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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1997-98 Annual Report

Chicago Hittite Dictionary

1997-98 ANNUAL REPORT

Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

The past year has seen the appearance of two new volumes of Hittite texts. Since the bulk of the Hittite tablets from Boghazköy were returned to Turkey, there has remained a small but significant number of unpublished Hittite tablets in the Berlin Museum that were not a part of the official lot loaned to the Staatliches Museum by the Turkish authorities. The lot consists of fragments of rituals and festival texts. Several rather important pieces have been excerpted and cited as unpublished by German Hittitologists. Their official publication in good hand copies by Frau Dr. Jakob-Rost was most welcome. The second volume is the fortieth in the long-standing Keilschrifttexte aus Bogazköy series, edited by Heinrich Otten. New volumes of Hittite texts appear regularly, usually about one or two a year. The appearance is both welcome and daunting: welcome because they provide new information about words we are treating in the dictionary and daunting because it means much work for the staff.

The first line of work falls on the shoulders of Research Associate Hripsime Haroutunian, who generates the official transliterated text on project computers, and Executive Director Harry Hoffner, who puts a similar electronic version in bound transcription on computer for special uses to which the transliterated version is not suited. Haroutunian and Hoffner consult CHD files in the attempt to identify fragments that the volume editors were unable to do. Usually this results in a published review of the volume by Hoffner.

The second line of work falls to Research Associate Richard Beal and Hoffner, who must see that new occurrences of words whose articles have already been written in first draft are added to those manuscripts and all necessary corrections to the article are made. There may also be new words in the newly published texts, words that fall alphabetically in the range we are working on.

Research Associate Oguz Soysal has now become a part-time member of the epigraphic staff of the Turkish excavations at Shapinuwa-Ortaköy, where over three thousand Hittite and Hurrian tablets have been found and await publication. We hope that through the courtesy of Prof. Aygül Süel, the chief epigrapher, we will be given access to information from that corpus about words on whose articles we are now working.

During the past year new books and articles discussing the already known texts have also been published. Staff members have to take the time to read and digest these new ideas in order to incorporate or at least refer to them in articles being composed and edited. One such newly published article by an Italian colleague deals with the use of aromatics in Hittite rituals. Since several of the crucial terms begin with åa…, we have been busily applying our colleague's ideas to the revision of these articles.

In the 1996/97 Annual Report we mentioned the addition of several outside consultants to our staff: Gary Beckman for strictly Hittite matters, Craig Melchert for Luwian consultations, and Gernot Wilhelm for Hurrian consultations. During this year we have increased the frequency and intensity of these consultations. We have seen just how productive the collaboration is, and we are very gratified with our decision to broaden the scope of the outside staff. In particular, Dr. Wilhelm has given us much helpful advice regarding the use of Hurrian material from Hittite texts.

Over the past several years we have been exploring ways to put the dictionary on line, at least in part. We have a short-term and a long-term goal. In the near future, we would like to make available on the Institute's website some of the most interesting and valuable of the published articles in the Portable Document Format (PDF). These can be viewed and searched in a limited fashion. In the long run we propose to code dictionary articles in SGML and XML, so that very sophisticated searching can be performed on line. It is very likely that by this coming fall, if you visit the CHD portion of the Institute's website, you will be able to see some parts of the dictionary.

In the meantime, the traditional print version of the dictionary continues to grow and find wide use. Because such a dictionary will always cater to a very limited group of highly specialized scholars, sales are predictably small compared to general book sales. The true measure of the dictionary's success is the evidence of its use by the world-wide community of Hittitologists and Indo-Europeanists. This evidence is prominent in virtually every book or article about the Hittites and their language. Citations abound, as - of course - do corrections and supplementation. Once we are able to have an on-line version of the already published volumes, it will be possible to update and correct earlier parts.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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