Indo-Aryan words in Hurrian

Bjarte Kaldhol bjartekal at AH.TELIA.NO
Tue Nov 14 21:08:27 EST 2000

Dear listmembers,

Thanks to this information, kindly provided by Venkatraman Iyer, I can now
see that this issue was hotly debated by several listmembers about two
years ago. Sorry I missed it. One detail struck me: Michael Witzel keeps
referring to a name Priyamazdha which I cannot find anywhere. Michael, are
you referring to Biriamaza/Biruaza/Birwaza, mayor of Damascus, in EA? This
name cannot be read as Priyamazdha, I believe.

Also, I have noted some interesting words in the Kikkuli text. Among them
is tera- for *tri-, cited everywhere as tri- !!!. Kikkuli, if he was a
Hurrian, would have said what we read: tera-. We don't know where he had
learned this word and how it was pronounced in the original IA dialect, but
it would have ended in -a, not in -i, since -i is the normal ending of
numbers, as well as most nouns, in Hurrian, and there would be no reason to
Hurrianize it to -a. It is very likely that all Hurrian words started with
single consonants, so Kikkuli would not have been able to say tr-. The form
tera-, therefore, is not due to the clumsiness of the cuneiform writing.

Another word "corrected" by Kammenhuber is -ortan, a form of wartanna
occurring after tera-. Kammenhuber reads *tri-u(a)rtan<na> instead of what
is actually written: ti-e-ra-u-ur-tan, see Hippologia H. p. 90, line 37.
The inserted -u- would normally mean that this word should be read
teraordan, probably with a long -o-. Unless there is a printing error here,
with -u- instead of -u2- (which would have given *terawurtan) I am pretty
sure that Kikkuli said teraordan, with a long -o- and a voiced dental after
r. The expected -na inserted by Kammenhuber may have disappeared, since
short vowels at the end of Hurrian words tended to disappear, but the next
word is a-a-u2-za-mi-e-wa, so the ending of the previous word may simply
have been elided before the double a. This word, auzamewa (also auzumewa)
looks like the dative of an infinitive *auzumme, but Kammenhuber takes it
as a nominative/absolutive, which is hard to swallow if the word is
Hurrian. The intervocalic, single -z- is taken by Frederic Bush to
represent a voiced affricate -dz-. Possibly, however, it might represent
English -j-. When doubled, this letter would represent the corresponding
unvoiced consonant, -ts- or perhaps -ch- as in "church". There are
different opinions about this, but see Frederic Bush, A GRAMMAR OF HURRIAN,
p. 59.

The much debated *$itta does not exist. It is inferred from a word
$ittanna, whose meaning is not at all clear.

Best wishes,
Bjarte Kaldhol

> From: Venkatraman Iyer <venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: Indo-Aryan words in Hurrian
> Date: 15. november 2000 00:28
> Dear Dr. Kaldhol,
> Just clicking the following web pointers from Indology archives
> may be useful to you in the search of Aryan words in Hurrian.
> Carruba (email: ocarruba at paper will throw more
> light. Summary from a lister of Carruba?
> This is where Carruba presented first:
> Are these published in these proceedings of the volume?
> 10.00 - 10.25 Alexander Lubotsky (Leiden): The Vedic root v `to
> cover' and its present
> 9.00 -  9.50 Sektion B: Peter Raulwing / Robert Oberheid (Bonn):
> Der Kikkuli-Text und die Rolle der Indoarier im altorientalischen
> Fuhrwesen - Einige Bemerkungen zu neueren hippologischen und
> philologischen Interpretationen
> " on that word wasanna (Iranian *wazana "road") that the
> Aryan layer in Mitanni is closer to Iranian than Indo-Aryan.  A
> somewhat provocative conclusion, to be sure, but I'd say the
> linguistical basis for considering it specifically Indo-Aryan (aika-)
> is equally shaky."
> >Michael, ... Am I to interpret that as that you agree with me that the
> >element in Mitanni Hurrian is *Indo-Iranian* not necessarily Indo-Aryan
> >(after all, Proto-Indo-Iranian "1" may have been *aika, right?)?
> M. Witzel:
> > > At any rate, the form of the IIr language in Mitanni is pre-Vedic : >
> >IIr sounds are preserved, *zdh, in Priyamazda ::  Ved. priyamedha > ::
> >Avest. -mazda...
> Thus, in sum: "Mitanni-Aryan" has the pre-Vedic stage Also
> characterized by aika (not aiva, aivaka!). -az- is not found in Ved.
> any more. And that development has been used to build a whole new
> class of perfects. A wide gap separates the Mitanni and RV forms of
> IA. (implications for dating??)
> But before we accept it, we have to explain away somehow
> the fact that the "Mitanni Indo-Aryan" cannot be reduced just to
> several numerals in Kikkuli's manual and several divine names in a
> treaty, and there is also a number of personal names of Mittanian
> rulers and nobles which betray their Indo-Aryan origin. Of special
> significance are such names as bArdazwa, son of BiridAzwa, and Saumati
> - probably "son of Sumati" - the names demonstrating the specifically
> Indo-Aryan way of forming patronimics to personal names by lengthening
> a vowel of the first sillable of a composit name (cf. Indian
> *vArddgAzva from *vRddhAzva, or *saumati from sumati). One has also to
> explain the presense at that time in Mitanni and some neighbouring
> countries of people with such names as bIrasEna, indrota, artazzumara
> and so on.
> Quote from Harmatta leads Prof. Sn. Subrahmanya to claim:
> >Because of this evidence, I think that the dating of the Rgveda
> >to 1500-1200 is a gross underestimation.
> Prof. Drews on a late PIE breakup:
> Piotr's "why marianna isn't aristocracy"
> Prof. Vassilkov's personal note about Mitanni Aryans:
> I.M. Diakonoff, JAOS, 1995 (as given by Prof. S. Palaniappan)
> In "Two Recent Studies of Indo-Iranian Origins", JAOS, 115.3, (1995),
> p.474-475, Igor M. Diakonoff says,
> "Actually, there was no "Aryan" population or dynasty at Nuzi and
> Arraphe: all "Indo-Aryan" names which are registered in Nuzi Personal
> Names (whence they have been quoted by all subsequent scholars)
> belong  to one Mitannian detachment which fled to Arraphe (during
> a civil war in Mitanni) together with the pretender Sattiwasa, and
> which disappeared  together with him. Sattiwasa, alone in a single
> chariot, finally met the Hittite king and concluded a treaty with
> him (on the latter's consditions). This treaty is preserved  and is
> witnessed by a multitude of both Hittite and Hurrian gods; the four
> "Indo- Aryan" deities are mentioned near the very end of the huge
> list.
> Prof. Vassilkov's reply to Sn. Subrahmanya:
> Dr. S. Kalyanaraman concludes the Aristocracy was Aryan, as opposed to
> the ordinary Hurrians.
> " the vedic gods might have been added in to connote the
> gods'list of the nobility, while the Hurrian gods were those
> of the 'Hurri people'. "
> Regards,
> V. Iyer
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