Lydian language

      one of the ancient Anatolian languages. Documents in Lydian number more than a hundred, including inscriptions on stone and coins and graffiti on various objects. The vast majority were found by American excavators in and around Sardis, the ancient Lydian capital. A few graffiti and coins may go back to the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, but most inscriptions date from the 5th and 4th centuries. Only a fraction of these texts are of significant length—and most of those are tomb inscriptions—but a few are decrees. Remarkably, several are in verse, with a stress-based metre and line-final vowel assonance (the repetition of the same vowel in the last syllable).

      A short Lydian-Aramaic (Aramaic language) bilingual text permitted the first penetration of the language, and linguist Piero Meriggi in 1936 was able to demonstrate the Indo-European character of Lydian and its affinity with Hittite (Hittite language) and Luwian (Luwian language). Analyses of the various features found within each Anatolian language and judicious comparisons among them established the basic grammar. The results were codified by Roberto Gusmani in 1964 in a combined lexicon (vocabulary), grammar, and text collection. One striking feature of Lydian is massive syncope (loss of interior sounds) and apocope (loss of final sounds), giving it a superficially very different appearance from its most immediate linguistic relatives.

      Lack of a Lydian-Greek bilingual text of substantial length has seriously impeded further progress in analyzing the language. Grasp of the lexicon is especially vague and tentative. It is at least clear that Lydian shares certain characterizing innovations with Hittite, Luwian, and Lycian (Lycian language) and belongs to the Anatolian group in the narrow sense.

H. Craig Melchert
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lydian language — For other uses, see Lydian (disambiguation). Lydian Spoken in Lydia Extinct 1st c. BC Language family Indo European Anatolian …   Wikipedia

  • Lydian — may refer to:* Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian script * Lydian mode, one of the modes derived from ancient Greek music * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydia, an ancient kingdom in western Anatolia * Lydian… …   Wikipedia

  • Lydian script — Infobox Writing system name=Lydian languages=Lydian language type=Alphabet time=700 200 BCE sample= imagesize=270px fam1=Greek alphabet sisters=Other Alphabets of Asia Minor iso15924=LydiLydian script was used to write the Lydian language. That… …   Wikipedia

  • Lydian — [lid′ēən] adj. 1. of Lydia or its people, language, or culture 2. a) soft; gentle; effeminate b) voluptuous; sensual n. 1. a person born or living in Lydia 2. the language spoken by the Lydians, an extinct Anatolian language …   English World dictionary

  • Lydian — noun Date: 15th century 1. a native or inhabitant of Lydia 2. an Anatolian language of the Indo European language family see Indo European languages table • Lydian adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Lydian — 1. noun a) A native or inhabitant of ancient Lydia. b) An extinct Indo European language in the Anatolian subgroup. 2. adjective …   Wiktionary

  • Lydian — adj. & n. n. 1 a native or inhabitant of ancient Lydia in W. Asia Minor. 2 the language of this people. adj. of or relating to the people of Lydia or their language. Phrases and idioms: Lydian mode Mus. the mode represented by the natural… …   Useful english dictionary

  • language — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) System of communication Nouns 1. language, tongue, lingo, vernacular, mother tongue, protolanguage; living or dead language; idiom, parlance, phraseology; wording; dialect, patois, cant, jargon, lingo,… …   English dictionary for students

  • language — Synonyms and related words: Abnaki, Afghan, Afghani, Afrikaans, Afro Asiatic, Ainu, Akan, Akkadian, Albanian, Aleut, Algonquian, Algonquin, Amharic, Anatolian, Anatolic, Andaman, Annamese, Anzanite, Apache, Arabic, Aramaic, Araucanian, Arawak,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Lydian — noun 1》 a native or inhabitant of the ancient region of Lydia in western Asia Minor. 2》 the extinct language of the Lydians. adjective relating to the Lydians or their language …   English new terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.