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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1999-2000 Annual Report

Chicago Hittite Dictionary


Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

This was a "roll over" year for the Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD) Project, in which Hoffner had to prepare an application for a new grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This application was submitted on 1 July 2000.

Co-editors Harry Hoffner and Hans Güterbock, Research Associates Richard Beal, Oguz Soysal, and Hripsime Haroutunian, volunteer Irv Diamond, and graduate students Simrit Dhesi, Kathleen Mineck, and Dennis Campbell constituted the project staff during 1999/2000.

The saddest news for the year is that we lost co-founding editor Hans G. Güterbock on Wednesday morning, 29 March, almost two months to the day before his 92nd birthday. Hans served the dictionary from its inception in 1974, and although for the past five years he was largely confined to his apartment in a weakened physical condition, he faithfully and tirelessly met with dictionary staff - usually Richard Beal, less often Harry Hoffner - to comment on dictionary articles read aloud to him. His mind was very sharp and perceptive to the end. We are still integrating his comments into the manuscript of the forthcoming first installment of the S volume.

On a brighter note, with the retirement of Harry Hoffner from the university faculty on 1 July 2000, the university has appointed Theo van den Hout the new faculty Hittitologist. This means that Hoffner will continue more or less in the same capacity that Güterbock occupied during his emeritus years. Hoffner will be emeritus faculty but co-editor with van den Hout of the CHD. The project will retain the same number of staff members, but the average age of its staff will drop to a level close to what it was in the 1980s.

Progress on the dictionary continues to be good. The P volume was completed in summer of 1997, almost three years ago. During this interval the staff has been preparing the material for the S volume. We have almost completed the reference checking and final formatting of the first two-thirds of the SA words, which should make up fascicle 1 of the S volume. The material will be delivered to the Institute's Publications Office in midsummer, which has recently upgraded it's computers to much faster ones with more robust software, and we hope to have the first installment of S in print by the end of this calendar year.

Meanwhile work continues on the material for the end of S and the beginning of T. Soysal has been writing the last first drafts of articles at the end of S, and Hoffner has composed about 50 articles in the first part of T. By the end of the current NEH grant period (1 July 2001) we should have 100 to 150 articles in T written in draft form.

Haroutunian was used in the reference-checking tasks of the past six months, but as of June 2000 she has returned to her usual duty of keying newly published texts into the project computers.

As part of our commitment to the NEH, Hoffner, in consultation with John Sanders, Head of the Computer Laboratory, has been selecting portions of the published volumes of the dictionary to be put on-line on the Institute's website. Other documents of interest are being considered for on-line publication, including Hoffner's unpublished Hittite-English Glossary, a useful aid to private or classroom study of the Hittite language.

The distribution of responsibilities on the CHD staff remained the same as in previous years: (1) Newly published texts and text editions were incorporated into the main lexical files by Haroutunian, who also, together with Soysal, maintains a bibliographical database of secondary literature on Hittite texts and language; (2) most first drafts were written by Soysal, with a smaller number by Beal and Hoffner; (3) revising of first drafts was done by Hoffner and by Güterbock (assisted by Beal); (4) preparation of the biannual NEH application, which takes most of May and all of June in alternate years (this was such a year), was the responsibility of Hoffner. As the Executive of the project and co-editor with Güterbock, Hoffner also made all the decisions concerning staffing, equipment, and day-to-day operations.

Communication by e-mail makes possible an extremely helpful stream of daily exchanges of queries and advice on dictionary matters with our three consultants: Gary Beckman of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Craig Melchert of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Gernot Wilhelm of the University of Würzburg, Germany.

Last 28-29 October we were visited by a team from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The purpose of the visit was twofold: to hear our plans for preparing and distributing the dictionary electronically, and to explore the possibility of changing the manner of the dictionary's financial support from short-term renewed grants to a permanent infusion of funding to create an endowment for support through completion. The site visit was extremely successful. Specialists in the production of electronic dictionaries participated, including several from the University of Chicago and Steven Tinney of the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary Project. All participants agreed that our ideas were good and our goals achievable.

Since the visit Hoffner has been working with Gene Gragg to create a scheme for electronic text markup for the dictionary, utilizing Extensible Markup Language (XML). As of mid-June they have several sample articles marked up and ready to mount on a server for the NEH to examine.

Although the Munich project for a Hittite Dictionary, begun by the late Annelies Kammenhuber, is continuing after her death, its progress has slowed. European scholars now tend to look to the Chicago dictionary as the leading lexical tool for the field. We are pleased with this recognition and are determined to keep the standard of excellence attained in the past twenty-five years during the co-editorship of Güterbock and Hoffner.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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