Indo-European II

This programme will consist of four courses: Reconstructing Indo-European nominal morphology (slot 2), Masterclass Reading Hittite texts (slot 3), and Indo-European hymnal, epic and ritual poetry (slot 4).

Slot 1 (9.30 - 11.00)

During the first slot there is no course in this programme, but participants may consider following the course in Comparative Uralic from the Specials.

Slot 2: Reconstructing Indo-European nominal morphology (11.30 - 13.00)

Alwin Kloekhorst, Alexander Lubotsky, Tijmen Pronk (Leiden)

Course description
In this course we will be concerned with the methodology and results of reconstructing Indo-European nominal morphology. Some of the questions to be answered are: Which ablaut patterns and case endings must be reconstructed for the proto-language? How are gender and number distinguished? What makes the ­o-stems so special? How precisely can we reconstruct Proto-Indo-European paradigms? Does internal reconstruction allow us to say something about the prehistory of the Proto-Indo-European nominal paradigms? And, most importantly, how to decide which nominal paradigms must be reconstructed for the proto-language and which not?

The focus will be on methodological issues, on reconstructing bottom-up, starting from the attested nominal paradigms in all major Indo-European languages.

At the beginning of the course, participants are expected to have read a number of articles that will be distributed in advance. Further materials will be provided during the course.

The student should have basic knowledge of Indo-European linguistics.

Slot 3: Masterclass reading Hittite texts (14.00 - 15.30)

Alwin Kloekhorst (Leiden)

Course description
In this course several Hittite texts will be read in class, which will be commented upon by the teacher with regard to linguistic topics, both from a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The goal is to practice reading skills in Hittite as well as to get an insight into its linguistic intricacies and its value for reconstructing Proto-Indo-European. Course materials will be provided in class. Students are expected to prepare homework on a daily basis.

The students are required to have a basic knowledge of Hittite and of Indo-European linguistics.

Slot 4: Indo-European hymnal, epic and ritual poetry (16.00 - 17.30)

Velizar Sadovski (Vienna)

Course description
In this year, we shall concentrate on the contribution of archaic Indo-European poetic texts used in solemn or in private ritual to the reconstruction of notions, expressions and phraseological collocations referring to Indo-European spiritual and intellectual heritage, ritual practice and social reality. Closely looking at the rich text material at our disposal from comparative and historical perspective, we shall demonstrate a number of exemplary cases of such common structures and even word-by-word (and rite-by-rite) correspondences between various elements of religious poetry and ritual pragmatics (as different from last-year’s class, in which the stress was specifically laid on sacred lexicon and divine names to be reconstructed for PIE, and from which this year’s class is largely independent). This will allow us to reconstruct texts and contexts which have good chance to go back to common Indo-European mytho-poetic heritage.

Active research into the different language system levels of various representatives of hymnal, epic and ritual poetry – in their stylistics, syntax, inherited (and modified) phraseology and intertextual relationships – is able to make us aware of a number of parallels of well-known classical Greek and Latin texts – such as poems and hymns of Homer, Hesiod, the Greek choral lyrics, incantations in (metrical) inscriptions, not to forget Old Latin ritual carmina, Oscan and Umbrian religious prescriptions – with (well- or less-known) representatives of ritual/hymnal poetry of other ancient Indo-European traditions such as Hittite or Cuneiform Luwian prayers and oaths, Vedic mantras and purification hymns, Gāthic and Young Avestan liturgical chants, calendar-related formulae and 'uerba concepta' for legal purposes in Italic, healing charms in Celtic, inherited topoi of Balto-Slavic "Heldendichtung", Germanic spells for cursing and blessing: all parts of a complex puzzle which have been often thematized by (Classical) philologists and historians of religion but rarely seen in the context of an interactive application of IE linguistics and "Realienkunde".

Exploration of Language of Indo-European Poetry represents an object of continuous interest of comparative linguistics ever since 1853: after Adalbert Kuhn discovered a phraseological parallel between Homeric Greek and Vedic – the classical heroic notion of ‘imperishable glory’ –, the domain of linguistic comparison extended itself not only over phonological or morphological correspondences but also over higher language levels: syntax and stylistics, incl. poetical formulae, figures of speech, epithets and proper names. The main requirement has been to collect such formulae, epithets or names that show consequent correspondences both on the level of semantics and (especially) in their phonologic shape as well as on the level of precise patterns of word-formation and (underlying) syntactic structures. After the comparative interest in "Dichtersprache" have reached a peak in the decade after the World War I, it needed half a century until research tradition between 1850es and 1950es has been presented in a systematic way, in Rüdiger Schmitt’s "Dichtung and Dichtersprache in indogermanischer Zeit", the classical study of this particular discipline of Indo-European Studies for other forty years. The well-known monographs by Calvert Watkins, Gregory Nágy, Martin L. West and Michael Janda that appeared after 1995, are a material expression of intensification of scholarly debate on Language of Poetry in the last 20 years. A new comprehensive presentation of the topics of this debate after 1967 in a special volume of the "Indogermanische Grammatik" (Heidelberg) on Indo-European Stylistics and Language of Poetry is in planning. The present class aims at presenting a part of the material to be included in this compendium, in form of a conspectus of themes and questions illustrated by some "praeclara rara" that intend to focus the attention of participants on the current development of studies and methods – but also on new themes that arose only in the last few decades.

Course outline:
Objectives of the course will include:
(1) Introduction and state-of-affairs. A short survey of classical studies on the subject in form of a concise "history of ideas". Some terminological explanations.
(2) "Language of poetry" vs. "Dichtersprache":
    (a.) a survey of present-day scholarly debate in form of highlights concerning various language levels (poetical phonology, morphology, syntax) but
    (b.) primarily focussing on higher levels of text (constitutive elements, cohesion, stylistic figures, composition) in various Indo-European traditions of poetry, between orality and scriptuality.
(3.) Linguistic and stylistic forms and genres of ancient Indo-European poetry: hymn, mantra, prayer, ritual complaint, ritual conjuration, oath, cursing and blessing etc.
(4) Rites, incantations, and (poetical) phraseology concerning everyday’s life in all its "prosaic" and poetic aspects, as depicted in the most ancient texts of domestic ritual.
(5) Creation myths and their reproduction in daily ritual acts like setting of the sacrificial fire, libations, and the corresponding hymnal poetry;
(6) Theogony and "Götterdichtung", esp. forms of linguistic presentation of the divine in lexicon and phraseology;
(7) Teratology, incl. motifs concerning abstract forces, numina and non-personified powers with their nomenclature and characteristics;
(8) Anthropogony and anthropology, viz. myths of the primordial couples, (incestuous) creation of human and parahuman spheres, aspects of the theme of the primordial twins;
(9) Heroic poetry, incl. topics of peace and war, and issues on the possible reconstruction of common IE collocations, epithets, phraseology characterizing the person and deeds of a hero, beyond the banalities of "primitive parallels" and "elementary structures of kinship";
(10.) Formal-stylistic figures on various language levels, especially techniques of formulation, syntax and stylistics of complex sentence structures; formation and structures of periods; formulaic structures. Relations between "rhythmic" and "non-rhythmic" forms and genres; "poetry of prose". Tradition and innovation in poetical expressions and formulae.
(11.) Names and phraseology in the mirror of religion, ritual, culture, society. Word formation and external syntax, incl. problem of hypostasizing, "frozen syntax" etc: "nonce-formations", proliferation of concepts and formulae according to associative chains of analogy, conditions of establishing them from poetical into everyday’s speech.
(12.) Methods of composition and their linguistic representation in specific forms: cyclic compositions, catalogues and lists, dialogic hymns etc.

Presentations and discussion
Beside the classical lecture form with presentation of relevant issues from short surveys or selected highlights (§§ 1–3) to detailed accounts of the phenomena concerned (§§ 4–12), we shall aim at reaching a certain level of interactivity in class, including place for questions of special interests of participants as well as excursive surveys of special problems in form of short papers: a few of the students (this year: max. three or four) will be encouraged to give short presentations (ca. 20 min.) on topics of their special interest and/or on more general themes (and Leiden evergreens such as "How to Talk to God in Homeric Greek?", "Style and Language of the Second Merseburg Incantation", "Latin Prayers and Indo-European Poetic Heritage", or similar issues of relevance for the wide thematic range of the class). Beyond the rich teaching programme, as the experience shows, such additional presentations of their own ideas or projects (although of voluntary and by no way mandatory character) encourage individual contacts and exchange between the students. Our discussions often continue long after the classes – in the relaxed evening atmosphere of the Dutch cafés and beer gardens at the Rhine! – thus stimulating future professionals and present colleagues from different countries become acquainted with one another's work and personalities.