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Anatolia /
Also called: Asianic

1. Languages
2. Religions
Byzantine Empire
Ottoman Empire
1. Common characteristics
2. Challenges
3. History
4. Research history
Anatolian languages

3rd millennium-around 1300 BCE3rd millennium-around 1300 BCE


Last centuries 3rd millennium-around 1200 BCELast centuries 3rd millennium-around 1200 BCE


Before 2000-200 BCEBefore 2000-200 BCE


Before 2000-15th century BCEBefore 2000-15th century BCE


Beginning 19th century-around 1000 BCEBeginning 19th century-around 1000 BCE


Ca. 1200 BCE-200 CE


Before 9th century-after 6th century BCEBefore 9th century-after 6th century BCEBefore 9th century-after 6th century BCE


Before 800-1st centruy BCEBefore 800-1st centruy BCE


Before year 800-1st century BCEBefore year 800-1st century BCE


8th century BCE-4th century CE


Before 5th century-2nd century BCEBefore 5th century-2nd century BCE


Languages of Anatolia, the territory largely corresponding to modern Turkey. The term, Anatolian Languages, is established to denote extinct languages, mainly the period from before 2000 BCE until the centuries around year 0. But since this period, many indigenous languages existed after this, and even today there are substantial unique languages for Anatolia.
What motives this dating is that prior to around 2000 BCE we have very little data to reconstruct the languages that for certain was spoken in Anatolia. In the time around year 0, Greek entered Anatolia, causing great changes for Anatolian languages, especially with the emergence of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century CE.
The development of Anatolian languages have come by several waves of immigration to the region, spanning all historical periods. Considering the oldest languages we know anything about, these were not Indo-European. Among the oldest languages of Anatolia is Hattic and Hurrian. But some 4000 years ago, several Indo-European peoples immigrated, some settling in regions with few or no inhabitants, while others came as conquerors. Immigrants brought with them, but also developed locally, language like Hittite, Palaic and Luwian.
Around and after 1000 BCE many changes in languages came about, new languages replaced the old. In the extreme east Hurrian disappeared, and Urartian emerged. In more central parts of Anatolia, Lydian and Lycian emerged. More on the outside the strong states, Carian and Sidetic emerged through the 1st millennium BCE.
Anatolian languages do not make up group of related languages. Hattic is unrelated to Hittite, as well as Hurrian. Inside the Kizil river, the variants of Hittite and Palaic would be greatly influenced by Hattic.

Common characteristics
Anatolian languages share a number of common characteristics. Like the fact that there was no feminine gender. Also, dual form was not used, only singular or plural; contrary to many other contemporary languages. The verbal system had only two moods, indicative and imperative, and only two tenses, present and preterite. By adding a suffix to a verb, a new verbs were formed, with meanings similar but more intense or iterative compared to the original.
Anatolian languages did not use the vowel 'o', in most cases these were the only vowels used: a; e; i; and u.

The determining of several Anatolian languages being Indo-European was based on both the nominal declension and the verbal conjugation. The languages had a nominative ending in -s, the accusative in -n, verbal endings like -ti and -nti for the 3rd person singular and plural of the present tense, and an imperative form like estu "let it be".
Considering the geography of Anatolia, as well as the presence of several languages even in modern times, it is more than likely that there were numerous languages that have not been identified. Some never developed a written language, some have produced inscriptions that have not survived until modern times, or that were too few in number to help the reconstruction of a language. Among languages that are mentioned, but which is not identified as independent languages, is Kaneshite. This is often suggested to be the same as Hittite.

Around 2000 BCE: Assumed immigration of Indo-European speakers.
1190: Invasion of the Phrygians, speaking an Indo-European language, but different from the other Anatolian.
7th and 6th centuries: Armenian immigration to the Urartian lands in the east.
6th and 5th centuries: Persian immigration eastern and northeastern Anatolia.
5th and 4th centuries: Invasion of Greeks, who would come to dominate greatly Anatolian languages.

Research history
1820's: First research on Anatolian languages, dealing with Lycian, later Luwian (in its hieroglyphic variant).
1900's Research into the Arzawa letters (found in Tell el-Amarna, Egypt), written in Hittite.
1915: It is finally suggested that the languages researched were Indo-European.

By Tore Kjeilen