The Place of Lydian in the Anatolian Family through the Lens of Recent Research
Ilya Yakubovich (Марбургский университет, Германия;
Journal of Language Relationship, № 20/3-4, 2022 - p.191-221
The Lydian language is traditionally classified as belonging to the Anatolian group of the Indo-European languages, but its further genetic and areal connections represent a subject of much debate. Recent advances in the synchronic interpretation of Lydian triggered the expression of radically opposing views on the filiation of this small-corpus language. While some scholars stress its isolated character within the Anatolian group, or even doubt its Anatolian character, others voice support for its membership in the Luwic subgroup (whose prominent members are Luwian, Lycian A, Lycian B, and Carian). As a rule, however, such claims are based on privileging particular aspects of the Lydian grammar. The goal of this paper is to provide a preliminary assessment of this controversy by way of summarizing the recent progress in Lydian linguistics and its phylogenetic implications. It is concluded that the hypothesis about the non-Anatolian origin of Lydian is rooted not in new empirical evidence but in attempts to dismiss some of the old etymologies without offering better alternatives. As for the new isoglosses linking Lydian and the Luwic languages, some of them are cogent, but their interpretation in terms of areal diffusion a ppears preferable to treating Lydian as a Luwic language.
Keywords: Lydian language, Anatolian languages, Luwic languages, linguistic phylogeny, homoplasy, areal diffusion