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Abstract Häusler


This paper is dedicated to a special field of semantics - the creative usage of language signs, the creation of meanings under circumstances of language contact and the question where and how meaning is established in this kind of "language games". The background of the material will be found in the oldest attested Indo-European language showing methods and ways of the human brain, its mental interpretation processes connecting ontologies with meaning and last but not least hereby proofing creative language competence of man right from the beginning (i.e. the beginning of the history of written tradition in "our" language family).

In understanding semantics working with associations to spoken or written language signs we have to look at the use of these language signs and the constitution of meaning by the two (or more) partners in the communicative interaction. The use can be defined as a special one, demanding a higher level of language competence for in a 1st step ciphering an information by the writer/speaker and de-ciphering it in a 2nd step by the reader/listener. An even more complicated situation occurs in language contact, when two or more languages are used for coding such an information.

In our Hittite example such high competence is proved by the creative use of the Accadian cuneiform signs in combination with Sumerian ideograms in personal and place names in Hittite texts written as hybrid constructions, a convention, which can't find an explanation in a more economical stage of ideogramms - being in contrary more complex signs than cuneiform syllable signs.

An example using combining forces of the human mind is e.g. the king´s name in Hittite Hattušili written as GIŠPA-ši-DINGIRLIM. For interpreting the name the reader has to use a combination of the 3 languages. Sumerian GIŠPA meaning `stick´ is to be read as Accadian `stick´ hattu- having a similarity in sound to the capital of the Hittite empire `Hatti´ - followed by a phonetic complement Hittite -ši- and Sumerian DINGIR `god´ in Accadian reading ilu - similar to the suffix of affiliation in Hittite ili used in the very name. So the reader has to do several steps in de-ciphering: 1st reading the Sumerian Ideograms, 2nd translating them into Accadian and 3rd establishing a connection by sound similarity to Hittite.

Beyond that we have to deal with different cognitive processing strategies: on one hand the association of objects of the outer-linguistic reality - like e.g. "stick" - with its phonetic and semantic value, that can be translated into the 2nd languages and on the other hand the phono-morphological deformation of the language symbol and hereby adaption to the 3rd language involved.

This is interesting as it is a reverse process known and often described for the creative usage of language signs in "thieves' Latin", where people structure their world/important parts of their world through language and construct meanings in the following way: 1st that in semantisising processes a "mute" loan word gets an semantic transparent "inner form" in a associative-connotative frame or 2nd that by re-semantisising of the phonetic structure real metaphors are established often by activating an conventionalised sub-concept/element of the frame. Cf. in contrary in our case where we have a transparent lexem ilu `God´ which gets prima facie by deformation an opaque form ili as an autosemanticon because of its new state as a suffix or other part of the palette of word formation in the aimed language.

These procedures are found in the area of place names, too. Therefor the material of Hittite personal and place names is revised under the question of how these association work as a kind of language games between writer and reader where these de-ciphered signs get their meaning in the interaction between the two "players" (writer/reader).