"Jasanoff comes up with some of the strongest arguments yet made for assuming that Indo-European languages other than Hittite and Tocharian underwent a substantial period of common development, and this needs to be fitted into any model of the dispersal of the language family." James Clackson,Times Literary Supplement |d 05/03/2004This book reconciles what is known of the Proto-Indo-European verbal system with the evidence of Hittite and the other early Anatolian languages. The decipherment of Hittite in 1917 and the recognition that it was an Indo-European language had dramatic consequences for conceptions of theIndo-European parent language. For most of the twentieth century, attention focused on the peculiarities of Hittite phonology, especially the consonant h and its implications for the evolving laryngeal theory. Yet the morphological 'disconnects' between Hittite and the other early languages are moreprofound than the phonological differences. The Hittite verbal system lacks most of the familiar tense-aspect categories of Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. It also presents the novelty of the hi-conjugation, a purely formal conjugation class to which nearly half of all Hittite verbs belong. Repeatedattempts to explain the hi-conjugation on the basis of the classical model of the Proto-Indo-European verbal system have failed. The question is not whether the conventional picture of the parent language must be modified to account for the facts of Hittite, but how.In this outstanding book Professor Jasanoff puts forward a new and revolutionary model of the Proto-Indo-European verbal system that promises to have a major impact on Indo-European studies. His strikingly original synthesis, reflecting a quarter-century-long study of the problem, is the mostthorough and systematic attempt thus far to bridge the gap between Hittite and the other Indo-European languages.