I'm currently data-mining an excellent article about a very obscure subject, that of Hattic grammar. The article is written by Petra Goedegebuure who gave it a rather verbose title: Central Anatolian languages and language communities in the colony period: A Luwian-Hattian symbiosis and the independent Hittites (2008). It's refreshing that the author has a mature grasp of the subtleties regarding cultural identity and language. Sometimes language shifts while the culture stays largely the same; sometimes culture may alter radically with no large changes to language. A question she explores is: Can certain peculiarities of the Hattic language hint at the specifics of complex, unrecorded shifts in language and culture/cultural identity between the Hattians and the Indo-European speaking population in early Anatolia?
She gives a wealth of thorough examples showing Hattic grammar in action and my eyes have been opened. More frivolously, I believe I can now partially conjugate a Hattic verb with a modest degree of confidence: fa-nifas 'I sit', u-nifas 'you sit', an-nifas 'he/she sits', ai-nifas 'we sit' and nifas '(they) sit'. There are a camp of linguists who believe that Hattic belongs with the Abkhaz-Adyghe languages that are currently restricted to the northern regions of the Caucasus mountains and I think this most likely.
A Proto-Cyprian connection?
While a few kooks carry on dreaming that Etruscan is actually related to Hattic, the two languages couldn't be any more alien to each other. Hattic is a prefixing language and exhibits an underlying VSO morphology (ie. verb-subject-object, as in Semitic and Egyptian languages) while Etruscan strictly uses suffixes. If there were any prefixes in Etruscan, we can expect them to be very rare, as is in fact typical of any SOV language (compare with other SOV languages like Inuktitut, Japanese and Turkish, for example). We can be certain then that the Cyprian languages, like Etruscan and Eteo-Cypriot, represented an entirely separate language group to Hattic.
Yet, there's still the potential that some traces of Hattian influence lurk in Etruscan through lexical and structural borrowings. Comparing the locations of Hattic (central Anatolia) and of Proto-Cyprian (western Anatolia & Cyprus) alone warrant the thought. And if not with Proto-Cyprian, could there have been an interaction with the older Proto-Aegean stage in the 3rd millennium BCE from which Minoan too would derive? This is why I've been feverishly recording Hattic vocabulary into my computer. Cross-correlation is delicious.