The Hittite Demonstratives: Studies in Deixis, Topics and Focus.

AuthorZorman, Marina
PositionBook review

The Hittite Demonstratives: Studies in Deixis, Topics and Focus. By PETRA GOEDEGEBUURE. Studien zu den Bogazkoy-Texten, vol. 55. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2014. Pp. xxv + 610. [euro]98.

The book under review represents a major step forward in our understanding of Hittite. By including in the interpretation of passages of the Hittite texts selected here to illustrate the many shades of meaning of Hittite demonstratives both the pragmatic functions of those demonstratives and the role they have in structuring discourse, the author brings to light hitherto overlooked elements of implicit information that can be traced regarding specific demonstratives. Her interpretations give attention not only to the position in time and space of an entity mentioned in a text but--equally or even more importantly--also considers what was meant but left unsaid, such as background beliefs, emotional attitudes, and tacit assumptions of the ancient authors. Even when unexpressed overtly, this information is often paramount in attempting to make sense of Hittite texts.

The book is structured into ten chapters: Following the requisite information about the scope of the study and the investigated text corpus (ch. 1), as well as theoretical preliminaries (ch. 2), there is a detailed investigation of the semantic and pragmatic properties of four Hittite demonstratives and some of the adverbial forms belonging to them: asi+ and anna/i- (ch. 3), apa- (apart from the genitive sg. and pi. and the adnominal apa-, ch. 4), and ka- (ch. 5).

This investigation is followed by an even more detailed inquiry into the functional motivation for the use of apa- as an accented third person pronoun. This part of the book starts with a pilot study of the use of this pronoun in the Hittite Laws (ch. 6) and continues with a discussion of its role in information structure, where it can mark contrastive focus (ch. 7), inclusive focus (ch. 8), or contrastive topic (ch. 9). Sections 1.1 and 1.6 of ch. 1 (pp. 1-3 and 32-36) as well as the whole of ch. 10 present the author's observations regarding the use and development of the Hittite demonstratives from Old to Late New Hittite (including the set of all inflectional forms of each demonstrative attested in the corpus from individual periods). The corpus consists of all documents in Old Script and all datable Middle, New, and Late New Hittite compositions, which are conveniently listed in sec. 1.5 (pp. 11-36), while sec. 1.4 (pp. 7-11)...

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