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Hurrian language

Hurrian language

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Spoken in: Mitanni 
Region: Mesopotamia
Language extinction: Ca 1000 BC
Language family: Hurro-Urartian
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: to be added
ISO/FDIS 639-3: — 

Hurrian is a conventional name for the language of the Hurrians (Khurrites), a people who entered northern Mesopotamia around 2300 BC and had mostly vanished by 1000 BC. Hurrian was the language of the Mitanni kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, and was likely spoken at least initially in Hurrian settlements in Syria.


[edit] Language interrelations

Hurrian is an ergative-agglutinative language that, together with Urartian, constitutes the Hurro-Urartian family. Some scholars see similarities between Hurrian and the Northeast Caucasian languages, and thus place it in the Alarodian family. Examples of the proposed phonological correspondences are PEC *l- > Hurrian t-, PEC *-dl- > Hurrian -r- (Diakonoff & Starostin).

There are significant grammatical influences of the Hurrian language such as ergativity, as well as vocabulary items, incorporated into the modern-day Kurdish languages of the same region[1].

[edit] Hurrian writing

The Hurrians adopted the Akkadian cuneiform script for their own language about 2000 BC. This has enabled scholars to read the Hurrian language. The number of Hurrian texts yet discovered is still small. They also tended use a lot of Sumerian logograms whose Hurrian pronunciation is unknown. The understanding of the Hurrian language is therefore far from complete.

[edit] Hurrian literature

Texts in the Hurrian language itself have been found at Hattusa, Ugarit (Ras Shamra), and Sapinuwa (but unpublished). Also, one of the longest of the Amarna letters is Hurrian; written by King Tushratta of Mitanni to Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was the only long Hurrian text known until a multi-tablet collection of literature in Hurrian with a Hittite translation was discovered at Hattusas in 1983. Among the Hurrian texts from Ugarit are the oldest known instances of written music.

Hurrian further influenced the Semitic language spoken at Qatna; and the Hittite language, particularly in the dialect of Sapinuwa.

[edit] Hypothesis about Hurrian

Some scholars, like I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser, believe that the Hurrians were later arrivals who assimilated or were assimilated by a Subarian substratum, and view the term "Hurrian language" as an anachronistic term for the native language of Subartu.

[edit] See also

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de:Hurritische Sprache hr:Hurijski jezik la:Lingua Hurrica ja:フルリ語 ru:Хурритский язык sv:Hurritiska

Hurrian language

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