field  5 1.5.  Layout of the Work  8 1.6.  Note on the Transcription of the Hurrian Language  9


2. Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13 2.1. Introduction  13 2.2. Ergativity  13 2.3.  Hurrian Word Formation  14 2.4.  The Nominal System  15 2.5.  The Indicative Verb  17 2.6. Syntax  19 2.7. Examples  21

3. Mood and Modality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26 3.1. Introduction  26 3.2.  Mood in Hurrian  28 3.3.  Function of Hurrian Moods  33

4. Imperative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   35 4.1. Background  35 4.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  39 4.3.  Form in Context  42 4.4. Conclusion  62

5. The Jussive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   63 5.1. Background  63 5.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  64 5.3.  The Form in Context  80 5.4. Conclusion  104

6. Optative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 6.1. Background  105 6.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  106 6.3.  The Form in Context  113




7. The Potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 7.1. Background  147 7.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  148 7.3.  The Potential Form in Context  158 7.4. Conclusion  181

8. Purposive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 8.1. Introduction  183 8.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  184 8.3.  The Form in Context  196

9. Desiderative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 9.1. Background  205 9.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian  205 9.3.  The Form in Context  211 9.4. Conclusion  220

10. ⸗(ož)illandin and ⸗illandu/o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222 10.1.  Form and Function  222 10.2.  The Form in Context  227

11. Forms with ⸗i/e and Forms with ⸗u/o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238 11.1. Introduction  238 11.2.  Form and Function  238 11.3. ⸗e as a Modal Morpheme  248

12. The Morphemes ⸗i⸗, ⸗o⸗, and ⸗l⸗ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 12.1. Introduction  249 12.2. ⸗i⸗ and ⸗o⸗ 250 12.3. ⸗l⸗ 255 12.4. Conclusion  263

13. Conclusion: The Hurrian Verb Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 13.1.  General Remarks  264 13.2.  The Nonindicative  264 13.3. Examples  269

Appendix 1.  Glossary of Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 Sumerogram with Uncertain Hurrian Reading  318 Divine Names  319 Personal Names  321 Geographical Names  322

Appendix 2.  Cited Passages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323 Urartian Texts  326

Appendix 3.  Concordance of Corpus der hurritischen Sprachdenkmäler and Text Publication Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327 ChS to Publication Number  327 Publication to ChS  328

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330

Preface This book is an attempt to provide a formal and functional analysis of the Hurrian modal morphemes. Unlike the better-known Semitic and Indo-European languages of the ancient Near East, Hurrian has a rich complement of modal endings. This at-times bewildering variety in form and function of modal morphemes in Hurrian has been a largely unstudied topic. While it has been touched upon in a number of studies, it has not received a detailed treatment until now. The present work will be seen by some as a potentially radical departure from standard understandings of the way these endings work, but this was not my intent. No systematic treatment of these morphemes has been attempted, and because of this, certain thoughts (and assumptions) on form and function have grown from tentative postulations to grammatical “certainties” over the years. And although some of these suppositions have borne the test of time, many others were in need of major revision. Nowhere is this more true than with the ending ⸗ež (or ⸗iž). Despite the fact that this ending is ultimately found with all persons and numbers, it has long been labeled the plural imperative morpheme or, even more frustratingly, a variant form of the plural imperative. 1 That Hurrian would have two forms of the plural imperative, where one form is limited to the second-person plural (endings with ⸗i for transitive and ⸗a for intransitive verbs) while the other is found with all persons and numbers is a situation that I do not find tenable. It was with this issue that my research into the Hurrian modal system truly began. Once forms marked by ⸗ež are separated from the imperative paradigm, certain patterns of form and function for this ending can be discerned, patterns with great implications for other moods in this language. The ending ⸗ež is oftentimes immediately preceded by the morpheme ⸗l⸗, which is of indeterminate function. This ⸗l⸗ morpheme is itself preceded by an ⸗i⸗ or an ⸗o⸗ except in the few cases when, due to phonetic rules, the vocalic morpheme is elided. Forms ⸗iž and ⸗ož mirror very closely the occurrences of ⸗i⸗l⸗ež and ⸗o⸗l⸗ež in their distribution. Both sets of forms displaying an initial vowel /i/ are found with active verbs that have an agent/subject that is the controller of the action. Forms with an initial /o/ are found on transitive verbs, often without an expressed agent, and on monovalent verbs indicating a change of state. This distribution of ⸗i⸗ and ⸗o⸗ led me to conclude that Hurrian, at least in the modal system, distinguished voice: through the morpheme ⸗i⸗ for active voice and ⸗o⸗ for patient-focusing (“passive”) voice (see chap. 6). 1.  For example, see the work of Wegner 2007: 102–13.




These voice morphemes, while not expressing the active-passive dichotomy familiar in nominative-accusative languages, are the linchpin for understanding how the Hurrian modal system functioned. It is my opinion that, although I’ve only touched on it in this book, Hurrian operated according to a complex system of voice based on control. Control is manifest in verb-marking. Transitive verbs have an agent in control of the action (“John ate dinner”). Intransitive verbs are more complex. They can indicate an action, in which case the subject is in control even if this control is not entirely voluntary (“John went”; “John wept”). Other intransitive verbs can indicate either a state (“The cake existed”) or a change in state (“John grew up”). It is not my intention here to delve into this issue in detail, but I believe that Hurrian distinguishes all three of these intransitive types through verbal marking: ⸗a for actions (un⸗a “she comes”), ⸗e for state (mann⸗e “it is”; tupp⸗e “to be gathered, assembled”), and ⸗u for change of state (far⸗u “(the mountain) became sick”). The functionality of ⸗u is highly complex in Hurrian, and unfortunately, it is difficult to analyze its exact function due to its infrequent appearance in the preserved material. In regard to the modal system, in every occurrence of ⸗i⸗ the agent (if transitive) or subject (if intransitive) is in control (i.e., it is the active doer of an action). The morpheme ⸗o⸗ is used when the subject of an intransitive undergoes a change of state and when the emphasis is not on the doer of a transitive statement but on the patient. The movement of focus from the agent to the patient can occur for a number of reasons (e.g., pragmatic reasons—increased topicality of patient while agent is general/nonspecific; promotion of an indirect object to the patient position), and many of these will be explored throughout this work. In a long dead language isolate such as Hurrian, grammatical studies are replete with difficulties. The paucity of material and our inability to compare it to modern, welldocumented languages typically results in more questions than answers. Many posited answers to these questions lead inevitably to dead ends. Studies in languages such as Hurrian run the severe risk of either stagnating due to a general adherence to the status quo by scholars or fragmenting when no two scholars can (or will) agree on any point. In this book, I have in many ways broken with tradition, but I believe that the grammatical patterns that inform this work will bear out over time, even if in modified form. The issues that are raised herein attempt to go beneath the surface and reveal further complexities in Hurrian grammar. I ask the reader to consider this work not as a dogmatic treatise meant to counter the status quo but as an exploration of the complexities of the Hurrian language from a new perspective. My conclusions may challenge present perceptions, but it is my hope that they will in turn inspire challenges, for it is only in this way that our understanding of this wonderful language and the people who spoke it can be furthered. This work is based on my dissertation with the same title. I completed my dissertation in the spring of 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Theo van den Hout, Dr. Gene Gragg, Dr. Mauro Giorgieri, and Dr. Christopher Woods. I am grateful for their collective help and guidance as I developed my thoughts on Hurrian modality. I originally envisioned



this project’s being a systematic collection of Hurrian modal forms that would allow for some formal observations and minimal functional discussions. I foresaw this collection as a guide for future studies on the topic, but I did not believe that it would be possible to give a detailed analysis of the Hurrian nonindicative endings. The end result of this study was quite a bit different from what I imagined it would be. Instead of the overview that I envisioned, the book is instead a very detailed examination of the Hurrian modal endings both in their form and in their function. While the material contained herein may still not be considered definitive (with a difficult and poorly preserved language such as Hurrian, can we ever give definitive explanations of its grammar?), the conclusions represent a major shift in how I think these modal forms need to be understood. This current version of the work is a modified version of the dissertation. I have eliminated the second chapter of the dissertation (the indicative verb) and provided instead a short sketch of Hurrian grammar, including a series of examples to help illustrate various points. I am also now including a separate chapter on modality generally and on Hurrian modality specifically (chap. 3). This chapter is meant to be an introduction to some of the basic premises of this work, in particular the above-mentioned voice distinction that I feel is an integral part of the Hurrian modal system. The chapters on the modal endings are followed by a return to the voice morphemes ⸗i⸗ and ⸗o⸗ and the ambiguous morpheme ⸗l⸗. The conclusion is structured in a similar manner to that of the original dissertation, except for the omission of the material regarding the indicative verbal system. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Lauren, for her perseverance and support during my long days of researching and writing this book.

Abbreviations General A ABoT act abs ap

Ass. B C caus cl conn dat dim dir

DN EA epnth erg ess

ex(x). fut

GN Hitt. IBoT inst intran


juss loc

MHu Mitt. mod neg

NP O OB obv. OHu P pat perf pl poss pot pret purp

agent Ankara Arkeoloji Müzesinde . . . Boğazköy Tabletleri active absolutive antipassive Assyrian beneficiary consonant causative clitic connective dative dimensional directive divine name El-Amarna text epenthetic ergative essive example(s) future geographical name Hittite Istanbul Arkeoloji Müzelerinde Bulunan Boğazköy Tabletleri instrumental intransitive Indirect Object jussive locative Middle Hurrian Mittani Letter (EA 24) modal negative Noun Phrase Object Old Babylonian obverse Old Hurrian patient (direct object) patient perfective plural possessive potential preterite purposive


Abbreviations rel relat

rev. RS S sg. s.o. s.t. TAM V VA VP

xi relative relator reverse Ras Shamra text number subject (of intransitive verbs) singular someone something tense-aspect-mood vowel

Museum siglum of the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin (Vorderasiatische Abteilung, Ass. = Assur) Verb Phrase

Reference Works AASOR AfO AHw

Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research Archiv für Orientforschung


Analecta Orientalia




von Soden, W. Akkadisches Handwörterbuch. 3 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1965–81 Alter Orient und Altes Testament

Alter Orient und Altes Testament Supplement Altorientalische Bibliothek

Altorientalische Forschungen Assyriological Studies

Biblical Archaeologist

Bibliotheca Mesopotamica

Oppenheim, A. L., et al., editors. The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 21 vols. (A–Z). Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1956–2011 Sasson, J., ed. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. 4 vols. New York: Scribner

Dietrich, M.; Loretz, O.; and Sanmartín, J. The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani, and Other Places. 2nd ed. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1995 Culture and History of the Ancient Near East Güterbock, Hans G., and Hoffner, Harry A., eds. The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1980–

Haas, V., et al., eds. Corpus der hurritischen Sprachdenkmäler, vol. 1: Die Texte aus Boğazköy. Rome: Multigrafica, 1984 Center for the Study of Language and Information Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum

Laroche, E. Catalogue des textes hittites. 2nd ed. Paris: Klincksieck, 1971

Salvini, Mirjo. Corpus dei testi urartei, vol. 1: Le iscrizioni su pietra e roccia I testi. Documenta Asiana 8. Rome: Istituto di studi sulle civiltà dell’egeo del vicino oriente. 2008 Dresdner Beiträge zur Hethitologie Laroche, E. “Fragments hittites de Genève.” RA 45/3 (1951) 131–38; 45/4 (1951) 184–94; 46/1 (1952) 42–50. Updated in E. Laroche. “Sur les Fragments hittites de Genève (FHG).” RA 46/4 (1952) 214 Puhvel, J. Hittite Etymological Dictionary. Berlin: Mouton, 1984–




Abbreviations Tischler, J. Hethitisches Etymologisches Glossar. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, 1983– Handbuch der Orientalistik Harvard Semitic Studies Journal of Cuneiform Studies

Ebeling, E., editor. Keilschrifttexte aus Assur religiösen Inhalts. 2 vols. Leipzig: Hinrich, 1919–23 Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazköi

Dietrich, M.; Loretz, O.; and Sanmartín, J., editors. Die Keilalphabetischen Texte aus Ugarit. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 24. Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker / Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1976 Keilschrifturkunden aus Boghazköi

Arutjunjan, N. V. Korpus urartskich klinoobraznych nadpisej. Erevan: Gitutjun, 2001 Mission de Ras Shamra Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft Oriental Institute Publications

Orientalistische Literaturzeitung Orientalia

Revue d’assyriologie et d’archéologie orientale

Revue hittite et asianique Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia: Assyrian Periods

Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations

Society of Biblical Literature Writings from the Ancient World

Studies on the Civilization and Culture of Nuzi and the Hurrians Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici Studien zu den Bogazköy-Texten Gurney, O. R.; Finkelstein, J. J.; and Hulin, P., editors. The Sultantepe Tablets. 2 vols. Occasional Publications of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara 3, 7. London: British Institute of Archaeology, 1957–64 Kaiser, Otto, ed. Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments. 3 vols. Gütersloh: Mohn, 1983–97 Testi del Vicino Oriente Antico


Götze, A. Verstreute Boghazköy-Texte. Marburg, 1930 Vestnik drevnej istorii

Vicino Oriente

Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin Yale Oriental Series

Zeitschrift für Assyriologie Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1. Introduction Research into the history of the ancient Near East is inexorably linked to the ability to translate accurately the textual remains that have been left behind by literate cultures. Translations are vital for those who are unable to read the original source material. As a result, the validity of subsequent studies of a text is oftentimes dependent on the assumed accuracy of its translation. If it is found to be faulty, then the validity of all studies based on it will be greatly weakened, if not entirely invalidated. In order to maintain the highest quality in translation, scholars must pursue philological and linguistic studies of the languages of the ancient Near East without fail. These studies provide us with an ever-more-sophisticated understanding of ancient tongues, which will increasingly result in more trustworthy translations. Scholars in Akkadian and Hittite can be fairly confident in the readings of their respective texts. This is not to say that further work is not needed in order to elucidate forms and to ensure increasingly accurate readings. 1 In some cases, however, a language of interest is much more difficult to decipher, despite repeated attempts to decode it. This may be the result of a lack of preserved material, or the difference between a language and other, better-known languages, or some combination of these factors. In the case of Hurrian, the language of presumably a sizable portion of the population of the ancient Near East in the Late Bronze Age, especially in the regions of modern-day northern Iraq and Syria and southeastern Anatolia, 2 the relative paucity of texts in comparison with the large number of texts left by the neighboring Hittite- and Akkadian-speaking peoples has made translation of the language difficult at best. This difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that the only language clearly related to Hurrian is its sister language, Urartian. 3 1.  A terrific example of this is the dissertation by Petra Goedegebuure (2003) on deixis in Hittite. 2.  A number of studies have focused on the nature of the influx of Hurrian population groups into the ancient Near East and their subsequent sentlement in the region (see recently Steinkeller 1998 and Salvini 1998). Grammatical differences in texts from various areas seem to indicate that potentially several different dialects of Hurrian are reflected in the written material (on dialects in Hurrian, see Khačikyan (Chačikjan) 1978; 1985; Diakonoff 1981: 77–89; Wegner 2000: 26–27). This may indicate that the immigration of Hurrian population groups into the ancient Near East took place in multiple waves. The presence of multiple dialects is certainly to be expected. The majority of Hurrian language texts are from Boğazköy and reflect a more homogeneous dialect (though not completely so). For studies on the history and culture of the Hurrians, see Wilhelm 1989; Salvini 2000a, b. 3.  The connection between these two languages has long been recognized, but it was not until Diakonoff’s grammar Hurrisch und Urartäisch (1971) that they were treated as being closely related. See also Salvini 1979; 1992; Khačikyan 1982; 1985; 1995.




Hurrian was first studied in the waning years of the nineteenth century. While some progress in decipherment was quickly made, study of the language was largely relegated to the fringes of ancient Near Eastern philology. 4 The extreme dearth of (readable) textual material 5 and the numerous differences between Hurrian and the better-known languages of the region posed serious problems for the scholars who were interested in working on it. The discovery of new texts in the mid-1980s, primarily the texts of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual, 6 has resulted in a renewed interest in the language. This in turn has led to a more advanced understanding of Hurrian. When one includes the linguistic advances that have been made in the study of ergativity beginning in the latter part of the twentieth century, it is clear that scholars of the language are in a better position than ever before to treat Hurrian textual material. 7 It is my goal in this book to offer the first in-depth study of the complex system of nonindicative forms in Hurrian and thereby to increase our ability to translate this language. Hurrian is a fascinating language for both the specialists of the ancient Near East and the linguists. The Hurrians as a population group had a profound affect on not only the political sphere of the Late Bronze Age (primarily, but not exclusively, in the form of the Mittani Empire) but also on the culture and religion of the region. A typological study of Hurrian such as the present work allows us to understand better both the role of the Hurrians in the ancient world and the place of their language among the world’s languages. Hurrian evidences a much higher degree of ergativity than is seen in most of the world’s languages. 8 1.2.  The Hurrians and Hurrian Language Source Material Hurrian was the language of a significant percentage of the population in the Near East through the Early and Late Bronze Ages, especially in the northern regions stretching from Assyria in the east to the Mediterranean coast in the west and even into central Anatolia. 9 The history and culture of the Hurrian-speaking peoples, as far as they can be 4.  Important early works are those by Jensen 1890; 1891; 1899; Brünnow 1890; Sayce 1890; Messerschmidt 1899; and Bork 1909; 1932; 1932–33; among others. 5.  Numerous texts containing examples of the Hurrian language were discovered at Boğazköy, the modern village located at the site of the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusa, but these texts, due to issues of lexicon and grammar were almost entirely illegible to early scholars of the language. With the exception of the Mittani Letter, few other texts were of much use in the study of Hurrian prior to the latter part of the twentieth century. 6.  See Neu 1996a for the text edition of the Bilingual. The hand copies are published in KBo 32 (Otten and Rüster 1990). 7.  For work on ergativity, see, for example: Anderson 1976; Dixon 1979; 1994; Dorleijn 1996; Manning 1996. The issue of vocabulary in Hurrian remains a problem but is not insurmountable. 8.  Plank (1995: 36) has gone so far as to label Hurrian “second to none in ergativity.” 9.  It is difficult to determine demographic numbers for the Hurrians in the ancient Near East. While one must always practice caution when using onomastic evidence to determine population density for a particular culture group, names can be an important marker for the prevalence of cultural influence in a particular area. Personal names at the sites of Alalah (Drafkorn 1959) and Nuzi (Gelb et al. 1943) manifest

1.2.  The Hurrians and Hurrian Language Source Material


known, have been well treated. 10 For this reason, I do not attempt to address these issues in this book, except if absolutely necessary. Sometime during the latter half of the third millennium b.c., Hurrian population groups probably began to migrate south from the Transcaucasian region into northern Mesopotamia, settling especially in the region of the Habur triangle (Steinkeller 1998: 96). The exact date of this migration is unclear, but a terminus ante quem can be determined. In the texts dating to the twenty-fourth century b.c. from the site of Ebla, located in northern Syria, there are no examples of Hurrian personal or place-names (Wilhelm 1989: 45). By the reign of Narām-Sîn (ca. 2200 b.c.), a king of the Akkadian dynasty in Mesopotamia, a large number of Hurrian names are found in the Habur region. Within the roughly 200 years between the Ebla archive and Narām-Sîn, Hurrian groups had migrated into the region and established themselves as one of its dominant populations. With the exception of a handful of texts, written evidence for Hurrian is largely limited to the latter part of the Late Bronze Age. Hurrian language material from the earliest period of Hurrian settlement in the Near East is poorly represented in the archaeological record. This may very well be due to the chance preservation (and discovery) of texts; alternatively, it may indicate that Hurrian simply was not often written in the earlier periods. In the earliest texts, with the exception of some individual finds such as the Tišatal inscription from Urkeš (Tell Mozan) dating to sometime between 2100 and 2000 b.c., 11 two main groups can be identified: (1) approximately 11 tablets, presumably all from the site of Larsa in southern Babylonia, 12 and (2) 6 tablets from Mari. 13 The Hurrian texts from Babylonia and Mari date to sometime during the Old Babylonian period (ca. 1850–1595 b.c.). The majority of known texts date from approximately 1600 b.c. until sometime shortly before the end of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1180 b.c.). 14 Hurrian texts, with one notable large Hurrian populations in both cities. For the history of Alalah during the Late Bronze Age, see now von Dassow (2008). On Hurrian onomastics in general, see Giorgieri 2000b; and Richter 2005a. 10.  The history of the Hurrians is the topic of Wilhelm 1989, but see also the study by Freu 2003 on the Mittani Empire. 11.  Most recently treated in full in Wilhelm 1998a. The text is also treated in Wegner 2000: 208–11 (2007: 232–36) in the Textproben section of her grammar. On Urkeš as an early Hurrian city, see Buccellati and Kelly-Buccellati 1997; for a more detailed bibliography of the site of Tell Mozan, see the bibliographic section of the site’s Web page at The text was originally dated to the Old Akkadian period (Parrot and Nougayrol 1948), but more recent work has suggested an earlier date, in the Ur III period (Whiting 1976; followed by Salvini 1998: 107; and Wilhelm 1998a: 118). 12.  These texts are treated in: van Dijk 1982; Cunningham 1997: 131–56; Prechel and Richter 2001: 334–71 (list of tablets on p. 335); Wegner 2000: 18 gives a short overview. 13.  Originally published in Thureau-Dangin 1939: 1–28. In this publication, Thureau-Dangin originally gave a count of seven tablets, but his tablets 6 and 7 have since been joined (Salvini 1988b; Wegner 2004; 2007: 236–38). 14.  Although the late date of 1180 b.c. is given here, there is little evidence that Hurrian was a productive written language by this period. There is a distinct movement in Hattusa, the site from which the lion’s share of Hurrian texts have come, away from the Hurrian language by this late period.



exception, have been discovered in northwest Mesopotamia and Syria and at Boğazköy (ancient Hattusa) and Ortaköy (ancient Sapinuwa) in central Anatolia. One Hurrian language tablet is known from the site of Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, the so-called Mittani Letter (EA 24). 15 Despite its findspot well outside the Hurrian heartland, it clearly originated in the Habur region, presumably from Waššukanni, the lost capital of the Mittani Empire. The majority of Hurrian texts from this period were discovered at the Hittite capital of Hattusa. 16 The texts from Hattusa are by and large quite fragmentary and are limited to a small number of genres, virtually all concerning religious matters. 17 The most important text for the study of Hurrian from Boğazköy is the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual, which consists of a series of roughly related texts (Neu 1996a). The Bilingual contains clear Middle Script features, and the tablets are therefore to be dated to the period before Suppiluliuma I, probably between the reigns of Tudḫaliya I and Tudḫaliya III (ca. 1400–1340 b.c.). It is likely that the texts were composed during some earlier period (Neu 1988b: 6). Outside Anatolia, the site of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) has produced a number of important texts, including an Akkadian-Hurrian bilingual text, vocabularies, and a number of alphabetic texts. 18 This blossoming of the text corpus corresponds to the consolidation of power in Syria and northern Mesopotamia under the Mittani Empire. Originating sometime in the late fifteenth century, the Mittani Empire came to control Syria, Assyria, and Kizzuwatna (southern Anatolia). This Hurrian empire eventually rivaled Egypt for power, and after several generations of skirmishes, the two powers came to an understanding. 19 The fall of Mittani is documented in part in the letters sent by the Mittani king Tušratta to the pharaoh in Egypt and in the Hittite texts concerning Suppiluliuma I’s expansion southward. 20 15.  The exact date of the discovery of the Amarna Letters at the site of Tell el-Amarna in Egypt is unclear, but it was probably in the mid-1880s (see Moran 1992: xiii–xv). 16.  These texts are published in transliteration in Corpus der hurritischen Sprachdenkmäler, vol. 1 (for the various volumes, see the list of abbreviations). The Hurrian presence and influence on the Hittites is well documented. For overviews, see Hoffner 1998b and Klinger 2001, among others. See also Giorigieri 2002a. 17.  By far, the most examples of Hurrian from Hattusa are from ritual texts, but omens, oracles, and myths in the language are also known from the site. 18.  On this bilingual, see most recently Dijkstra 1993 and Wilhelm 2003b; on the vocabularies, see n. 33 below. A number of alphabetic-script incantations as well as several songs have also been found at Ugarit (see, for example, Dietrich and Mayer 1994 on alphabetic incantations). See also Laroche 1955. 19.  By the reign of Amonhotep III (Amonophis), references to the Mittani Empire (Naharin) are couched in less-militaristic terms, indicating that the two powers had come to a mutual agreement about their respective areas of control in Syria–Palestine. It is not until the latter part of Amonhotep III’s reign that Mittani is again reflected in a negative light. This is likely due to the murder of Tušratta’s brother, the rightful king of Mittani, by UD-hi. If Egypt and Mittani shared a peace treaty similar to treaties used by the more-northern Hittites, then the pharaoh would have had to react adversely to the assassination of his “brother,” the Mittani king. The treaties of the Hittites make sure to include provisions for the installment of the proper successor to the throne of both parties. In the first Amarna letter sent by Tušratta to Amonhotep III (EA 17), the Mittani king appears to be trying to reestablish peaceful relations between the two lands. 20.  The Hittite documentation concerning the fall of Mittani is largely found in the “Deeds of Suppiluliuma” (CTH 40).

1.3.  Statement of Purpose


1.3.  Statement of Purpose In this book, I define the form and function of the numerous nonindicative verbal forms in Hurrian. The nonindicative in Hurrian consists of a large complement of modal endings. There are at least eight distinct modal forms that can be identified clearly, 21 and there may be more. In this work, I take a typological approach, focusing on linguistic structures within Hurrian. The primary emphasis of this work is on the specific forms and functions of the numerous modal forms in the language. Comparisons—and to a lesser extent contrasts—with nonindicative forms in modern ergative languages are also included. I am not directly concerned here with theoretical linguistics. Although there are many points of interest for those working in theory, my main purpose in this work is descriptive and typological, in that I situate a little-known, unaffiliated language in the typological framework of ergativity. 1.4.  Current State of the Field 1.4.1. Progress! A study such as this is truly built on the work of other scholars. Many of the details contained herein differ from the communis opinio, but this is not so much a divergence from the status quo as it is the evolution of tradition. Without the past work of others, both recent and antiquated, this study would not be possible. While Hurrian remains among the “lesser-known languages” of the ancient Near East (Gragg 1995), work in the past 20 years has seen our understanding of the language grow exponentially. Despite being a relatively minor language in terms of textual attestations, Hurrian has always enjoyed at least the passing attention of Assyriologists and Hittitologists. Between the discovery of the Mittani Letter among the texts of the Amarna Letters in the 1880s and the discovery of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual at the site of Hattusa in 1983–85, four grammars of the language were published along with numerous treatises on various grammatical features. 22 For the first 100 years of its existence, “Hurritology” was largely limited to the study of the approximately 500 lines of the Mittani Letter. Other texts certainly aided in the

21.  This count includes the first-person cohortative and third-person command forms under the rubric jussive (see chap. 5). 22.  The earliest treatments of Hurrian are Jensen 1890; Brünnow 1890; and Sayce 1890. Johannes Friedrich published his “Kleine Beiträge zur hurritischen Grammatik” in 1939. In 1941, Speiser published the first true grammar of the language in his Introduction to Hurrian. A second grammar appeared in 1964 with Frederic Bush’s dissertation A Grammar of the Hurrian Language. This was closely followed by Friedrich’s 1969 contribution to the Handbuch der Orientalistik in his long article “Churritisch.” The year 1971 saw the publication of the translation of Diakonoff’s seminal Hurrisch und Urartäisch. One should also note the short but problematic grammar included by Laroche in his Glossaire de la langue hurrite (1976: 25–28). For a concise record of the early works on Hurrian, see Wegner 2000: 127–30, which was updated in 2007: 21–34.



study of the language, 23 but almost all advances in Hurrian were the result of studies of this one letter. 24 The discovery of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual 25 revolutionized our understanding of the language. 26 Several well-preserved tablets containing both the Hurrian text and Hittite translation as well as numerous fragments provided scholars with a wealth of new information about the language. 27 The Bilingual not only provided new insights into the Hurrian language; it was invaluable in helping scholars begin to decipher the other Hurrian texts from Boğazköy that had hitherto proven to be largely unreadable. 28 Equally important at this time was the appearance of the first volumes of the series Corpus der hurritischen Sprachdenkmäler (ChS), which accomplished the systematic publication of the Hurrian texts in transliteration from Boğazköy according to genre. 29 The discovery of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual resulted in a renewed interest in Hurrian and, as a result, more treatments of various aspects of the grammar and of the texts themselves began to appear. Within a period of approximately ten years, our understanding of the language had grown so far beyond what had been previously known that the earlier grammars of Bush and Diakonoff, while not rendered obsolete, desperately needed 23.  Particularly important are the vocabulary texts (Thureau-Dangin 1931) and the short Akkadian­ ­ urrian bilingual text (most recently Dijkstra 1993 and Wilhelm 2003b, both with bibliography) from the H site of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra). The texts from Boğazköy were of some limited use, but lexical problems in the texts made the study of them difficult. 24.  See, for example, Goetze (1939), who liberally includes material from Boğazköy. The studies of Berkooz 1937 and Oppenheim 1936–37 focused on Hurrian from Nuzi (even if not necessarily recognized specifically as Hurrian), while Thureau-Dangin 1939 published on the Hurrian texts from Mari. ThureauDangin (1931: 234–66), Friedrich (1935: 128–35), and Brandenstein (1937) were some of the first to use the material from Ugarit. Even after the discovery of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual, the Mittani Letter remained the focus of study in such work as Dietrich and Mayer 1991; 1992; 1993; Girbal 1988; 1989; 1990; 1992; Haas and Wegner 1997b; Wilhelm 1984. In the 1980s inroads began to be made into the Hurrian texts from Boğazköy. Among the important early studies to use material from Boğazköy are: Haas and Thiel 1978; Haas and Wilhelm 1974; Wegner 1988; 1990; Wilhelm 1983. 25.  The tablets of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual are traditionally treated as belonging to one large text (for example, see Hoffner 1998a: 65–80; and the text edition by Neu 1996a). This view has been successfully challenged (Otto 2001; Wilhelm 2001c: 82–85), and while all of the tablets are clearly thematically related (Otto 2001: 529), they are not to be taken as a single composition. 26.  Published in hand copy by Otten and Rüster 1990. The text edition was published by Neu in 1996. For bibliography of the earliest references to the Bilingual, see Neu 1996a: 1 n. 1. 27.  There are different opinions regarding the way that the texts of the bilingual should be combined. There has even been a recent push to separate some texts—primarily the parables KBo 32.12 and KBo 32.14—from the “Song of Release” (see Wilhelm 2001c: 84). 28.  Note especially the works of Giorgieri 1998; Haas 1989; Salvini 1988a; Wegner 1990; 1994; Wilhelm 2001a; among others. 29.  The ChS grew out of the meetings on the hurritologische Archiv between German and Italian scholars in the late 1970s and 1980s. The first volume, ChS I/1: Die Serien itkahi und itkalzi des AZU-priesters, Rituale für Tašmišarri und Tatuhepa sowie weitere Texte mit Bezug auf Tašmišarri, was published in 1984. Future volumes of the ChS—namely, those belonging to the second Abteilung (texts from other archives)— will continue to work with Hurrian texts from outside Boğazköy. Despite some problems, the volumes of ChS 1 are an indispensable tool for anyone studying the Hurrian language. In the examples given in this book, I will use the ChS publication number for the texts. An index correlating ChS numbers to actual KBo / KUB publication numbers is provided in appendix 3.

1.4.  Current State of the Field


updating. In 2000, two new grammars of Hurrian appeared: Ilse Wegner’s German Hurritisch: Eine Einführung (with a 2nd edition appearing in 2007) and Mauro Giorgieri’s Italian Schizzo grammaticale della lingua hurrica in the journal Parola del Passato. The two authors have distinct views of the Hurrian language and approach it differently, allowing the grammars to complement one another rather than be redundant. 30 Additionally, two short grammatical sketches of the language by Gernot Wilhelm (2004a) and Joost Hazenbos (2005) have since appeared. 1.4.2.  Problems Remain The modern scholar of Hurrian now has at his or her disposal a wide assortment of tools, from general grammars to articles focused on specific linguistic features. 31 That being said, numerous difficulties are still encountered by anyone seeking to study Hurrian. A number of features of Hurrian grammar are still poorly understood. 32 Compounding this issue is our relatively poor grasp of Hurrian lexicography. Despite the vocabulary texts from Ugarit 33 and the few bilinguals, the lexicon of Hurrian remains a large obstacle to our study of the language. In his grammar, Bush largely refrains from bringing the Boğazköy texts into his study because, as he writes: “Although some very helpful lexical information has been forthcoming from the Boghazköi material, the texts themselves are largely unintelligible . . . and consequently can only serve as ancillary sources for Hurrian grammar” (Bush 1964: 10). The situation is somewhat better at present, but much of the vocabulary in the Boğazköy texts is still beyond our grasp. Nevertheless, the texts from the Hittite capital have been heavily used in this book and, although certain passages are untranslatable, much of the material now lends itself to grammatical analysis, even though a large number of words remain untranslated. An equally problematic feature of the texts from Boğazköy is their relatively poor level of preservation. When one looks through the texts in the volumes of ChS 1, it is notable that most are small fragments. Not only is it difficult to determine the context of passages; oftentimes the passages themselves are largely unintelligible because they are missing so many elements. Given the fact that word order is highly variable in Hurrian, when the texts are fragmentary it is typically impossible to tell where a phrase begins and ends. However, the situation is not as bleak as it appears. Many of the fragments are

30.  The grammar of Wegner functions something like a primer for the Hurrian language and even includes a number of lengthy text passages with full commentary at the back of the book. Giorgieri’s grammar is of a more technical nature. 31.  For example, the works of Wegner 1995a and Wilhelm 1995, both on Suffixaufnahme in Hurrian. Also to be mentioned are Laroche’s invaluable glossary of Hurrian (1976; 1977); the work on the Hurrian lexicon by De Martino and Giorgieri (2008) and their corresponding Web site, index.php; and the work of Nozadze (2007). 32.  In particular, the enclitic particles, the exact function of the relators ⸗ne and ⸗na (Bush 1973), the function of most derivational morphemes, and various aspects of syntax all require further study. Also problematic are the indicative, monovalent verbal morphemes ⸗u and ⸗e. 33.  This includes vocabulary treated by Thureau-Dangin 1931; Khačikyan 1975; Huehnergard 1987: 21–102; and André-Salvini and Salvini 1998; 2000.



duplicates of or parallels to others, a fact that occasionally permits us to form a more or less complete text. 1.4.3.  Viability of This Work Despite the problems plaguing the study of Hurrian, a detailed study of a specific grammatical feature such as modality is now possible. This study relies on both a detailed examination of forms and the contexts in which they are found. Therein lies the caveat lector: due to the problematic nature of the majority of Hurrian texts, the results of this study, although based on solid philological groundwork, are probable but must remain tentative. When context is all but lost, it can be virtually impossible to determine the exact nuance of a particular nonindicative form. One example is the purposive mood in ⸗ai (formerly called the finalis), which is discussed in chap. 7. At least three different functions can be discerned for this morpheme—two of which are closely related (i.e., the purposive and consequential function) and a distinct third function (i.e., indicating necessity). If the verbal form in ⸗ai is in broken context, its exact function is nearly impossible to determine. In this sort of situation, the translator is forced to rely on intuition and Sprachgefühl. While I have primarily relied on passages in clear or at least mostly clear context, due to the relative infrequency of some of the nonindicative endings, it was necessary at times to include passages from fragmentary contexts. 1.5.  Layout of the Work This book is primarily a formal discussion of indicators of modality in Hurrian verbs. My focus is on the morphological shape of the modal endings and their syntactic role in the phrase. The indicative is a form of modality, indicating either the speaker’s firm belief in the truth value of a statement or his/her ambivalence regarding it (see §3.1). I do not, however, discuss the Hurrian indicative in great detail. These forms are relatively well studied, 34 and while more work is certainly needed, this is not the place for such an analysis. In chap. 2, I discuss the basics of Hurrian grammar, including a brief overview of the indicative. I have not concerned myself here with a study of the diverse, largely unidentified set of derivational morphemes in Hurrian. While it is understood here that derivational morphemes can play a large role in shaping and changing the verb, I feel that these morphemes deserve a complete study of their own. Chapter 2 concludes with a collection of passages that illustrate aspects of Hurrian grammar. Chapter 3 provides an overview of mood and modality. The different forms that modality takes, primarily propositional (e.g., epistemic) and event (e.g., deontic), are briefly discussed. This is followed (§3.2) by a discussion of the issue of voice in the Hurrian nonindicative. It is my contention that the nonindicative, in contrast to the indicative, marks active (i.e., agent focusing) and patientive (i.e., patient focusing) voices. The 34.  Some of the primary studies on the indicative verb are: Diakonoff 1971: 113–28; Giorgieri 2000a: 223–33; Hazenbos 2005: 147–49; Neu 1990; Wegner 2000: 74–86; 2007: 85–101; Wilhelm 1992b; 2004a: 110–12.

1.6.  Note on the Transcription of the Hurrian Language


underlying logic behind this is discussed in some detail here (see also chap 12). Chapter 3 concludes with a brief overview of the various modal endings in Hurrian and their functions (§3.3). Chapters 4–11 deal with the various nonindicative moods in Hurrian. There are a large number of these moods in Hurrian, but some are better represented in the preserved material than others. Because of this, the treatments of some endings, such as the imperative (chap. 4), jussive (chap. 5) and optative (chap. 6) are much more exhaustive than others, such as the potential (chap. 7), purposive 35 (chap. 8), and desiderative (chap. 9). Chapter 10 analyzes the complex of morphemes ⸗(ož)illandin and ⸗illandu/o, while in chap. 11 a probably modal ending, ⸗e, is examined. The structure of these chapters is as follows: after a brief introduction on the mood in question, a short cross-linguistic overview of comparative (and sometimes contrasting) examples of the mood in other, primarily ergative languages is presented. The purpose of this section is to show the diverse ways in which similar moods are treated in various languages. This is followed by a section on form and function. Here the phonological shape of the modal ending and its function (or functions) are considered. The final section is devoted to a philological treatment of passages containing the relevant modal ending. Modality is related not only to the verb but to the phrase as a whole. For this reason, it is best to place the modal phrase in its correct context in order to study its function. Given the difficult nature of the majority of Hurrian texts, this often requires detailed philological investigations into not just the modal phrase but the surrounding phrases as well. In chap. 12. the morphemes ⸗o⸗, ⸗i⸗ and ⸗l⸗ are discussed, and I attempt to pin down their exact functions. Chapter 13 functions as both a conclusion and a concise descriptive grammar of the nonindicative verb in Hurrian. The major points discussed throughout this book are included in this chapter with cross-references to their original discussion. I have included both paradigms and a series of passages that exemplify various points of grammar. Following chap. 13 are three appendixes. The first appendix is a collection of grammatical forms from treated passages. I do not parse all morphological elements fully, however, especially not root modifiers. The second is a concordance of cited passages. In it, the publication numbers of all of the texts used from the ChS volumes are provided. Throughout this work, I have preferred to use ChS numbers with cited passages; their corresponding publication numbers are given in appendix 3. 1.6.  Note on the Transcription of the Hurrian Language In publications on the Hurrian language, there are different trends regarding transcribing Hurrian, although many scholars are in general agreement. The reason for the differences is partly due to the individual preferences and beliefs of scholars and partly due to the Hurrian texts themselves. Hurrian texts were written down over a period of nearly 1,000 years, and they were created in various regions of the ancient Near East. 35.  The purposive is traditionally labeled the finalis in Hurritological studies. Because of my crosslinguistic work in comparing Hurrian with other languages, I consider the label purposive to suit the varied functions of this ending better. See chap. 7 for a complete discussion of this mood.



The cuneiform writing system and the scribal conventions of this system varied both diachronically and synchronically across the region. Because the scribes used the traditions of their particular times and places, their texts reflect their differing conventions. Cuneiform was not designed to represent the phonemes in Hurrian, and therefore the scribes did their best to transcribe the language, each one following his own set of standards. The so-called Mittani Letter (EA 24) helps us a great deal in understanding how the phonetic system of Hurrian may have worked. As an official letter between Tušratta, the Hurrian king of Mittani, and Amonhotep III, the pharaoh of Egypt, it was written using a chancellory script that appears to have been designed specifically for writing Hurrian. The text follows specific rules for writing Hurrian words, such as: consistently differentiating between geminate and nongeminate consonants; relatively consistently using plene and hyper-plene vowels; C(onsonant)V(owel) and VC signs do not necessarily represent actual phonemes, because their proper reading is environmentally conditioned (e.g., the signs DI and TI are read as either /di/ or /ti/, depending on their position in the word), 36 using special conventions, such as the GI sign for /ke/ or /ge/, while using KI for /ki/ or /gi/; and using GU for /ko / or /go / and KU for /ku/ or /gu/. The highly normalized system allows us to determine that the Hurrians of the Mittani Empire differentiated consonants based on several criteria (voiced/voiceless, stressed/unstressed, etc.), 37 and they distinguished various qualities of vowels as well (length? stress?). The alphabetic Hurrian texts from Ugarit (Ras Shamra) allowed values to be assigned to the conventions of the Mittani chancellory script. By comparing the spelling of Hurrian words in the alphabetic texts with similar words in the Mittani Letter, scholars determined that Hurrian demonstrated a positional patterning of consonantal qualities of stops (see early on Friedrich 1935: 128–31; Speiser 1940: 319–20). The following rules have since been determined: consonants are voiceless 38 when word-intial, when intervocalic and long (geminate), or when in contact with another consonant that is not /m/, /n/, /l/, or /r/; consonants are voiced when: word-final, when intervocalic and short (single writing), or when in contact with /m/, /n/, /l/, and /r/. 39 This positional system is well represented by Wilhelm (note that capital letters stand for the consonants that have allophonic [- positional] voicing): (1.1) P T K ts̮ F Š S Ḫ m n l r w y (from Wilhelm 2004: 98) 36. Note the following examples: e-ti-i-tan-na-ma-an /ed(i)⸗ī⸗da⸗nna⸗man/ (Mitt. i 46); ša-a-at-ti/ šātti/ (i 23); a-di-i-ni-i-in /adī⸗nīn/ (i 16) 37.  See, for example, Wegner 2007: 46; and Thiel 1975. 38.  This use of “voiceless” and “voiced” is conventional in Hurrian studies, but it should not be taken to mean that this is the actual distinction between consonantal qualities in the language. It may even be possible that Hurrian distinguished further articulations of consonants such as found in Caucasian languages. 39.  This schema is taken almost direclty from Wilhelm 2004: 98. See also Wegner 2007: 45–46.

1.6.  Note on the Transcription of the Hurrian Language


The issue of vocalic quality is more difficult to determine. Hurrian texts, like all cuneiform texts, do not carefully distinguish /e/ and /i/. 40 The Mittani Letter is the only Hurrian text that distinguishes between two rounded vowels, presumably /u/ and /o /. The vowel /u/ is written with the Ú sign (or the GU sign; see above), while /o / is written with the U sign (or KU; see above). Accordingly, Hurrian is seen as having five vowels: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o /, and /u/. 41 The use of plene writings of vowels (e.g., CV1-V1(-)) can indicate length, giving us two quantities of vowels (short/long?). Plene spellings are relatively carefully marked in the Mittani Letter but in no other Hurrian texts. The presence of plene spellings, even in the Mittani Letter, may not always mark lengthening of the vowel but may instead indicate the vocalic quality of the preceding sign (e.g., wu-ri-e-ta as either for⸗ēd⸗a [lengthening] or for⸗ed⸗a [-e- indicates that preceding RI sign is to be read as -re-]). 42 In this work, I follow Wilhelm in taking every instance of plene spelling as indicating vocalic quantity. Hurrian displays the following morphological processes (taken from Giorgieri 2000: 188–92; and Wilhelm 2004: 100–101): 1. Vowel loss: when two vowels are in contact, the first one is typically elided. 2. Vowel loss: /a/ and /i/ are elided between /n/, /r/, /l/, and dentals. 3. Vowel loss + assimilation: when a nominal form ending in -l/n/ri is followed by the relator -ne/-na, the root vowel -i elides, and the /n/ of the relator assimilates to the preceding consonant. 4. Elision of intial consonant of the genitive (⸗ve) and dative (⸗va) to preceding plural morpheme (⸗ž⸗). 5. Elision of ergative case marker ⸗ž when followed by these enclitic pronouns: firstperson singular and plural, second-person singular, 43 and third-person plural. 6. Assimilation of the third-person singular enclitic pronoun ⸗n/⸗nna when following the ergative case marker (*⸗ž⸗nna > ⸗š⸗ša). 44 7. Assimilation of genitive ⸗ve and dative ⸗va to preceding /P/, /T/, or /Š/ (e.g., Teššop⸗pe “of Teššob”). 8. Assimilation of the vowel of the affixes ⸗Všt⸗ and ⸗kkV to preceding vowel. 9. Partial assimilation of genitive ⸗ve and dative ⸗va when they immediately follow a /u/ vowel (e.g., šēn(a)⸗iffu⸗wa). 10. Anaptyxis: Words of the type (C)VC1C2V insert an anaptictic vowel between C1 and C2 that is identical to the preceding vowel when the word is modified by the derivational morphemes ⸗ġe, ⸗ni, and ⸗ži. 11. Anaptyxis: an ⸗i⸗ is added when the jussive ⸗en or ablative ⸗dan is followed by an enclitic pronoun other than third singular.

40.  See Wegner 2007: 44; Richter 2012: xxiv; Giorgieri and Wilhelm 1995. 41.  Wilhelm 2004: 99; Wegner 2007: 47. 42.  See Wegner 2007: 44. 43.  Evidence for a second-person-plural enclitic pronoun following an ergative is lacking. 44.  See Farber 1971.



12. Vowel shift; /e/, /i/, and /o / go to /a/ when followed by a first-person singular/ plural or third-person singular/plural enclitic pronoun. 13. Metathesis: rare in Hurrian (best examples are *kik-ši > kiški, “third,” and *Ḫebat⸗ ve > Ḫebap/fte “of Ḫebat”).

Chapter 2 Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb 2.1. Introduction Scholars agree to a great extent on the basics of Hurrian grammar. In this section, I present a brief overview of the elements of Hurrian grammar that recur throughout this book. This is a brief sketch of the language and is in no way meant to be comprehensive. This section includes a brief introduction to the language, an overview of the nominal system that focuses on the core arguments, a description of the indicative verbal system, and finally, a discussion of Hurrian syntax. 2.2. Ergativity Hurrian is an ergative language—or to be more accurate, it functions according to an ergative system (Blake 2001: 25). Ergativity in case-marking languages such as Hurrian is defined thus: the grammatical role 1 of the S(ubject) of the intransitive verb is in the same case as the grammatical role of the P(atient) of the transitive verb, while the A(gent) of the transitive verb is in a different, ergative case (see Palmer 1998: 10). This can be schematically depicted as: (2.1) S = P absolutive A ergative

In nominative(-accusative) systems, we find the following correspondences: (2.2) A = S nominative P accusative

The difference between the two systems is well illustrated by the following schematic. The grammatical roles that are treated identically in a particular system appear within the ovals. (2.3) S S A P A P nominative-accusative ergative

1.  Grammatical roles are determined by the grammatical forms available in a particular language. Case, on the other hand, is the morphological marking on nominals that relates them to a (typically predicate) head. The relationship between grammatical roles and case is typically quite fluid, with cases filling a number of different roles depending on the NP’s function in a particular clause. See Palmer 1998: 4–5; and van Valin and LaPolla 1997 84–87; on the issue in Hurrian, see Campbell 2011.



Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb

The relation between the grammatical roles in ergative systems and in nominative systems can be modified for syntactic or pragmatic reasons. In nominative systems, the passive places the P noun phrase (NP) in the subject position, requiring it to be in the nominative case. 2 This movement of P from the accusative to the nominative is an act of promotion (i.e., the movement from a secondary [= patient] role to the primary [= subject] role). 3 Ergative systems have a similar mechanism of promotion that acts not on the patient but on the agent. In the antipassive voice, 4 the A NP is promoted from the ergative to the absolutive (i.e., a process whereby A = S, where S is always absolutive). In both the passive and the antipassive, the act of promotion requires a concurrent act of demotion. In the passive, it is the A NP, while in the antipassive it is the P NP that undergoes this demotion. In both situations, the demoted NP is either placed in an oblique case or it is entirely omitted. Example (2.4) schematizes the process of promotion/demotion and is not meant to demonstrate a functional similarity between the two. In fact, the passive and antipassive have quite distinct functions (see §2.5 below). (2.4) nominative:

active passive

A = S, P S = P, A


active antipassive

S = P, A S = A, P

2.3.  Hurrian Word Formation Hurrian is an agglutinating language, a trait shared with the other so-called lessunderstood languages of the ancient Near East (Gragg 1995: 2161–79). A typical word consists of a root that always appears in initial position. This root is often ambivalent with regard to function, being able to take on both verbal and nominal aspects, depending on the morphemes appended to it. 5 Due to the agglutinative nature of the language, these morphemes appear at strict phonological boundaries, with very little fusion or allomorphy. When present, allomorphy is always motivated by phonetic rules. 6 As is to be expected, morphemes that occur closest to the root are derivational in nature, semantically modifying the root (e.g., causative, iterative, and factitive morphemes). 7 Those set farther away from the root are used to indicate the word’s (syntactic) function in the sentence (e.g., case, tense, number). These elements are monofunctional and appear in a clearly prescribed order (see Giorgieri 2000a: 192–94). 2.  On the passive, see studies such as Siewierska 1984; and Klaiman 1991; among many others. 3.  See Dixon and Aikhenvald 2000: 8. 4.  On the antipassive, see Cooreman 1994; Dixon 1994: 146–52; Kalmár 1979; among others. 5.  Examples of this ambiguity in function abound in Hurrian. Take, for example, the root ḫan-. As a verb, ḫan- means “to bear/sire (children).” Several nominal uses of this root are known: ḫāni “child,” ḫan⸗ iri “one who has given birth,” ḫan⸗um⸗a⸗šše “creation, fertility,” ḫan⸗u⸗mb⸗azḫe “fertility.” 6.  E.g., loss of intervocalic -i- and word-final -n in certain situations: nu-ut-te (⸗ nud(⸗i)⸗d⸗e(n)) ChS I/1 62 rev. 16; ka-ti-il-li (⸗ kad⸗il(⸗i)⸗l⸗e(n)) KBo 32.11 i 4, 7; see Giorgieri 2000a: 189. 7.  On derivational morphemes, see Bybee 1985: 81–91; and Matthews 1997: 61–81. Matthews prefers the term lexical derivation, contrasting it to inflectional derivations in his terminology.

2.4.  The Nominal System


Table 2.1.  Core Arguments Paradigm ergative absolutive essive dative

Singular ⸗ž ⸗∅ ⸗a ⸗wa; ⸗va

Plural (⸗na)⸗až⸗už ⸗na (⸗na)⸗až⸗a (⸗na)⸗až⸗a

Function A P, A, B P; location in; equative B; movement to; IO

Key: A - agent; S - subject (of intransitive verbs); P - patient (direct object); B - beneficiary; IO - indirect object

2.4.  The Nominal System Hurrian is a rich case-marking language. In tables 2.1–2.2, I separate out the cases that are primary cases—that is to say, core arguments—from the cases that play a peripheral role. 8 This is not to say that there is no overlap between the two. For example, as a primary case the dative is used to mark the role of beneficiary. The beneficiary is included among the core arguments because it can be promoted to the absolutive through dative-shift (see below). The dative is often also used in a peripheral role, indicating such things as the place to which an action is directed. The ergative ⸗ž is the most restrictive of the core-argument markers. In the indicative, it is only found with agents in active, transitive constructions. The NP in the ergative case will be the controller of the action of the verb. 9 NPs in the ergative case cannot undergo restrictive primary relativization (i.e., they cannot function as the heads of relative clauses formed by the particle iya⸗, on which, see §2.6 below). In order for this to happen, the NP must be promoted to the absolutive case through use of the antipassive voice. The relationship between agent and the ergative case in the nonindicative forms is variable. This topic will be explored throughout the following chapters. As a marker of core grammatical roles, the absolutive enjoys the widest distribution. As shown above in table 2.1, the absolutive is typically used to mark S and P NPs. The subject of an intransitive verb, regardless of whether it controls the action (i.e., functions as an agent [SA]—e.g., “he goes”) or is an undergoer of a change of state (i.e., functions as a patient [SP]—e.g., “he grows” or “he falls ill”), will always be in the absolutive case. With most transitive, indicative constructions, the patient is in the absolutive, but in some cases, it can be demoted (see below on dative-shift). The enclitic pronouns are always absolutive, and as such, they typically function as S or P. 10 The essive has a variety of functions, many of which belong to oblique arguments. 11 When found on core arguments, the essive functions as a placeholder for demoted 8.  The following section on the relationship between grammatical roles and formal case-marking of core arguments in Hurrian is based on Campbell 2011. 9.  On the ergative case, see Blake 2001: 28. For a number of languages, the ergative can be shown to be derived from an oblique—typically an instrumental or genitive (Trask 1979: 385). 10.  Throughout this work, I parse the enclitic pronouns as person.abs in order to place further emphasis on their case alignment. 11.  On the essive, see Wilhelm 2000; Campbell 2011.


Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb

Table 2.2.  Peripheral Cases Paradigm Singular ⸗we; ⸗ve ⸗da ⸗dan ⸗ra ⸗nna

Plural (⸗na)⸗až⸗e (⸗na)⸗aš⸗ta (⸗na)⸗aš⸗tan (⸗na)⸗až⸗u⸗ra (⸗na)⸗až⸗u⸗nna

⸗už ⸗ae; ⸗ai


⸗ni; ⸗ne








genitive directive ablative comitative equative adverbial equative instrumental adverbial ablativeinstrumental

Function belonging to movement toward movement from “with” “like” “as” “like” instrument (nouns) adverb (adjectives) instrument; movement from; movement toward; locative of place “like” “in the manner of” “in”

patients. In the antipassive, the absolutive case is filled by the agent. Because of this, the patient, when expressed, is in the essive case. This in part has to do with the function of the antipassive as a detransitivizing voice (see below). The essive has a related function with certain modal forms as well. The beneficiary is the one to whom the action is directed. This role is filled by both the dative and the directive case. The beneficiary can be the recipient of an actual physical patient (see [2.17]) or an intangible patient, such as the words of a speech act (see [2.19]). Hurrian allows the promotion of the beneficiary from the dative/directive to the absolutive, filling the role typically held by the patient (see exx. [2.18], [2.19]). 12 This case movement of the beneficiary can be identified as dative-shift and is often done for discourse reasons, especially when the beneficiary is the topic. 12.  This movement of B to the absolutive (with subsequent demotion of P) has been treated differently by other scholars (Neu 1990: 230–31 n. 18; 1996a: 109; De Martino 1999: 13; Haas 1993: 267–68). Instead of seeing the absolutive case NP as a promoted B, they take it as the proper patient. The essive form is not a demoted P but, rather, has an adverbial-like function. Based on this analysis, in the phrase nāli faban(i)⸗ni⸗ž šidarn(i)⸗a kul⸗ōr⸗o⸗m (KBo 32.14 i 9–10), “The mountain cursed the deer (lit., the mountain spoke the deer curses),” the absolutive nāli is taken as the logical patient of kul-, an analysis that certainly stretches credulity. The essive šidarna is seen as an adverb modifying how the speaking was done (i.e., “spoke like a curse” or vel sim.). A much simpler explanation is that the absolutive nāli is actually the beneficiary that has, for discourse reasons (it is the topic of the entire parable) been promoted to the absolutive (Campbell 2011: 39). This functions to keep the nāli as the primary topic of the discourse. In response to this promotion of B, the logical patient šidarni is demoted to the essive. Based on this analysis, it is not the “deer” that the mountain speaks but, rather, curses directed at the deer. This topic is treated in much more detail in Campbell 2011: 35–41.

2.5.  The Indicative Verb


2.5.  The Indicative Verb The following discussion on the Hurrian verb will be limited to the indicative and will be cursory in nature. As with the nominals, a verb consists of a word-initial root that can be modified by derivational morphemes affixed directly to it. Hurrian verbs inflect for tense/aspect, negation, valence, and person(+number), with the last being found only on transitive verbs. 13 The morphemes used to indicate these grammatical functions differ depending on valence: the intransitive uses one set of markings and the transitive another. In transitive verbs, certain morphemes, such as the valence marker and negative morphemes differ according to person. Another issue that arises in a study of the verbal system is the diachronic differences between earlier vestiges of the language (Old Hurrian or OHu) and the later dialect of the Mittani Letter (Mittani Hurrian or MHu) and some Boğazköy texts. The OHu 14 and MHu verbs are quite distinct from one another. This does not imply, however, that the two are not genetically related. MHu is not reflecting a new tradition or considerable influence from the outside but the diachronic evolution of verbal forms that can be found in OHu. One of the primary differences between these two dialects is the form of the transitive verb. The intransitive and antipassive are marked identically in OHu and MHu, with ⸗a and ⸗i, respectively. In OHu, transitive verbs are typically marked by the valence morpheme ⸗o⸗ with extended forms in ⸗id⸗o (third-plural agent; example [2.14] below) and ⸗o⸗m (third-singular agent; example [2.13] below). 15 There are alternate OHu forms that are poorly attested but that resemble MHu forms— namely, third-person-singular forms in ⸗a—which are probably preceded by an empty morpheme (i.e., ⸗∅⸗a). 16 In MHu, we find the transitive valence marker ⸗i⸗ and agent agreement markers. The OHu forms in ⸗o⸗m versus those in ∅⸗a appear to indicate different aspects. This issue will not be explored further here, but it is quite likely that transitive verbs in ⸗o⸗ are perfective, while those in ⸗∅⸗ (with agent agreement) are imperfective. A morpheme ⸗b is often affixed after the intransitive and antipassive morphemes (i.e., one-argument verbs; see Campbell 2008a: 76–80). This ⸗b may also function as a perfective marker. 17 13.  It has been argued the final ⸗b of OHu intransitive and antipassive is a third-person-agreement marker (see most recently Wegner 2007: 127). As I have demonstrated (in Campbell 2008a: 76–80), this ⸗b is not restricted to verbs with third-person subjects/agents but is found with all persons and numbers. Thus, it cannot function as an agreement marker and must have a different function. 14.  I will be treating OHu here as a “dialect,” purposefully grouping all versions of OHu (from northern Syria, central Mesopotamia, and central Anatolia) together. We simply do not have enough material to do justice to the variety of dialects that actually made up OHu. This approach is the same taken by Wilhelm 2004a: 97. 15.  Wilhelm (1992b: 665–67) takes ⸗m as a binary morpheme marking both agent and patient. Other alternatives have been offered (Giorgieri 2000a: 29; Hazenbos 2005: 148 n. 41; Campbell 2008a), but the recent contribution by Wegner (2007: 131) best suits the available evidence. 16.  For examples of transitive (imperfective?) forms without expected ⸗i⸗, see Giorgieri 2003; Campbell 2007: 60–62. 17.  See n. 13 above.


Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb

MHu functions according to a tense system: ⸗∅⸗ present, ⸗ed⸗ future, and ⸗ož⸗ past/ preterite. These tense markers come before the valence markers, in contrast to the OHu aspect markers, which are the final morpheme of the verb (not including enclitics such as pronouns and connectives and agreement markers). The future-tense-marker ⸗ed⸗ may have a modal function (see §7.2.3). This is not surprising, however, in that the future tense refers to actions not yet completed and is therefore tentative by nature. The Hurrian verb marks for valence, indicating the number of core arguments that it can take. Hurrian allows for either multivalent verbs (transitives) with agent, patient, and optional indirect object (depending on the verb) or monovalent verbs (intransitives and antipassives). By the time of MHu, the transitive was marked by the morpheme ⸗i⸗ when the agent was second or third person (⸗i⸗o and ⸗i⸗a(⸗ž), respectively) but by ⸗∅⸗ with first-person agents (⸗∅⸗av; see exx. [2.15–2.16]). The intransitive is usually marked by the morpheme ⸗a, but forms marked by ⸗e (stative) and ⸗u also appear (perhaps indicating, at least in part, that S = P?—i.e., that S is SP and is therefore the undergoer of the action/change of state of the predicate). The antipassive voice is a means for changing transitive verbs into monovalent verbs by promoting A to S (i.e., from the ergative case to the absolutive) and demoting (or omitting) P. The antipassive voice has two major functions in Hurrian: to detransitivize the verb and to allow A NPs to function in what are known as syntactic pivots (on which, see §2.6). The latter function indicates that Hurrian operates, to a certain extent, like a language with ergative syntax. In its detransitivizing function, the antipassive removes the focus from the patient and places it on the verb or agent, thereby increasing the focus on the action at the expense of the patient. In the passage ela faġroža tāndib . . . Āllāni “Allani (the bolt of the earth) prepared a beautiful feast” (KBo 32.13 i 12–13; exx. [2.9–2.10] below), the focus is on the making of the feast rather than the feast itself. In fact, the acts that constitute this preparation—that is, the slaughter of specific numbers of sacred animals—immediately follow as active transitives in ⸗o⸗m (i 15–19). 18 The final verbal element to be discussed here is agreement. The intransitive and antipassive forms do not show agreement with their subject. 19 The final ⸗b on these forms in OHu can no longer be taken as third-person agreement markers (Campbell 2008: 76–80), even though this analysis is still followed by most scholars. In OHu, third-plural agents of transitive verbs are marked by the morpheme ⸗id⸗, which actually comes before the transitive ⸗o⸗. Why this agreement marker comes before the valence marker is unknown, but it may indicate that this morpheme was originally derivational, perhaps having a pluractional function. With transitive forms in ⸗o⸗m, the final ⸗m appears to be the third-person-singular agreement marker (Wegner 2007: 131). MHu transitive verbs, on the other hand, position their agent agreement markers after the valence marker (i.e., 18.  On the function of the antipassive with syntactic pivots, see Campbell 2007: 77–79; 2011. 19.  In languages such as Jacaltec (a Mayan language), clitics are used to cross-reference arguments in situations where “there is only one argument to cross-reference (intransitives), while agreement is used in addition to a clitic when there are two arguments to cross-reference (transitives)” (Woolford 1999: 1). This also appears to hold for Hurrian.

2.6. Syntax


after ⸗i⸗ for second and third person and after ⸗∅⸗ for first person). Plural agents are indicated by the inclusion of the plural morpheme ⸗ž. With the first and third person, ⸗av⸗ž “we” and ⸗a⸗ž “they” appear. Second-person plurals form slightly differently. The combination *⸗o⸗ž apparently undergoes metathesis, resulting in the ending ⸗aššo (Richter 2005b: 120–21 with n. 49). 2.6. Syntax Morphologically, Hurrian is an ideal representative of ergative languages, at least in the indicative. There is a strict dichotomy between S/P and A that is even followed in the pronominal system. 20 All pronouns functioning as S or P, regardless of person or number, are absolutive (either free standing or enclitic), while pronouns that function as A are either omitted (especially with third-person subjects) or appear in the ergative (note the first-person ergative form ižaž). As we will see below, in the nonindicative, there is a breakdown in the ergative system, especially with the optative mood. 21 It is more difficult to determine the syntactic alignment of Hurrian. Does it function as a syntactically ergative language, 22 does it function as an accusative language, or does it not adhere to any particular type? One of the markers for syntactic affinity is the way(s) in which a language forms relative clauses. 23 Relative constructions are not fool-proof indicators of syntax, however. In some cases, a language may be quite free regarding the NPs that can be relativized. One example of this type is English. 24 In other cases, a language may severely restrict the type of NPs involved in relatives. An example of this type is Malagasy, which only allows relativization of primary (i.e., topic or subject) NPs (Keenan and Comrie 1977: 69–70; Palmer 1998: 96–97). The Australian languages Dyirbal and Yidiny are much more restrictive in the formation of relative clauses. In Yidiny, only absolutive NPs can be involved in relativization. Both the controller and its target 25 must be in the absolutive—that is, they must be either 20.  Dyirbal, a modern aboriginal language of northwestern Australia, is typically seen as the epitome of an ergative language. Although many languages show some degree of ergativity, no living language is as thoroughly ergative as Dyirbal. That being said, however, in Dyribal a breakdown of ergativity (typically refered to as split-ergativity) can be seen in the pronominal system, whereby first- and second-person pronouns function according to the nominative-accusative system (i.e., are marked as either nominative [S = A] or accusative). We do not see a split of this sort in the ergativity of Hurrian. 21.  See chap. 6 and Campbell 2008b. 22.  Blake describes syntactic ergativity in Dyirbal this way: “The general principle is that where A is co-referent with a major actant or another clause in the same sentence, the clause (or clauses) with a coreferent A must be anti-passivised. . . . It operates largely in terms of Si [i.e., subject of intransitive verbs] and P being treated as a grammatical subject with A being promoted to the syntactic slot under certain coreference conditions” (Blake 1979: 376). 23.  For a very good overview of relative constructions, see Keenan and Comrie 1977. 24.  Consider the following examples. After each example, the NPs involved in the relativization are given in parenthesis: “John hit the man who walked into the room” (O-S); “John hit the man whom he disliked” (O-O); “The man who walked into the bar hit John” (A-S); “John hit the man with the bottle which was on the table” (oblique-S). 25.  By “controller,” I mean the NP in the main clause that is being relativized, while the “target” is the co-referential (typically deleted) NP in the relative clause (see Palmer 1998: 96–100).


Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb

S or O. In order for an agent to be relativized or for it to function as the target NP, it must be promoted to the absolutive case through use of the antipassive. 26 Dyirbal is a little freer than Yidiny in that the controller of the relative in the main clause can be an ergative agent and does not need to be promoted to the absolutive. 27 The relative construction in West Greenlandic Eskimo (Inuit) is also of some interest for the study of Hurrian. Unlike the above-mentioned languages, Inuit does not employ actual relative clauses. Instead, the relative clause is a participial formation that is strictly bound to the main clause (Manning 1996: 83). This construction is similar to the use of conjugated nominalized verbal forms in ⸗šše in Hurrian. In West Greenlandic, relatives can only be formed by relativizing the S or P NPs, never the A arguments (Manning 1996: 84). Despite the use of a nominalized form, relativization still conforms to syntactic ergativity in Inuit. Relatives can be formed in three ways in Hurrian: through the particle iya⸗ (biforms: iye⸗ and e⸗), 28 the nominalizer ⸗šše (always appended to conjugated verbs), or a combination of iya⸗ and ⸗šše. When the particle iya⸗ is used, it appears in sentence-initial position. The particle chain almost always includes the morpheme ⸗nīn, 29 ⸗man, or ⸗an—all of uncertain function. The target (or referent) NP of the relative clause is always in the form of an enclitic pronoun immediately following the relative particle (e.g., iyā⸗l⸗an tān⸗av “those which I make . . .” [Mitt. ii 92]; īye ⸗mā⸗nīn tive . . . “It, the word, which [Mane will say to my brother]” [Mitt. ii 101–2]; see ex. [2.21] below). Given that the target is always an enclitic pronoun, and since all enclitic pronouns are absolutives in Hurrian, the target NP of relatives in iya⸗ cannot be ergative agents. In order for the agent to function as the target, it must be promoted to the absolutive through use of the antipassive voice (e.g., e⸗me⸗ni tašp⸗i “He who destroys . . .” (Tiš-atal 11–12; see also exx. [2.11–2.12]). I know of no examples where the controller NP of the main clause is an ergative agent. This may simply be due to the fact that no such forms have been pre26.  The situation in Yidiny means that this language forms relative clauses strictly according to the rules of ergative syntax. The ergative agent cannot function as target or control unless it is promoted to the absolutive. Note the following examples from Palmer (1998: 99): buɲa maŋga:ɲ wagudanda wura:diɲu:n woman+abs laughed man+dat slapped+ap+rel “The woman who slapped the man laughed.” buɲa wagudanda wura:diɲu maŋgaɲunda woman+abs man+dat slapped+ap laughed+rel “The woman who laughed slapped the man.” In the second example, the woman (buɲa) is the subject of the relative clause and the agent of the main clause. If the verb of the main clause was in the active and not the antipassive voice, the phrase would be translated “The woman slapped the man who laughed.” 27.  Keenan and Comrie (1977: 82) use Dyribal as a possible counterexample to their Accessibility Hierarchy for relative clauses. Since Dyribal actually does allow for relativization of ergative agents, the observations made by Keenan and Comrie concerning this language are unnecessary. Those comments are, however, applicable to Yidiny, which should perhaps replace Dyribal in their example in §1.4.2 (p. 82). 28.  The biform e⸗ is limited to the OHu text from Tiš-atal (Wilhelm 1998a: 136). There is an alternative function of the particle iya⸗ (Girbal 1994a). 29.  In the Tiš-atal inscription, it is simply given as ⸗ni (line 11).

2.7. Examples


served, but it may also be because Hurrian preferred the controller to be in the absolutive (S or P). If so, then it would function along ergative lines with these sorts of relatives. As shown here, the relative constructions in iya⸗ are highly restrictive, only allowing the absolutive NP to be relativized, be it the S/P or a promoted NP (e.g., agent). Hurrian allows for another form of relativization involving the nominalization of the predicate. The conjugated verbal form of a relative clause can be nominalized through the affixation of the morpheme ⸗šše. 30 The nominalized relative then acts as a modifier of the controller in the main sentence (see exx. [2.22–2.23] below). Just as with the formal relatives in iya⸗, the target NP is always in the absolutive as either S or O. Unlike the formal relatives, however, the controller can be in any case, including the ergative (ex. [2.23] below) and oblique. An aspect of Hurrian grammar that requires much more study is that of deletion. It is unclear how Hurrian handles the deletion of correlative NPs between clauses (e.g., “I saw John and [I] left,” where the second occurrence of the first person is omitted). This creates what Dixon calls “pivots,” where two clauses hinge on a particular NP (Dixon 1994: 207). The determination of which NPs are involved in these pivot situations will allow us to identify further the syntactic alignment of Hurrian. 31 2.7. Examples (2.5)

Intransitive verb with absolutive S and OHu “perfective” ⸗b . . . kešḫi⸗ni naḫḫ⸗a⸗b DN+∅abs . . . throne+inst/dim 32 sit+intran+perf? “Teššob sat upon the throne” (KBo 32.13 i 4) 33 dTeššob

(2.6) Intransitive verb with absolutive S and MHu form (preterite and future tense) itt⸗ōš⸗t⸗a⸗mān šēn(a)⸗iffu⸗da innā⸗mā⸗nīn go+pret+t 34⸗intran+conn brother+1sg.poss+dir when+3sg.abs+conn un⸗ēt⸗t⸗a come+fut+t+intran “She (i.e., the wife of my brother) has gone to my brother. When she comes (my brother will see her . . .)” (Mitt. iii 11–12) 35 30.  On this, see Giorgieri 2000a: 239–42; Wegner 2000: 104–5; Wilhelm 1995: 121–23. 31.  For a preliminary look at this, see Campbell 2007: 88–94. 32.  I am calling the ⸗ni case “instrumental/dimensional” as per a suggestion in Wegner 2007: 66. This case clearly has a dimensional (or even better: directional) function, indicating movement toward, movement from, location in, and even superposition (such as in ex. [2.5]). 33.  Thoughout this book, all translations are my own. Bibliographical citations for other translations of passages, especially those that differ from my own, will be provided in footnotes. dIM-ub . . . gi-eš-ḫi-ni na-aḫ-ḫa-ab, with corresponding Hittite: . . . A-NA GIŠŠÚ.A dIM-aš . . . e-ša-at “On the throne, the Storm God . . . sat down” (ii 7). See Catsanicos 1996: 205; Haas 1993: 264; Khačikyan 1999: 258; Neu 1988a: 251 (18); 1996a: 237–41; Wilhelm 1992b: 663 (20). 34.  The function of ⸗t⸗ is still unclear. See Girbal 1989; Giorgieri 2000a: 226 (with bibliographical information in n. 164); Wegner 2000: 77; Wilhelm 2004a: 111. 35.  id-du-u-uš-ta-ma-a-an 12še-e-ni-íw-wu-ta in-na-a-ma-a-ni-i-in (erasure) ú-ni!(text: ú)-e-et-ta. See Wilhelm 1992b: 660 (8); 2006: 185. Translated differently by Dietrich and Mayer as: “wobei sie schon aufgebrochen ist 12zu meinem Bruder. Siehe, (wenn) sie anlangen wird” (Dietrich and Mayer 2010: 110; see also pp. 61 and 73).


Hurrian Grammar and the Indicative Verb (2.7) Negative intransitive with absolutive S aî⸗n . . . tupp(i)⸗i⸗až tupp⸗o( ⸗o⸗(e)ž). There is an interesting example that shows no elision: šu-u-du-uš-ti-i-e-eš (ChS I/1 1 obv. 5). The form is to be normalized as šōd⸗ošt⸗ī⸗ēž, with both the voice marker ⸗i⸗ and the e of the modal morpheme ⸗ež preserved. No other examples show this sort of double plene writing. The forms in ⸗o⸗ are always written -Cu(-u)-uš, indicating that the initial e of the modal ending has elided. 21.  See Klaiman 1991: 131 and citations, including Dahlstrom 1983.


Mood and Modality

Other modal endings that occur with the pair ⸗i⸗ and ⸗o⸗ do not show this backward elision. In the third-person jussive, we find ⸗i⸗en “may he x!” and ⸗o⸗en, typically translated as “may it be x’ed” (see chap. 5). The potential mood (chap. 7) is marked by the ending ⸗ēva and is consistently spelled with a long first vowel. There are no definitive forms in ⸗o⸗ with this mood, and agentive forms in ⸗i⸗ appear to have elided this voice morpheme before the long ē of the modal suffix. So why does the optative show such a different shape when immediately preceded by ⸗i or ⸗o⸗? It is my contention that the phonetic shape of the optative ⸗ež with short initial e (when not preceded by the optional “extender” ⸗l⸗) is the primary culprit. The agentive forms in -Ci/e-i/eš are ambiguous, given that many signs that are of the i class have alternate readings in e. The patientive (or nonagentive) forms in -Cu-uš, however, clearly indicate that the modal e has elided to the preceding voice morpheme. As mentioned, if elision is to occur, we would typically expect the first vocalic element to elide to the second (i.e., *⸗o⸗ež > * (⸗o)⸗ež). Such elision, however, is not grammatically functional. The ⸗o⸗ morpheme, as a marker of nonagentivity, is highly salient. Elision of this morpheme would result in the loss of a considerable amount of information. It would result in a paradigm where both the agentive and nonagentive forms were formally identical. While we therefore do not expect ⸗o⸗ to elide, why do we not find unelided forms in *⸗o⸗ež parallel to jussive forms in ⸗o⸗en? Although it is not currently provable, I argue that the phonological shape of the initial e in the optative ⸗ež is different from the e of the jussive ⸗en. 22 This difference, for whatever reason, allows the speaker to elide the e to the preceding ⸗o⸗ in the optative. This elision does not result in the loss of information (in contrast to a hypothetical elision of ⸗o⸗), and therefore the form would be intelligible to both the speaker and the hearer. Outside the imperative, which is strictly limited to the second person (see chap. 4, especially §§4.3.3– for the exclusion of forms with ⸗u from this mood), the nonindicative forms display very limited agreement with core arguments. In the indicative, only transitive verbs show agreement with their agent. Intransitive verbs do not mark for person, with the subject instead being indicated by the optional presence of an enclitic pronoun. Agent marking on transitive indicative verbs always occurs at the end of the verbal chain. In the nonindicative, the modal ending is the final element of the chain, with the possible exception of an optional(?) morpheme ⸗ž. Contrary to previous studies, I find that we cannot take this ⸗ž as a marker of plural agent/subject (see especially § The likely function of this morpheme is discussed elsewhere (§ The only agreement marking found in nonindicative forms is with third-person plural agents. This is accomplished through the use of the morpheme ⸗id⸗ (or alternatively, ⸗ind⸗; see 22.  This explanation is clearly ad hoc in that it is impossible adequately to reconstruct the actual phonology of these modal morphemes. I simply present this here as a possible though by no means definitive answer to the question of why the e of ⸗ež elides but the e of ⸗en does not. Regardless of the ultimate cause for this elision, it is necessary in my opinion to see the forms in -Ce/i-e/iš and -Cu-uš as related to extended -Ci-le-e-eš and -Cu-le-e-eš, respectively. The two sets occur in identical syntactic constructions and appear to have identical functions. In fact, I argue that the presence of the extended forms in ⸗l⸗ allow us to identify the endings in *-C⸗iž and *-C⸗ož as deriving from an underlying *-C⸗i⸗ež and *-C⸗o⸗ež, respectively.

3.3.  Function of Hurrian Moods


§§–, which appears to the left (i.e., closer to the root) of both the voice morphemes ⸗i/o⸗ and the modal ending. 23 3.3.  Function of Hurrian Moods The majority of modal endings in Hurrian have a deontic function. That the endings are primarily deontic holds with the general theory that epistemic endings develop later than and probably from deontic markers (Bybee 1985: 168). It is often quite difficult to determine the exact function(s) of a Hurrian modal morpheme. We must often base our understanding of these Hurrian forms on poorly understood contexts. For this reason, I provide extensive treatments of the passages within which these morphemes are found. Hurrian has a number of moods that are used to express commands. It appears that Hurrian differentiates between levels ranging from stronger commands to milder. Strong commands are limited to the suppletive Imperative paradigm. As a general category (thus the capitalization), the Imperative contains the modal endings that express a strong obligation being placed on someone by the speaker (e.g., the imperative “Close the door!” obligates the addressee to perform that action; failure to do so would result in a challenge to the speaker’s authority and would have repercussions). The Imperative paradigm consists of the imperative (addressed to the second person) and the jussive. The latter mood can be subdivided into first person (voluntative) and third person ( jussive) commands. The imperative mood in Hurrian is quite distinct from the other moods, a characteristic that is not uncommon among the world’s languages. The imperative is discussed in full in chap. 4. The first- and third-person jussives are formally distinct from one another (⸗le for the former, ⸗en for the latter) but are treated together in chap. 5. A milder form of command is the optative in ⸗ež (chap. 6). This mood has not been studied well. As previously noted, the ending in ⸗ež has been interpreted as a plural imperative form (see §6.2.2). This interpretation presupposes that the ending is only found with second-person plural, when in fact it is found with all persons and numbers. 24 The fact that it forms a complete paradigm indicates that it is not identical to the imperative, although functionally there is likely to be some overlap. The optative appears to be used to indicate commands, but these are not the stringent directives of the Imperative; they are less forceful. There is one example in which the optative has an epistemic function (§6.3.6). A possible modal ending marked by ⸗e that may have a command function is also explored (chap. 11). A complex of morphemes ⸗(ož)illandin and ⸗illandu/o may be related to these command moods and are presented in chap. 10. The purposive ⸗ai has a number of functions in Hurrian, but it is primarily considered to be deontic (chap. 8). This mood can be used in both main and subordinate clauses and indicates purpose, consequence, or necessity. Another deontic mood in Hurrian is 23.  An exception to this is the positive third-person-plural jussive, which is simply ⸗id⸗en. In negative forms, however, the morphemes ⸗i⸗ and ⸗o⸗ clearly occur immediately following ⸗id⸗. Because of this, the parsing of the third-person-plural jussive as ⸗i⸗d⸗en is untenable (for this reading, see Hazenbos 2005, among others). For more on this, see § 24.  Originally, and I believe correctly pointed out by Wegner (1988: 152–53) but never explored further.


Mood and Modality

the desiderative (chap. 9). This mood indicates the wish or desire that an agent would perform a particular action, but it is not strictly speaking a command. When in the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual the deer says, ai nauni⟨ffu⟩we fābanni amelānni tārrež / idilānni dTeššōbaž amelānni tārrež (KBo 32.14 i 5–7; see ex. [9.7]), he is not commanding the fire (tārrež) or the god Teššob to burn (am-) or strike (id-) the mountain. What he is saying is: “If (only) fire would burn the mountain of ⟨my⟩ pasturage! (If only) Teššob would strike (it)! (If only) fire would burn (it)!” Another example of event modality, but in this case not a directive or command, is marked by the potential mood (chap. 7). The potential is used to discuss events that have not (and may not) occur. The potential mood in Hurrian is not only used to indicate the potentiality of an event; it can also be used in conditional constructions (as both protasis and apodosis) to indicate irreality.

Chapter 4 Imperative 4.1. Background The imperative is a form of manipulative speech act issued by the speaker to an addressee in order to give a command or to give permission for a certain action. 1 In most languages, the imperative exhibits an extremely limited range of both agreement and tense-aspect-mood (TAM) marking (Gívon 1990: 313). Some languages use the zerostem of the verb to indicate the imperative. For example, the second-person-singular imperative form of the Turkish verb “to go,” gitmek, is the bare stem git “Go!” 2 The use of the base form of the stem to indicate the imperative, while seen as a hallmark of this category, is not entirely typical among the world’s languages. 3 Regardless of the paucity of true ∅-stem forms, the imperative is still the “least marked of all major speech-acts” (Gívon 1990: 313). As will be demonstrated below, Hurrian conforms to this general model of imperatives, using a minimal though not bare-stem form. The imperative command does not just involve the giving of orders; it can also entail the giving of permission for the addressee to perform a particular action (Palmer 1998: 80). The imperative is clearly related to deontic modals since its function is to illicit action and not to impart a truth judgment. This function of the imperative creates certain limits. Given its nature, an imperative can only have future focus, even if this future event is to be carried out almost instantaneously with the command. 4 If there is any tense indication on the imperative verb, then it is expected to be some form of future, be it near or remote (Lyons 1977: 746–47). Because of this, imperatives cannot express actions meant to have been carried out in the past (Lyons 1977: 746). 4.1.1.  Cross-Linguistic Analysis of the Imperative A characteristic of the imperative in many languages is that it typically comes in only two forms, the second-person singular and the second-person plural (Bybee 1985: 171). Depending on certain language-specific requirements for levels of politeness, more

1.  For a philosophical approach to the imperative, see Broadie 1972: 179–90; a semantic approach to the imperative can be found in Lyons 1977: 839; For a more functional treatment, see Palmer 2001: 80–85. 2.  On the imperative in Turkish, see Underhill 1976: 421–23; Bader, Werlen, and Wymann 1994: 46. 3.  In their study on the development of mood, Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994: 210) found that only 11 of the 136 languages that they examined expressed the imperative through the use of the bare stem. 4.  For example, if a baseball has been hit into a crowd, a person who yells “Duck!” at the spectators who may be hit certainly expects the listeners to obey instantly.




forms of the imperative can exist. The imperative in Akkadian only occurs in the second person, 5 with a zero-stem form in the singular and a second plural form marked by ⸗ā: (4.1) (a) alik “(You) go!” (b) alkā “(You pl.) go!”

Turkish, on the other hand, has three different agreement morphemes for the imperative, depending on the number and social status of the addressee(s): 6 (4.2) (a) second singular: -∅ (b) second plural familiar: -(y)In 7 (c) singular or plural polite: -(y)InIz

As mentioned above, an imperative is “defined as presenting a proposition for action by the hearer” (Palmer 1986: 111). If we are to follow this strict definition, then first- and third-person forms should not be imperatives since only the second person indicates the addressee. There are languages, however, in which the second-person “imperative” occurs within the same paradigm as first- and third-person forms. Bybee notes that, for these sorts of cases, in which there is a paradigm with full agreement for all persons, many linguists have used the term optative for the paradigm (Bybee 1985: 171). An example of such a language is Nahuatl, in which no separate imperative form exists for the second person. 8 A number of languages have command-like forms for first- and third-person subjects next to a true imperative form for the second person. The first- and third-person forms are grouped with the imperative to create a suppletive paradigm. These forms are not imperatives, however, but are commands with non-second-person subjects. In order to avoid confusion with languages such as Greek, which have an actual optative mood, these first- and third-person commands are best subsumed under the term jussive (Palmer 1986: 111; 2001: 81). 9 In this way, the jussive and the imperative together can form a complete “command” or Imperative paradigm. This is the case for both Hittite and Akkadian. Hurrian has three distinct morphological forms for first-, second-, and third-person commands, but the second-person forms are not formally related to the first- and third-person forms. The term jussive is used in this book to signify command forms with both first- and third-person subjects (see chap. 5). In Hittite, the entire paradigm has been called imperative (Friedrich 1974: 76–77). The true imperative, the second-person command, typically occurs in the ∅ stem, but occasionally also in -i or -it in the singular and -ten in the plural in the active (Friedrich 1974: 5.  Von Soden 1995: §81a; contra Cohen (2005: 78–79), who includes imperatives, precatives, voluntatives, and cohortatives all together as one paradigm. Cohen’s treatment of these moods as one paradigm is methodologically sound for his study, but it is not suitable, for the present work, which is formal in nature. 6.  Following Underhill 1976: 422. A similar situation is found in Korean, which has four imperative forms (R stands for root): High Formal Style (R-b/ǔb-si-o), Low Formal Style (R-ǒ/a-yo; functions as both indicative and imperative), High Plain Style (R-ge), and Low Plain Style (R-ra; Bader, Werlen, and Wymann 1994: 60, 62–64, 65). 7.  The capital I indicates either /i/ or /ı/, depending on the preceding vowel. 8.  See the paradigm given in Bybee 1985: 171. 9.  Dietrich and Mayer (2010: 219–20) take a more inclusive approach to the imperative.

4.1. Background


78). Distinct first- and third-person forms exist. Friedrich (1974: 139) describes the firstperson forms as having a “voluntative” function in the singular and “cohortative” reading in the plural. The third person, according to Friedrich, has an “optative” function (1974: 139). Based on their functions alone, it is clear that the first- and third-person forms are not true imperatives. Despite this difference in function, they can be said to fill out the paradigm of inflected mood in Hittite, but to term this entire paradigm imperative is misleading. The same is true for Akkadian, where the imperative is distinct from the precative but, together, the two form a suppletive paradigm for commands. 10 For both Hittite and Akkadian, the complete paradigm is better described as directive than imperative. 4.1.2.  The Imperative in Ergative Languages Before looking at the imperative in Hurrian, we will find it worthwhile to examine briefly the ways in which other ergative languages treat this command form. In syntactically ergative languages, deletion rules typically affect only S/P NPs, while A NPs are never subject to deletion (see §2.6). As mentioned above, the imperative often has no person agreement. In fact, the imperative typically involves the deletion of the ad­ dressee. 11 For example, the Turkish imperative Git! “Go!” requires no overt mention of the second person, either through verbal agreement 12 or through the use of the personal pronoun sen “you.” The very nature of the imperative requires the addressee to carry out some action. For this reason, the addressee is always either an S or A NP of the predicate. 13 Therefore, ergative languages that allow for omission of the addressee in the imperative will allow for omission of both S and A NPs, counter to the S/P link that is expected with syntactic ergativity. According to Dixon (1979: 112–14; 1994: 132), however, omission of the addressee in the imperative is not an indication of any particular syntactic structure. Since it seems to be a universal quality that the addressee is always S or A, and since the addressee is always called upon to act as an agent, it follows that the omission of S or A is not 10.  See Huehnegard 1997: 142–46; Cohen (2005: 73–78) nicely sums up past work done on the precatives and imperatives. Contrary to the position taken here, Cohen includes the imperative in the precative paradigm, seeing it as syntactically the same (2005: 78–79). While there is a degree of “syntactic symmetry” between imperatives and precatives (i.e., first- and third-person demands or wishes), there are also important discrepancies between the two systems. Most importantly, the imperative is unmarked for person (e.g., alik “Go!” versus tallik “you went”) while the precative is not (e.g., the precative liprus is the fusion of lū and the third-person-preterite form iprus). For this reason alone, it is clear that the imperative is not syntactically the same as the precative. Semantic differences between the forms exist as well. I prefer to follow Huehnegard as seeing the precatives and imperatives combined to form a “suppletive injunctive . . . paradigm” (Huehnegard 1997: 144). 11.  According to Palmer (1998: 111), the imperative in some ways functions along the same lines as pivots. 12.  Person agreement does occur with plural and formal forms (see ex. [3.2]), but this is more of a distinction of either number (i.e., “you all” vs. “you”) or social status. 13.  Dixon 1979: 112–14; Palmer (1998: 111) educes some examples of passive imperatives, such as “Be persuaded by your friends!” Formally this is a passive of the jussive statement: “Let your friends persuade you!” but one can also imagine an implied command: “(Allow yourself to) be persuaded by your friends!” In the latter case, the addressee is the agent of the reflexive “to allow oneself,” a verb that is omitted in the actual imperative (see Dixon 1994: 132).



evidence for either nominative-accusativity or ergativity but is, rather, a universal characteristic of languages (Dixon 1979: 112–14; Palmer 1998: 111). Therefore, it can be said that, due to the inherent nature of the imperative, it functions beyond the bounds of syntactic affiliation. While the S/A link is universal according to Dixon, he does allow that some languages may still retain a way of linking S and P in the imperative (Dixon 1994: 133). This primarily occurs in languages that have one agreement marker for S and P and another for A. For some languages, in the transitive imperative, A may be omitted, but the S/P affix is obligatory, while in others, the inverse is the rule (Dixon 1994: 133). Furthermore, the antipassive can also be used with the imperative in certain situations (see ex. [4.5b] below; Palmer 1998: 112). Dyirbal The imperative in Dyirbal functions according to the above-mentioned characteristics. The second-person addressee can be either expressed or omitted, as in ex. (4.3): (4.3) (a) ŋinda bani = “You come!” (b) bani = “(You) come!” 14

Omission of the addressee can also occur with transitives (from Palmer 1998: 112): (4.4) balan ḑugumbil ɲinayma cl woman marry “Marry the woman!”

This is in contrast to all other constructions in Dyirbal. Regardless of the inherent nature of the imperative, Dyirbal appears to function as a nominative-accusative language in this construction, and therefore, it is not surprising that we find deletion of both S and A. Dyirbal exhibits split-ergativity in the pronominal system (Dixon 1994: 85–86). As a result, the language functions according to nominative-accusative syntax if and only if the agent of the sentence is either a first-person or second-person pronoun. In the imperative, the agent is inevitably second-person “you.” That Dyirbal allows for omission of a secondperson pronoun functioning as an A NP is therefore not only acceptable but expected. There is, however, one issue with this analysis. While the imperative in Dyirbal largely functions along nominative-accusative lines with deletion of both A and S NPs, there is evidence for the use of the antipassive in this construction. As we have seen above (§§2.5–2.6), the antipassive functions to promote the A NP to S. In the following examples, we have a typical transitive imperative (ex. 4.5a) followed by the antipassive construction of this phrase (ex. 4.5b): (4.5) (a) ŋinda bayi yar̨a balga you cl man hit “You hit the man!” (b) ŋinda bagul yar̨a-gu balgal-ŋa you cl+dat man-dat hit -ap “You hit the man!” 15 14.  Examples taken from Dixon 1972: 110, nos. 332 and 335, respectively. 15.  Examples taken from Dixon 1972: 110, nos. 336 and 337; ex. (4.5b) is also found in Palmer 1998: 112.

4.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian


The use of the antipassive in the imperative is not obligatory and is, in fact, rare (Dixon 1980: 457). The antipassive in this function may simply be a means of detransitivizing. In the case of ex. (4.5a), the focus would be on the person who is being hit, while in ex. (4.5b), the focus is on the act of hitting, which just happens to be performed on a human object. 4.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian In the earliest grammars, the existence of imperatives in Hurrian was assumed, but due to a distinct lack of evidence, its form could only be postulated. For a considerable time, the only two potential though problematic forms posited as imperatives were: zuzi-la-ma-an (zuz⸗i⸗la⸗man?) 16 and a-ri (ar⸗i; see ex. [4.32]). 17 These forms were assumed to be imperatives based on context, but the extreme dearth of attestations required a tentative stance concerning their form and function. The discovery of the Hurro-Hittite Bilingual brought to light a number of secure new imperative forms, which allow for a more thorough description of this mood. Since the discovery of the Bilingual, scholars have attempted to define the form and function of the imperative with much more precision than was formerly possible. 18 This proliferation of studies did not result in a consensus but, rather, in a number of competing paradigms. It is my position that, although they come close, none of these paradigms accurately describes the form of the imperative in Hurrian. 4.2.1.  Overview of Past Work on the Imperative Most studies include a rather large complement of forms for the imperative paradigm. Indicative of this is the definition of the imperative according to Wilhelm, for whom imperative verbs “are formed by the root and the class-marker, optionally followed by an enclitic personal pronoun; the plural is marked by ⸗ž. Both second- and third-person imperative forms occur, as well as a first plural cohortative” (Wilhelm 2004a: 113). Table 4.1 is a paradigm distilled from his work. 19 A similar paradigm is posited by Giorgieri in his grammar of the language. In contrast to Wilhelm, he does not include first-person forms (see table 4.2). 20 Note that in Giorgieri’s paradigm, forms with ⸗i⸗ž and ⸗o⸗ž are posited for the thirdperson singular. Only the form with ⸗o⸗ž is included by Wilhelm. Alternative interpretations of the imperative have been offered that differ in some details from those presented in tables 4.1 and 4.2. Neu does not include any of the forms with ⸗i⸗ž or ⸗o⸗ž, thus taking only ⸗a, ⸗i, and ⸗o as imperative endings (Neu 1994: 16.  EA 170, line 11; the Hurrian glosses the Akkadian ù pa-ni-šu-nu ṣa-bat “Get ahead of them(?).” 17.  Speiser 1941: 107 n. 114, 159, 164; Friedrich 1939: 22; Bork 1932: 377; Friedrich 1969: 18; Diakonoff 1971: 136; Bush 1964: 224, 366 (n. 115); pace Goetze 1940: 131 n. 28. 18.  See Haas and Wegner 1997a: 452–54; Neu 1994: 127–32; Wilhelm 1992a: 139. 19.  Based on the data from Wilhelm 2004a: 113. All second-singular, third-singular, and first-plural forms can be optionally followed by a (resumptive) enclitic pronoun according to Wilhelm’s paradigm. 20.  Based on forms from Giorgieri 2000a: 235. As with Wilhelm’s paradigm, resumptive pronouns can occur on verbal forms that do not end in -ž.



Table 4.1.  Imperative Paradigm according to Wilhelm person singular 1 N/A 2 V⸗a; V⸗i; V⸗o 3 V⸗o

plural V⸗i⸗ž; V⸗o⸗ž V⸗i⸗ž V⸗o⸗ž

Table 4.2.  Imperative Paradigm according to Giorgieri person 2 3

singular V⸗a; V⸗e/i; V⸗o V⸗i⸗ž; V⸗o; V⸗o⸗ž

plural V⸗e/i⸗ž V⸗e/i⸗ž; V⸗o⸗ž

Table 4.3.  Imperative Paradigm according to Wegner (2000; 2007) Person 2

singular V⸗i with allophones V⸗e and V⸗ə

plural V⸗i⸗š; V⸗i⸗ffa

127–32). He also limits the imperative to the second person—that is, to the addressee. 21 The same position is taken by Haas and Wegner (1997b: 348–49), which Wegner also follows in her grammar, but in this case she includes forms marked by -š (Wilhelm’s and Giorgieri’s ⸗ž) as a plural marker. 22 Although they differ in some important details, these studies are much more in line with my position (see table 4.3). 4.2.2.  Form of the Imperative It is my position that the above paradigms are actually the conglomeration of two different moods. The forms with ⸗e/i⸗ž and ⸗o⸗ž belong, not to the imperative, but to the optative (for the actual shape of the optative, see chap. 6). Once these are eliminated from the equation, we are left with forms marked by ⸗a, ⸗i, and ⸗o, with the first two only found in the second person. I will demonstrate below that forms with ⸗o do not belong to the imperative, thereby limiting the paradigm to simply ⸗a and ⸗i. It therefore appears that the imperative is formed by a root followed by the familiar valence markers ⸗a and ⸗i. Given the number of labile verbs in Hurrian (i.e., verbs, the meaning of which is dependent on their valence), 23 the use of a bare root form for the imperative is not practical. The root does not contain enough inherent lexical information always to distinguish meaning. The use of the bare stem would result in an ambiguous form, the meaning of which could only be determined through context or through other constiuents. The 21.  Neu defines the imperative as having three arguments: “die erste grammatische Person mit dem Sprecher eines Kommunikationsmodells, die zweite grammatische Person mit dem Angesprochenen und die dritte grammatische Person mit dem Besprochenen” (Neu 1994: 127). 22.  Wegner (2000: 88) writes: “Der Imperativ als die einfachste morphologische Kategorie des Verbes wird gebildet aus dem Stamm + i.” 23.  For example: un- is “to come” in the intransitive and “to bring” in the transitive.

4.2.  Form and Function in Hurrian


Table 4.4.  Imperative in Hurrian valence intransitive antipassive/transitive

form V⸗a V⸗i

smallest meaningful unit is therefore not the root but the root plus valence marker. Since this formulization of the imperative best fits both the definition given above and the actual evidence from Hurrian, I will use it as my starting point. With the elimination of ⸗i/o⸗ež and ⸗o, we are left with a paradigm that is limited to two forms that are themselves restricted to the second person. These two forms are distinguished by the morphemes ⸗a and ⸗i, which are identical to the OHu/MHu intransitive and antipassive/transitive morphemes from the indicative, a similarity that is not coincidental (see §4.2.3 below). It is my position that these two morphemes mark valence in the imperative, just as they do in the indicative. Based on the analysis of the imperative as root+valence, OHu transitive imperatives marked by *⸗o might be expected. The forms with ⸗o included by both Wilhelm and Giorgieri in their paradigms of the imperative are a phonological match; however, the function of this modal ⸗o does not fit that of the OHu transitive (perfective) indicative marker (see §4.3.3 below). If the ⸗o⸗ of the OHu transitive ⸗o⸗m is perfective, as postulated above, we would not expect to see imperatives formed by this morpheme. The perfective indicates that the action has either been completed or is in the act of completion. The imperative, as with most moods, is addressed to future events. The speaker may expect immediate action to be taken, but the action is nevertheless subsequent to the speech act. The inherent future nature of the imperative makes it unlikely to employ a perfective ending. There are, however, more problems with this ending as an imperative. Verbal forms in ⸗u/o with second-person “subject” (the second person in these forms is always the undergoer of the action, and it is never an agent!) appear to be passive-like or patient-focusing. Furthermore, forms with ⸗u/o are also formally identical to verbs with third-person subjects (see chap. 12). For these reasons, I do not consider it to belong with this mood. The resulting imperative paradigm is shown in table 4.4. The remaining issue is subject expression and agreement. The second-person subject is often omitted in the imperative. This is not, however, a hard-and-fast rule, and the subject can be made explicit. Recall exx. (4.3) and (4.5a–b) from Dyirbal in which the second-person-singular pronoun ŋinda is present. In Hurrian, as in Dyirbal, the subject can be overtly present in the clause. The subject is not overtly marked on the verb through agreement. Instead, it is only present in the form of optional absolutive enclitic pronouns. These enclitics are typically found either on the first word of the clause or on the verb. 4.2.3. Function The imperative is morphologically identical to the indicative intransitive and antipassive. One must rely on context to distinguish between the forms. This is a significant



problem due to the difficulties involved in reading most nonbilingual Hurrian texts. Since many of the monolingual Hurrian texts and even Hittite texts with Hurrian passages from Boğazköy are poorly preserved, it is difficult to determine the context of many passages. The ambiguities between indicative forms and imperatives make it extremely difficult to identify imperatives securely. The issue is compounded by the fact that the imperative is not well represented in the corpus. This makes analysis difficult, but despite this lack of attestations, certain conclusions can be drawn. Several examples of imperatives marked by ⸗a are known. They appear with a range of verbs and in a variety of situations. For this reason, the nature of these imperatives has not been understood fully. It is my contention that imperatives with ⸗a occur with intransitive verbs. This intransitive imperative marker is found on verbs that take a single subject (S) that exhibits some control over the action. 24 It appears that the subject of an intransitive imperative is always going to be the controller S­A and never the undergoer Sp. The imperative is therefore truly a command given by a speaker in order to have the addressee perform an action. The subject will not be commanded to undergo some sort of change of state in the imperative. The command “Be good!” will never be in the imperative in Hurrian according to this analysis but instead will be in a different mood (see chap. 11). Imperatives marked by ⸗a are largely but not exclusively verbs of motion. There is some evidence that an imperative with reflexives requires the intransitive ⸗a (see § Imperative commands can also be found when the speaker orders the addressee to perform some action on something. This is comparable to English imperatives such as: “Shut the door!” or “Do your homework!” The transitive imperative morpheme ⸗i is very likely related to the antipassive ⸗i. One of the functions of the antipassive is to move focus away from the patient and onto the verb itself (§2.5). The imperative also places emphasis on the action. In “Shut the door!” the emphasis is more on the action of shutting than on the patient. Another similarity between the imperative and antipassive is that both take A NPs in the absolutive. Unlike the antipassive, expressed patients can also be in the absolutive case, resulting in an absolutive-absolutive construction, where the case marks both A and P. In examples in which the patient is less relevant, nonspecific, deemphasized, and so on, it can be demoted to the essive case (which is the obligatory case of an expressed patient in the antipassive). 4.3.  Form in Context 4.3.1.  Imperatives with ⸗a A number of forms of the type V⸗a have been identified. A biform with ⸗a⸗b has been postulated by Erich Neu. This form must be analyzed differently as a first-person transitive, as will be demonstrated below (§ Based on the predicted forms in table 4.3, we expect imperatives marked by ⸗a to behave as intransitives. As we will see below, 24.  Recall that this is one of the hallmarks of indicative intransitives as well (§2.5).

4.3.  Form in Context


despite certain difficulties and despite past treatments, imperatives with ⸗a do indeed appear to function as intransitive verbs. 25  RS 15.010 The evidence from bilingual texts paints a complicated picture of imperatives with ⸗a. The Akkado-Hurrian bilingual from Ugarit contains two of these forms. 26 They are identifiable as imperatives through both their minimal marking and the accompanying Akkadian translation. 27 The two forms appear in the following sequence, which has been left unparsed here: (4.6) elaminedaniman ugola idippan udrana (RS 15.010:6–7) 28

They are parallel to the Akkadian: (4.7) māmīta pilaḫi⸗ma pagarka šullim (RS 15.010: 2) 29

The Akkadian version contains two transitive imperatives: “Respect the oath!” and “Save yourself!” In the second clause, the reflexive pagarka “your body, your self” from pagru can be analyzed as the accusative object of the verb šalāmu. 30 Despite the transitivity of the Akkadian forms, the Hurrian contains imperatives with ⸗a and not ⸗i. In contrast to the Akkadian, the Hurrian forms should be analyzed as follows: (4.8) (a) elami⸗ne⸗dan⸗i⸗man ug⸗ol⸗a oath+sg.relat+abl +epenth+conn respect+ol+a “Show respect concerning the oath” (RS 15.010: 6) 31 (b) idi⸗p⸗pa⸗n udr⸗an⸗a 32 self+2sg.poss+dat+conn protect+caus+a “and protect yourself!” (RS 15.010: 7) 33

The accusative māmīta of the Akkadian is equivalent to the ablative form elami⸗ne⸗dan in the Hurrian. 34 In this case, it is likely that the Hurrian verbal form ug⸗ol- does not 25.  This idea was also developed by Khačikyan 1999: 262. 26.  Editions of this text can be found in Nougayrol and Laroche 1955: 311–24; and Dijkstra 1993: 163–71. 27.  Or conversely, the Akkadian original. The question of priority for this bilingual text has not been satisfactorily answered. Several scholars have taken the position that the Hurrian is the translation of an Akkadian language original (Dijkstra 1993: 163). 28.  e-la-me-ni-da-ni-ma-an ú?-ku?-la 7i-ti-ib-ba-an ud-ra-na. 29.  See Nougayrol and Laroche 1955: 312; and Wilhelm 2003b: 343–44. 30.  See CAD P 16–17, sub pagru 4; and CAD Š/1 208–28, sub šalāmu. 31.  Nougayrol and Laroche (1955: 315) parse the nominal form as elame with three “suffixes connectifs -ni + -da + -ni,” with the first -ni as “l’article et -da est la marque du directif.” They translate the phrase: “alors redoute celui qui preside au sermont” (1955: 323). Dijkstra (1993: 165) has the same analysis for the form as in ex. (4.8a) and translates the phrase “and because of the oath be fearful” (1993: 164). 32.  The reading of the UD sign is uncertain, as per Wilhelm 2003b: 343 n. 11. 33.  Nougayrol and Laroche (1955: 315) analyze idippan differently, as iti⸗b⸗wa⸗n “et (-n) pour (-wa) ton (-b) corps (iti-).” They take the verb as par?-ra-na (1955: 316), while Dijkstra (1993: 166) takes it as tamr-. Dijkstra translates the phrase “play for safety(?) for your body” (1993: 165), while Nougayrol and Laroche (1955: 323) translate it “et sauve ton corps.” For udr- as “to protect,” see the vocabulary text RS 94.2939 iv 11′: ut-ru-um-mi ⸗ ŠEŠ ⸗ na-ṣa-ru (André-Salvini and Salvini 1998: 22). 34.  The analysis of this form by Nougayrol and Laroche (1955: 315) is not possible.



allow for a direct object and instead takes the thing that is to be respected in the ablative ⸗dan. Whether this is a consistent feature of ug⸗ol⸗ or it is dependent on context is unclear. The second passage is more difficult to analyze. There are few concrete occurrences of reflexives in Hurrian. Unlike reciprocality, which is indicated through the perhaps iterative morpheme ⸗ugar⸗, 35 it appears that reflexivity in Hurrian is indicated through the use of a lexical reflexive. The noun edi “body, self” (with its biform idi) typically appears as a postposition meaning “concerning x” or “in the presence of x,” where x is typically an animate NP (Giorgieri 2000a: 245–46; Wegner 2000: 97–98). In its postpositional use, both head and edi are in an oblique case, either dative + directive; 36 or the head is in the genitive with edi in the -e locatival case (and with Suffixaufnahme). 37 Important for us here are the occurrences of edi not in postpositional constructions. In the case of ex. (4.8b), I analyze the form as edi⸗p⸗pa⸗n, consisting of the root plus second-person possessive, which is in turn followed by the dative ⸗wa (> pa before a labial). 38 Cross-linguistically, having a typically transitive verb such as “to save” take the form of an intransitive in a reflexive construction is not unknown. West Greenlandic has a similar construction in which transitive verbs used in reflexive constructions always occur as intransitives. 39 Furthermore, reflexivity in West Greenlandic is indicated through a lexical form that must be in an oblique (typically dative) case. (4.9) Immi-nut tuqup-puq himself+dat kill+ind.3sg (Bok-Bennema 1991: 50 [23a]) (4.10) Angut immi-nut taku-vuq man+abs himself+dat see+ind.3sg (Bok⸗Bennema 1991: 50 (23c))

If Hurrian does indeed form reflexives in a manner similar to West Greenlandic, then udr⸗an⸗a is a perfectly acceptable intransitive imperative form.  KBo 32.14 In the Hurro-Hittite parables related to the Song of Release, we find another example of an imperative in ⸗a that has typically been analyzed as transitive. After each parable, the audience is asked to put aside what it has just heard and to listen (šalġ⸗ōl⸗a) to the next moral lesson. This interlude between tales contains a number of nonindicative forms. Here we focus solely on the imperative form in question (with common morphological parsing and translation): 35.  See Giorgieri 2000a: 197; Wegner (2000: 76) writes that “tad⸗ugar- soll die Gegenseitigkeit ausdrücken ‘einander lieben’, aber auch den Iterativ-Durativ.” See especially the extensive list of sources cited in Giorgieri 2004: 321 n. 1. 36. E.g., tažē⸗nē⸗va ed(i)⸗ī⸗da (Mitt. i 99) 37. E.g., KURōmīn(i)⸗iffu⸗we⸗n(e)⸗ē ed(i)⸗ī⸗e (Mitt. iv 22) 38.  Dijkstra offers a plausible alternative analysis of the form as edi⸗bban (following his normalization), with the full form of the second-person possessive ⸗bba (or perhaps better, ⸗ffa) followed by the short form of the directional ⸗n(i). Based on the cross-linguistic evidence from West Greenlandic reflexive forms, however, I prefer to see it as being in the dative case. 39.  See Boc-Bennema 1991: 50–51. For more on reflexives, see Fortescue 1984: 155–65.

4.3.  Form in Context


(4.11) (“May you set aside this word and let me tell you another!”) a-mu-u-ma-a-ap 40 šal-ḫu-u-la amōma(< i)⸗f(fa) šalġ⸗ōl⸗a(< i) message 41+∅absol+2pl.abs hear +ōl+imp 42 (KBo 32.14 i 24, iv 7, 21, rev. 33, 53)

This normalization is based on the Hittite translation: (4.12) ḫatressar istamaskiten (variant: istamasten) “Hear (pl.) the message!” 43

The Hittite clearly has a transitive imperative verb in istamaskiten with a direct object ḫatressar “message” (Neu 1996: 125). The analysis of the Hurrian in ex. (4.13) assumes a one-to-one correspondence between the Hurrian and the Hittite, requiring šalġōla to be a transitive imperative. According to the above understanding of the passage in ex. (4.11), the verb is a transitive with ⸗a with an absolutive patient amōmaf (*amōmi⸗f (fa) > amōma( ⸗a through vowel harmony with the enclitic pronoun. Haas and Wegner (1997a: 454) are correct in noting that this analysis results in a case of split-ergativity with both A and P in the absolutive. Despite the clearly transitive nature of the Hittite translation, the above analysis of ex. (4.11) does not explain satisfactorily why the imperative ⸗a, which is so often found with intransitive constructions, is here being used as a transitive marker, the role typically played by the morpheme ⸗i (see §4.3.2 below). Wegner’s argument that the ⸗a is the result of either vowel harmony with an omitted enclitic pronoun or sandhi is an ad hoc attempt to explain away this issue. I have suggested elsewhere that ex. (4.11) 40.  Note the variant writing: a-mu-ma-a-am in i 40. 41.  A nominal form built from the verbal root am- “to look, see.” 42.  See Catsanicos 1996: 257; Haas and Wegner 1997a: 454; Neu 1994: 129; 1996a: 125–26; 2003: 300–301. 43.  ḫa-at-re-eš-šar iš-ta-ma-aš-[ki-t]én (KBo 32.14 ii 24); ḫa-at-re-eš-šar iš-ta-ma-aš-ki-tén (KBo 32.14 ii 40); ḫa-at-re-eš-šar iš-ta-ma-aš-tén (KBo 32.14 iii 7, 21, rev. 34, 54). 44.  Giorgieri 2000a: 220; Neu 2003: 300–301; Wegner 2000: 66–67; Wilhelm 1992a: 135 (with bibliographical sources); 2004a: 108 45.  Wegner (2007: 226) sees this as sandhi writing with the following madāffa. It is surprising that šalġōla is never written *šalġōlam, especially in cases where madāffa occurs on a separate line (e.g., KBo 32.14 i 24–25). The use of a second-person-singular enclitic in the same phrase with a second-plural enclitic strikes me as quite problematic. 46.  See most recently De Martino and Giorgieri, who translate am(m)⸗o /um⸗i as “Botschaft, Sendung, (An)wesiung” with bibliography at ammoumi.



should be analyzed not as a transitive imperative construction but as two intransitive imperatives: am⸗ōm⸗a⸗f  (fa) šalġ⸗ōl⸗a “Observe and listen!” 47 Although this reading was previously shown to be impossible, a new analysis has revealed that šalġ⸗ōl⸗a is indeed intransitive in this context. 48 Giorgieri has demonstrated that šalġ- can function as an intransitive verb taking its logical patient (i.e., the thing that is heard) in the essive. Note the following passage: (4.13) ḫutḫi(i)⸗a šalġ⸗ud⸗o⸗kko prayer+ess hear/listen+ud+intran+neg “(the gods?) do not hear/listen/heed the prayer” (Mari 7+6 11′) 49

The negative intransitive šalġ⸗ud⸗o⸗kko takes it patient, ḫutḫi “prayer” in the essive. Based on this passage from Mari 7+6, we can now correctly understand the amōmaf šalġōla of KBo 32.14. The amōmaf should be analyzed as the essive amōm(i)⸗a⸗f, 50 while the ⸗­ a of šalġ⸗ōl⸗a can be taken as an intransitive imperative marker. (4.14) amōm(i)⸗a⸗f(fa) šalġ⸗ōl⸗a hear/listen+ol+intran.imp “Listen (pl.) to the message!”  ChS I/5 40 rev. 44′ An additional example of an imperative with ⸗a is found in the quasi-bilingual section of ChS I/5 40 rev. 41′–50′ (CTH 788). The final lines of the tablet contain a “bilingual” passage. The Hittite is identical to the Hurrian for the first several lines (41′–47′) while the last lines diverge from the original Hurrian. 51 In 44′, we find the imperative of a verb of motion marked by ⸗a followed by the second-person-plural enclitic pronoun ⸗ffa. (4.15) faž⸗a⸗ffa parġi⸗d[a enter+imp.intran+2pl.abs courtyard+dir “Enter into the courtyard!” (ChS I/5 40 rev. 44′) 52

This is translated into Hittite as: (4.16) na-aš-ta ḫi-i-e[l-l]i i-it-ten “Go to the courty[ard]!” (ChS I/5 40 rev. 44′)

Although one might be tempted to analyze this ⸗a as resulting from vowel harmony with the following enclitic pronoun (see Wegner 2001: 445–46), I feel that this is highly unlikely. Given that no transitive imperative form with ⸗i that is followed by enclitic 47.  Campbell 2008b: 280 n. 57. 48.  Giorgieri 2010a: 146 n. 14; 2010b: 935 with n. 28. 49.  Giorgieri (2010b: 935) translates: “(die Götter? . . .) hören auf (sein?) Gebet nicht.” This is based on the earlier work of Haas and Wegner 2004: 344; and Wegner 2004: 102; see also Thureau-Dangin 1939: 20 (as Mari 6: 8) 50.  This is the preferred analysis of De Martino and Giorgieri (Web address provided in n. 46 above) and is parallel to the example presented in Wilhelm 2000: 203. 51.  The nature of translation in bilinguals is a subject that requires additional study. 52.  waa-aš-ap-waa bar-ḫi-d[a; Wegner 2001: 445–46; see also Haas and Thiel 1978: 310–11; Röseler 2009: 668.

4.3.  Form in Context


pronouns displays vowel harmony, it seems quite likely that the imperative does not follow the rules of vowel harmony. 53  An Imperative in ⸗a⸗b? A potential example of an imperative in ⸗a⸗b has been postulated. The form is found in the Hurrian-Hittite Song of Release. It appears in the following context: (4.17) (Kneeling, Mēgi spoke the words to Teššob:) dTeššob URUKumme⸗ne⸗ve ḫaž⸗až⸗il⸗a⸗b ? hear+až+il+imp.intran +abs.agr? DN+∅abs GN+sg.relat+gen talāvuži evri great+∅abs lord+∅abs “Hear (me), O Teššob, great lord of Kumme!” (KBo 32.15 iv 13–14) 54

This corresponds to the following Hittite: (4.18) 13 . . . [i]š-ta-ma-aš-mu dIM-aš 14 URUkum-mi-ia-aš LU[GA]L GAL “Hear me Tarḫunt, the great king of Kumme!” (KBo 32.15 iii 13–14)

This cannot be a case where we have the movement ⸗i > ⸗a. As mentioned above, it appears that the imperative is not subject to the rules of vowel harmony. Furthermore, the subject in ex. (4.17) is the second-person-singular Teššob, and ⸗b as an enclitic pronoun can only be analyzed as the second-person-plural ⸗f (fa). 55 If we are to take ḫaž⸗až⸗ il⸗a⸗b as an imperative, then it must be marked by ⸗a. Since there is no expressed direct object, it is possible that the verb in the Hurrian section should be taken as intransitive, but the corresponding Hittite is transitive. This then creates a difference of valence between the two versions. Although this cannot be used as an argument against taking the Hurrian as intransitive, there remains the difficulties of the final ⸗b. The use of this particular verb as intransitive is problematic. The verb ḫaž- “to hear” is transitive in Hurrian. 56 I know of no examples in which ḫaž- is used as an intransitive verb. We do have, however, an example of ḫaž- used in a transitive imperative construction in ex. (4.24) below. The following passage shows the typical use of this verb: (4.19) kād⸗i⸗a⸗šše [t]ivšari nô(i)⸗īffu⸗ž speak+tran+3sg.erg+rel+∅abs speech?+∅abs 57 ear +1sg.poss+erg 53.  Wegner (2001: 446) does not take faž⸗a⸗ffa as an imperative but as “ein Indikativ Präs. Der 2. Pers. Pl. des Intransitivums.” Following this, the verb should be translated “you (pl.) enter.” She allows that the form may be analyzed as “einen Imperativ auf -i/e” faž⸗a(< i)⸗ffa (2001: 446). Note, however, that we have examples of imperatives with ⸗i immediately followed by an enclitic pronoun without a shift of ⸗i > ⸗a through vowel harmony (see ex. [4.24] below). The analysis of this form in Haas and Thiel 1978: 310–11 can be disregarded. 54.  ḫa-ša-ši-la-ab 14 dIM-ub URUkum-mi-ni-bi da-la-a-wuú-ši ib-ri; Neu 1994: 128; Wegner 1994: 166 with n. 20; Wilhelm 1997: 285–86. 55.  This is not to be confused with the second-person-singular possessive morpheme ⸗b(⸗). 56.  See Laroche 1976h: 95 (note: Laroche was not aware of the near homonym ḫāž- “to anoint,” so forms of both verbs are presented under his ḫaš- “entendre”). 57.  I am tentatively translating this word “speech” in order to keep it distinct from the separate lexeme tive “word.”


Imperative ḫāž⸗ī⸗a⸗n hear+tran+3sg.erg+3sg.abs “My ear hears the speech which he speaks.” (ChS I/1 41 i 24–25) 58

The form in KBo 32.15 iii 13 does not fit in with the basic pattern of this verb. It would be odd to have here an intransitive usage of an otherwise consistently transitive verb. 59 We would expect there to be an object, either “hear me” following the Hittite use of the enclitic pronoun ⸗mu, or “hear it/them (i.e., the word[s]).” A different interpretation of the Hurrian is possible. The form can also be analyzed as the transitive indicative first-person verbal form ḫaž⸗až⸗il⸗av (Haas and Wegner 1997a: 452–53). In this case, Teššob is then the direct object, and the agent is none other than Mēgi. This changes the reading of the passage but not in an implausible way. If the verb is imperative, we obtain the following translation: (4.20) “Kneeling, Mēgi speaks the words to Teššob: ‘Hear (me) Teššob, great lord of Kumme! I give it, but my city is not giving it, the releasing (of the captives from Igingališ). Zazzala, the son of Fāzangari, is not giving a releasing!’”

Here, Mēgi is imploring Teššob to hear that he, Mēgi, has done as his god asked, despite the refusal of Zazzala and his followers. If we take the verb as a first-person transitive form, the alternate translation would be: (4.21) “Kneeling, Mēgi speaks the words to Teššob: ‘I hear (you) Teššob, great lord of Kumme and I am giving it, but my city is not giving it, the releasing. . . .’”

If we follow this second reading, we find that Mēgi is reporting that he has obeyed a command that he received earlier from Teššob. This is the reading tentatively suggested by Haas and Wegner. 60 If the second interpretation is correct, then we have a difference in person and mood between the Hurrian and Hittite. This is not the only place in this text where the Hittite uses a verbal form with a different person from the original Hurrian. Earlier in the text, Mēgi’s attempts to sway the council of Ebla to release the people of Igingališ were met with rejection. The main argument presented by the opposition is as follows: (4.22) andi⸗lla⸗m nakk⸗ed⸗āū⸗ž avē(⸗ž)⸗dilla šātti that +3pl.abs+conn release+fut+1erg+pl who+erg+1pl.abs 1pl.abs zāz⸗ol⸗il⸗ed⸗a tapš⸗a⸗ḫḫ(e)⸗a kur⸗a⸗ḫḫ(e)⸗a feed+ol+il+fut+3sg.erg cupbearer+ess waiter+ess fand⸗ar⸗i⸗nn(i)⸗a fud⸗ar⸗i⸗nn(i)⸗a⸗lla cook+ess dishwasher+ess+3pl.abs

58.  ga-a-ti-i[a-aš]-ši 25 [t]e-ep-ša-ri nu-u-ú-i-ip-pu-uš ḫa-a-aš-i-ia-an; see Wegner 1995: 122; Wilhelm 1991: 166. 59.  As a transitive, it can occur both in the normal transitive (ergative) construction and in the detransitivizing antipassive. 60.  They even go so far as to read the verb as gehorchen “to obey” (Haas and Wegner 1997a: 453).

4.3.  Form in Context


“(If) we release those ones, who will feed us? They are (our) cupbearers, waiters, cooks, and dishwashers!” (KBo 32.15 i 26′–29′) 61

This is translated into Hittite as: (4.23) 26′a-pu-u-uš ar-ḫa ku-it tar-nu-m[e]-ni an-za-a-ša a-da-an-[na] 27′ku-iš pí-iš-ki-iz-zi LÚ.MEŠSAGI-ia-at-na-aš 28′pa-ra-a-ia-aš-na-aš pí-iš-ki-u-wa-ni LÚ.MEŠMUḪALDIM ša-at-na-aš 29′ar-ra-aš-kán-zi-ia-aš-na(erasure)-aš “Concerning our releasing them, who would give us (food) to eat? On one hand they are our cupbearers and on the other, we serve them to us. They are our cooks and they do the washing for us!” (KBo 32.15 ii 26′–29′)

The key phrase is the Hittite parā⸗ya⸗as⸗nas piskiwani “we serve them to us.” 62 As it stands, the form makes no sense. We expect something along the lines of *parā⸗ya⸗nas piskanzi “they give forth (food?) to us.” Unfortunately, there is no corresponding Hurrian to clarify the situation. If there had been a Hurrian phrase to match the Hittite, it would need to be transitive, with the agent (the cupbearers) in ergative and the recipient (“us”) as patient. It appears as though the agent and patient had been switched in the Hittite translation of the Hurrian. This phenomenon is also found in the Akkadian of Nuzi. 63 This switching of actors can be applied to KBo 32.15 iv 13–14. It is not impossible that the Hurrian version’s “I hear you” could have been misconstrued in the Hittite as “you hear me.” In ii 26′, the scribe did nothing to the Hittite to make the resulting mistranslation fit the passage. Saying “we serve them to us” clearly makes no sense in this (or in any) context. In contrast, it appears that the scribe attempted to fit iii 13 to the context by changing the verb from the indicative “you hear me” to the imperative “Hear me!” As shown above, the use of an imperative results in a perfectly acceptable translation. Instead of taking ḫa-ša-ši-la-ab as an imperative based on the Hittite, perhaps we are better off analyzing the Hittite as a reworking of a mistranslation of the Hurrian. It is also possible that the scribe simply misunderstood the form, taking it as an imperative marked by ⸗a with a ⸗b agreement marker instead of as the indicative transitive ⸗av. This analysis, although difficult, fits the grammar far better than an imperative form. 4.3.2.  Imperatives Marked by ⸗i More frequent then intransitive imperatives with ⸗a, though still far from common, are transitive imperatives. Transitivity in the imperative is indicated through the use of 61.  an-ti-il-la-am na-ak-ki-da-a-u-uš a-pé-e-di-il-la 27′ša-a-at-ti za-a-zu-li-li-ta tap-ša-aḫ-ḫa ku-raaḫ-ḫa 28′pa-an-ta-ri-in-na wuú-ta-ri-na-al-la; see Haas and Wegner 1997a: 453; Wilhelm 1997: 283; Neu 1996a: 335–41; 2003: 98; Wegner 1992: 235 n. 17. 62.  The enclitic chain in this i 26′–29′ is of some interest. According to Hoffner (1986: 93–94), whenever a plural dative such as ⸗naš is used, the third-person enclitic ⸗a⸗ form always follows the dative. In this passage of the Bilingual, however, this combination is switched, with the -a- third-person form preceding the dative plural pronoun! 63.  See Wilhelm 1997: 283–84 n. 36; A good example of this switching of arguments is found in a will from Nuzi (HSS 19.17). In lines 21–22, the text reads: 21 3 DUMU.MEŠ-ya 22 an-nu-tu4 i-pal-la-aḫ-šu-nu-ti “She will respect them, these three sons of mine.” The context, however, calls for the reverse: “These three sons of mine shall respect her!” (see Speiser 1963: 66).



the morpheme ⸗i. Based on the indicative pattern, we would expect transitive imperatives to have an agent in the ergative case and the patient in the absolutive. As we have seen above, however, imperatives in ergative languages do not usually behave according to the rules of ergativity. The action of the imperative is focused on the listener, regardless of valence. This creates a link between S and A NPs that is not typically found in ergative languages. Because of this, we do not necessarily expect the transitive imperative in Hurrian to function strictly according to ergative rules. As we shall see below, this is borne out by the examples.  ChS I/1 41 iii 63 The passage in ex. (4.24) is an example of one of the ways in which the transitive imperative in Hurrian is formed. This example is found in the long monolingual Hurrian prayer from Boğazköy, ChS I/1 41: (4.24) anammi⸗tta ḫāž⸗i⸗mma Tado-ḫeba⸗tta so+1sg.abs hear+trans+2sg.abs PN+1sg.abs “So, hear me, Tado-ḫeba!” (ChS I/1 41 iii 63) 64

The verb ḫāž- “to hear” is, as discussed above, a transitive verb. It cannot be construed as an indicative form and therefore must be imperative. 65 It is formally minimal and does not contain any of the other known nonindicative morphemes. The final ⸗mma cannot be construed as an indicative negative morpheme, since the expected negative form would be ḫaž⸗i⸗a⸗mma. While omission of the ⸗i is possible in indicative transitive forms, the agreement marker ⸗a is always used with third-person-singular agents. The morpheme ⸗mma can only be interpreted as the second-person-singular absolutive enclitic pronoun “you.” The passage contains two enclitic, absolutive pronouns. The following lines in the text include first-person verbs such as ḫill⸗eva⸗tta and first-person pronouns such as šō⸗ da “to me.” 66 It is most likely that the speaker here is the queen Tado-Ḫeba, who references herself both by the first-person pronoun ⸗tta and by her personal name. The ⸗mma must be the second-person-singular agent and therefore the addressee of the command, and is most likely a deity.  ChS I/1 3 obv. 45–47 In ex. (4.24), the agent is cross-referenced on the verb through the use of the enclitic plural pronoun ⸗mma. This is just one of the ways in which the transitive imperative is formed. A long passage in ChS I/1 3 (obv. 40–50) involves several imperatives directed to an unknown addressee. The addressee is to summon forth Teššob and other masculine deities, including Ea. In none of the several imperative forms in this section is agreement with the agent marked. In these passages, if agreement is indicated, it is with the patient. 64.  a-na-am-mi-it-ta ḫa-a-ši-im-ma da-du-ḫi-pa-at-ta; see Campbell 2008: 280 n. 57; 2011: 27; Catsanicos 1996: 225; Giorgieri 2001a: 135 n. 39; 2010: 146; Haas and Wegner 1997: 454 n. 51; Lam 2006: 401. 65.  The expected indicative form is ḫaž⸗i⸗o (present), ḫaž⸗ed⸗o (future), or ḫaž⸗ož⸗o (preterite), assuming a second-person agent. 66.  šu-u-ta ChS I/1 41 iii 68; see also perhaps iii 72: šu-u-[.

4.3.  Form in Context


In ex. (4.25), we have a long phrase (delineated from the rest of the text through the use of a gloss mark) with the imperative verb ḫō⸗i “Call!” occurring twice. 67 (4.25) ḫō⸗i⸗lla šummi⸗n en(i)⸗na šerri⸗n kišḫi⸗n call+tran.imp+3pl.abs all+conn god +pl.abs š.+inst/dim throne+inst/dim Teššop⸗pe . . . ḫō⸗i Eā⸗n ayankuri⸗n šelli⸗n DN+gen . . . call+tran.imp DN+conn 68 a.+inst/dim house+inst/dim “Call them, all the gods from the šerri, 69 from the throne of Teššob, 70 call Ea, the . . . , from the ayankurri-house (or: from the a., from the house)!” (ChS I/1 3 obv. 45–47) 71

The passage can be pared down to these primary elements: (4.26) ḫō⸗i⸗lla en(i)⸗na ḫo⸗i Eā “Call the gods! Call Ea!”

The plural patients are cross-referenced on the verb through the third-person plural enclitic ⸗lla. The singular patient Ea is not cross-referenced. Additional imperative forms are found in this same paragraph of ChS I/1 3. Here the verb is not ḫō- “to call” but the transitive of un- “to come; to bring” and of faž- “to enter; to bring in.” Again, the agent is not mentioned, and Ea and the gods are the patients: (4.27) Eā⸗n šummi⸗n tur⸗o⸗ḫḫi⸗na en(i)⸗na [Teššop]⸗pe⸗na DN+conn all+conn male+pl.abs god+pl.abs DN +gen+pl.abs . . . 72 pūrul(i)⸗le(