Although it is usually stated that nothing is known about the accentuation of Hittite (spoken in Anatolia from 1650-1180 BC, written in cuneiform), in the last decades various bits and pieces of information about its accentual system have come about. Nevertheless, so far no one has stitched these together into a unified accentological description. This is an important lacuna since within the Indo-European language family, to which Hittite belongs, only four languages are known to have preserved traces of the original accentuation of the Proto-Indo-European mother language. The accentual evidence from Hittite would therefore considerably enrich our knowledge of the Proto-Indo-European state of affairs. This project aims to fill this gap by presenting a detailed description of the Hittite accentual system, focusing on the following points: a. the place of the accent: criteria will be established by which the place of the accent can be determined, and on this basis a word list will be compiled where the accentuation of individual words will be indicated; accentual patterns in word classes will be described. b. the nature of the accent: by typological analysis of the accent governed consonant gradation in Hittite, the possible phonetic realization of the Hittite accent (stress, pitch or tone) will be assessed. c. the Hittite accentuation in the light of its Proto-Indo-European origin: by comparing the newly gained accentological evidence from Hittite with that from the other four Indo-European languages that bear witness to the Proto-Indo-European system of accentuation (viz. Greek, Sanskrit, Balto-Slavic and Germanic), archaisms and innovations in these systems will be determined. This project will not only improve our knowledge of Hittite grammar and phonology, but is also of major importance for the study of the Indo-European accent and for general theory concerning historical phonology and accentological typology.
Ondanks dat het Hittitisch al meer dan drieduizend jaar een dode taal is, geven de spijkerschrifttekens waarin het is opgeschreven allerlei aanwijzingen over hoe het precies uitgesproken werd. Het enige dat we nog niet weten is waar de klemtoon in het Hittitisch lag. Dit onderzoek probeert het laatste stukje van deze uitdagende puzzel te vinden.