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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1993-94 Annual Report

The Hittite Dictionary Project

1993-94 Annual Report

Harry A. Hoffner, Jr. and Hans G. Güterbock

The sound of air you hear around the Hittite Dictionary office is not a rapidly deflating tire; it is the hiss of Í-words being edited. I will not say that we have totally finished with the P volume. That would be misleading. The final checking of proofs for P, fascicle 1 (pa-pap), is going on as I write. And we estimate that the rest of P will be produced during the summer and be completed sometime in November. But while our Research Associates Beal and Collins finish that, coeditors Hoffner and Güterbock continue to hack away at the first drafts of Í-words. We are about halfway through the Í-words now.

In the last Annual Report I regaled you with tales from the letter Í, among which were angry words such as ßa, ßant, and ßawar, and with bright words like ßakk "to know" and uptight words like ßaklaiß "law". Shall I continue? You cholesterol freaks - both anti- and pro-fat - might like to know we have finally discovered the Hittite word for vegetable oil. It is ßaknaß. If you pronounce the Hittite s like an English "sh" (which is how we think it was pronounced), this word sounds as mouth-watering as the item probably was. In a Hittite prayer uttered after offering to the gods a pastry loaded with sweet oil and a pitcher of cold beer, the worshiper says, "O gods, let your stomach be ßaknawanza (filled with ßaknaß) and your brain intoxicated with beer!" Sounds like it might have been fun to be a Hittite god, what?

Our P volume is being set up in-house by Thomas Urban of the Oriental Institute Publications Office. This both speeds up the production and keeps the costs down. It is hard to beat the convenience of just taking our queries down the hall instead of telephoning or sending a facsimile to Indiana, as we did with the previous volume.

The staff (Harry Hoffner, Hans Güterbock, Richard Beal, Billie Jean Collins), including volunteer Irv Diamond and part-time graduate student assistants Joe Baruffi and Scott Branting, has remained unchanged from last year. A new graduate student, Steve Thurston, will be helping us out in the summer of 1994.

Four members of the staff participated in a spring 1994 seminar led by Professor Gragg on the Hurrian language, which gave us all the confidence to tackle the new Hurrian-Hittite bilingual text recently published in hand copy. This has increased our ability to handle Hurrian loanwords and short Hurrian passages in Hittite texts. We are still waiting for the official edition of the bilingual, to be authored by Professor Neu of Bochum University, Germany. But now all four of us feel we are in a better position to understand it when it appears.

Although our current grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities expires in June 1995, we must submit our renewal application in early fall of 1994. This means that the summer months will be partly occupied with preparing that important document.

In the fall of 1994 the project will be visited by Professor Itamar Singer of the University of Tel Aviv, Israel. Singer will be on sabbatical and will use our files and advice to produce a study of an important Hittite royal prayer. (Not the one about the high-cholesterol pastry and beer!)

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