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Classification of relative clause constructions in Old Hittite: a typological perspective

Guglielmo Inglese


Hittite features a number of well-studied relative clause constructions, as discussed in the reference grammar by Hoffner and Melchert (2008). In recent years, some aspects of the standard analysis have been convincingly called into question by various scholars, and therefore the entire domain of Hittite relativization deserves closer attention. In this paper, I attempt a new synchronic description of Hittite relative clauses, by combining a typological framework for the classification of relative clauses with a careful scrutiny of corpus data, extracted from a selection of Old Hittite texts. As I will demonstrate, the criteria employed in linguistic typology to describe the structural and functional variation of relative clauses across languages will allow us to achieve a more precise classification of these structures in Hittite, enabling the identification of a number of hitherto neglected syntactic and semantic patterns, such as the existence of postposed restrictive and of maximalizing correlative relative clauses.


Guglielmo Inglese
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Sezione di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata
Università di Pavia
Strada Nuova 65
27100 Pavia (Italy)

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