Indo-European programme I

This programme consists of four courses: Classical Armenian (Martirosyan), Avestan linguistics and philology from comparative Indo-European perspective (Sadovski), Introdudction to Proto-Indo-European Phonology and Morphology (Kerkhof), Introduction to Mycenaean (van Beek).

Time slot 1: Classical Armenian (9.30-11.00)

Hrach Martirosyan (Leiden)

Course description
Armenian is an Indo-European language. At present, Armenian is spoken in the Republic of Armenia (ca. 3 million people) and by the diaspora community (ca. 7 million people). Classical Armenian or Grabar is known since the fifth century AD. The fifth century is regarded as the golden age of Armenian literature. The Armenian alphabet was invented by Mesrop Maštocʻ and consists of 36 original letters. Armenian plays an important role for the reconstruction of the Indo-European proto-language, although it underwent a number of significant changes, particularly in the verbal system. The aim of this course is to provide participants with the knowledge of the essentials of Classical Armenian grammar from an Indo-European perspective, with a particular reference to Greek. The reading excerpts from the Bible translation and from a few original texts will allow participants to gain a better understanding of the structure of the language. At the end of the course the participants will be able to read Classical Armenian texts with the help of a dictionary.

This course requires basic familiarity with historical linguistics.

Time slot 2: Avestan linguistics and philology from comparative Indo-European perspective (11.30-13.00)

Velizar Sadovski (Vienna)

Course description
This class will deal with one of the two extant Old Iranian languages – the Old East Iranian language of the Zoroastrian religious corpus (Avesta) in its two variants, the “Young (Later) Avestan” and the “Old Avestan” of the Gāthās of Zarathuštra. Together with its sister Iranian language, the Old Persian, and with the Vedic language as the oldest representative of Indic, Avestan represents one of the most valuable sources of Indo-European language reconstruction.
The course has a twofold aim. The one of its main tasks is to provide a detailed presentation of the structure and development of Avestan language. After a general introduction to the history of the Avestan corpus and writing system, we shall give a detailed account of the phonological system (discussing the main differences between Old and Young Avestan) and the elements of morphosyntax, from the viewpoint both of the inflexional system (nominal, pronominal, and verbal categories, etc.) and of the word-formation (derivation and composition). In order to get acquainted with text reading as early as possible, we shall exemplify the phonetic and grammatical structures under discussion with the aid of short textual exercises. On this occasion, we shall mention the main phonological correspondences between Avestan, Vedic Sanskrit and some other major Indo-European languages, but no previous knowledge of these languages is necessarily required, though it is recommended that the student have general understanding of the principles of historical linguistics.
The other fundamental task will consist in reading Avestan texts and assessing their value for the reconstruction of Indo-Iranian and Indo-European poetry, myth and cult. From the voluminous corpus of the sacred texts of the Zoroastrians, we shall read and discuss, first, crucial examples of Young Avestan literature: instances of the Avestan liturgy (the “Younger Yasna”), of hymnal poetry (the Avestan Yašts) dedicated to central deities of the Avestan pantheon, as well as of prose fragments of social and cultural relevance, from the “Law against the Daēuuas“ (Vīdēvdād)”. Furthermore, we shall discuss mythologically pertinent and ritual texts from the Old Avestan corpus: from the core of the Old Avestan liturgy of Yasna Haptaŋhāiti and, especially, from the Gāthās of Zarathustra, in the context of the religious and social history of Indo-Iranians (largely comparing Avestan with Vedic data) and in the perspective of their importance for the reconstruction of Indo-European ritual and mythology. While commenting on special issues of textual and religious history presented in these texts, we shall continue taking into account their linguistic parameters, corroborating our knowledge on the (diachronic, diatopic, and diastratic) variations between Old and Young Avestan and thus exemplifying developments in phonology and grammar from Proto-Indo-European via Proto-Indo-Iranian, Proto-Iranian into Old Eastern Iranian, respectively.
Studying these texts will give us the occasion to focus the attention of students interested in the history of ideas and cultural notions on specific lexical archaisms and various stylistic means on the level of expression (figures of speech, epithets and onomastics), poetical licences, as well as phraseological collocations with relevance for the Indo-European Dichtersprache. For a more detailed discussion of these topics, which for reasons of time cannot be fully covered in a single language class, interested students are referred to the next-slot class, “Indo-European poetry and ritual: textual testimonies of theology, cosmology and anthropology” (slot 3), which, without of course being a prerequisite, will contain valuable parallels to the present class and include additional Avestan texts as well as their analysis from the point of view of linguistic, cultural and religious history of the Avesta and Zoroastrianism on Indo-Iranian and Indo-European backgrounds.

The course is oriented both to students of Comparative Linguistics (on beginners’, intermediate or advanced level), Iranian and Indo-European studies and to students of General Linguistics, especially historical phonology, as well as to colleagues from all philological disciplines interested in an introduction to the history of an archaic Indo-European language in its religious and literary context. Since the class addresses students with comparative and historical linguistic interests but explicitly with no necessary preliminary knowledge of Avestan or any other Iranian language, the diachronic developments from Proto-Indo-European to (Young) Avestan will be presented from a comparative perspective: Knowledge of Sanskrit or Greek is by no means a prerequisite but may be of great advantage in this process.

A detailed bibliography as well as handouts on specific subjects will be distributed at the beginning and during the discussion of the respective topics and be supplemented by a detailed PowerPoint presentation. For first orientation in advance, beside the recommended reading of Javier Martinez & Michiel de Vaan, Introduction to Avestan, Brill, 2014, one might wish to consult some classical contributions to the Enyclopaedia Iranica conveniently accessible online: Avestan Language I-III by Karl Hoffmann, Avesta, the Holy Book of the Zoroastrians by Jean Kellens,  by Gherardo Gnoli, and Avestan People by Mary Boyce. One can also read a comparative study of Avestan and Vedic ritual texts: Velizar Sadovski, Ritual formulae and ritual pragmatics in Veda and Avesta, Sprache 48 (2009), 156–166.

[Note added by the organizers: The Brill Publishers offer the book by Javier Martinez & Michiel de Vaan, Introduction to Avestan, 2014, to the participants for the discount price of €25,-.]

Time slot 3: Introduction to Proto-Indo-European Phonology and Morphology (14.00-15.30)

Peter Alexander Kerkhof (Gent)

Course description
The aim of this course is to familiarize the student with the main phonological and morphological issues in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. We will review the most important elements of the linguistic system from which the different Indo-European languages have developed. The subject matter will be illustrated by means of small exercises in reconstruction. At the end of the course, the student should be able to start investigating problems of IE etymology.

Course outline (per day) 
1. Survey of main IE languages, their orthography and linguistic systems   
2. Phonemes of PIE, morpheme structure, phonotactics  
3. PIE stops  
4. PIE sibilant and resonants, laryngeals (I)  
5. PIE vowels and diphthongs, laryngeals (II)  
6. PIE noun inflexion  
7. Noun suffixes, internal derivation  
8. PIE verbal system: conjugation  
9. PIE verbal system: stem formation  
10. Exercises in PIE etymology

Course materials 
Course materials will be made available to the students before the start of the course.

Familiarity with languages with a case system; general knowledge of the principles of historical linguistics. All examples from non-Latin alphabets will be given in a Latin transcription.

Time slot 4: Introduction to Mycenaean (16.00-17.30)

Lucien van Beek (Leiden)

Course description
With texts from the 14th-12th c. BCE, Mycenaean is by far the oldest attested dialect of Greek. The documents themselves, written in 'Linear B', are remarkable for the direct access they give us to the workings of a palatial economy and its administrative system. From a linguistic point of view, Mycenaean is of great importance for reconstructing the linguistic prehistory of Greek.

The course starts with the peculiarities of Linear B writing, as well as the basic things that are known about Mycenaean grammar (phonology, morphology, lexicon). The language will be taught in a hands-on manner, by reading a selection of texts in class (partly in Linear B, partly in transliteration) with the help of a short grammar and word list. Throughout the course we will also pay attention to the linguistic relationship between Mycenaean and later Greek dialects, including Homeric Greek.

Knowledge of Ancient Greek.