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Modality in Hittite
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Modality in Hittite

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Modality as a semantic phenomenon is almost unexplored in Hittite. Apart from work related to the... mehr
Modality in Hittite
Modality as a semantic phenomenon is almost unexplored in Hittite. Apart from work related to the reduced number of verbal moods, there exist some investigations of the origin and function of the particle (-)man, which combined with a verb in the indicative served the Hittites as a functional counterpart for thelacking inflectional subjunctive and optative. Moreover, modal functions of linguistic expressions are occasionally mentioned in the major reference works and in studies dealing with specific syntactic constructions, but an exhaustive description of the Hittite modal system remains to be made. As a first step towards this goal, the paper presents a list of Hittite modal expressions and identifies the kinds of modal meaning they indicate. Although far from complete, the list shows that Hittite had a sophisticated modal system with a body of modal expressions that were capable of conveying all kinds of modal meaning known to us from contemporary semantics. The fact that modality nonetheless often remains unexpressed in Hittite texts may therefore be seen not as a deficiency of the Hittite language but rather as a peculiarity of Hittite narrative procedures.