Spring Seminar 2022

We are happy to let you know that the 2022 Spring Seminar in Indo-European Linguistics will take place on May 23-27.

This year, the Seminar will consist of 4 courses and 7 lectures which will all be held online, via zoom.us.

The courses focus on Greek and include:

  • an advanced course on the Homeric hexameter,
  • an introduction to Mycenaean Greek,
  • a discussion of the Graeco-Armenian Question,
  • and, an elaboration of the Graeco-Phrygian Hypothesis.

Conversely, the lectures cover a variety of research topics and include those in Indo-Uralic, Hittite, Italic, Palaeo-Balkan, Albanian and Old Persian as well as those in Indo-European Mythology.

You can find the detailed info (titles, abstracts, schedule, etc.) below.

The Seminar continues to be organised by the Department of Classics at the University of Belgrade.

We realise that the notice is a bit short this year but should you find some of the topics interesting, please feel free to apply!

The application and participation is free of charge.

You can apply by filling out the Application Form, preferably by May 20.

We would be very happy to have you! ✳️


Mon, May 23 202212:50‒13:00Opening
13:00‒14:30Lecture 1
Holopainen, Indo-Uralic: Problems with Phono-
logical Reconstruction and Methodological Issues
15:00‒16:30Lecture 2
Savić, The Umbrian Jupiter and his “Illyrian” Oak
17:00‒18:30Lecture 3
Brenko, The Hittite and the Anatolian Verb
19:00‒20:30Lecture 4
Mihaylova, The Paleo-Balkan Laryngeals
Tue, May 24 202213:00‒14:30Course 1
Ligorio, Homer’s Meter as an Instrument
of IE Etymology and Reconstruction
(Part I)
15:00‒16:30Course 2
Weber, Introduction to Mycenaean Greek (Part I)
17:00‒18:30Lecture 5
Repanšek, Issues in the Historical Phonology
of Old Persian
19:00‒20:30Course 4
Šorgo, Graeco-Phrygian Hypothesis (Part I)
Wed, May 25 202213:00‒14:30Course 1
Ligorio, Homer’s Meter as an Instrument
of IE Etymology and Reconstruction (Part II)
15:00‒16:30Course 2
Weber, Introduction to Mycenaean Greek (Part II)
17:00‒18:30Course 3
Batisti, Graeco-Armenian Question (Part I)
19:00‒20:30Course 4
Šorgo, Graeco-Phrygian Hypothesis (Part II)
Thu, May 26 202213:00‒14:30Course 1
Ligorio, Homer’s Meter as an Instrument
of IE Etymology and Reconstruction (Part III)
15:00‒16:30Course 2
Weber, Introduction to Mycenaean Greek (Part III)
17:00‒18:30Course 3
Batisti, Graeco-Armenian Question (Part II)
19:00‒20:30Course 4
Šorgo, Graeco-Phrygian Hypothesis (Part III)
Fri, May 27 202215:00‒16:30Lecture 6
Tolić, Four Hooves and a Horn:  How (Not)
to Poison Alexander the Great.
17:00‒18:30Course 3
Batisti, Graeco-Armenian Question (Part III)
19:00‒20:30Lecture 7
Božović, Albanian Historical Syntax vis-à-vis 
the Balkan Sprachbund. 

All times are GMT+2 = CEST, the Central European Summer Time.

Please take particular care of the time zone when saving the date!


Spring seminar will take place online only.



Once you have filled out the Application Form (see below), you will receive instructions on how to access the online lectures.

Start Date

Monday, May 23 2022.


Five days, i.e. Mon, May 23 2022 — Fri, May 27 2022.


The auditorium is open for participation.

If you are interested and would like to take part, you can register by using the Application Form. We would be very happy to have you join us!

Participation Fee

Participation is free of charge.


If you have any questions, you can contact the organizers at orsat.ligorio@gmail.com.

Course Abstracts

Homer’s Meter as an Instrument of Indo-European Etymology and Reconstruction. Orsat Ligorio, University of Belgrade.

Scattered throughout the Homeric hexameter, we find the many anomalies which affect practically every line of the Iliad and the Odyssey; these include metrical lengthening, metrical protraction, synizesis, epic correption, Attic correption, hidden position, false hiatus, etc. In this course we will show how some of the anomalies, and most frequently the hidden positions and the false hiatuses, can be instrumentalised and used to extract information of vital significance for the Indo-European Etymology and Reconstruction.

Introduction to Mycenaean Greek. Elia Weber, University of Jena.

Mycenaean is the earliest attested form of the Greek language. The administrative clay tablets attesting it date back to the Late Bronze Age and are written in the so-called Linear B script, which was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris. This introductory class gives a basic knowledge of the Linear B script and Mycenaean grammar. Starting from pictures of the original material, we will transliterate and read a few selected tablets. We will also discuss Mycenaean as an archaic Greek dialect and where it might be situated within the Greek dialectal landscape of the 2nd millennium BC.

Graeco-Armenian Question. Roberto Batisti, University of Bologna.

The course aims at giving an introduction to the Greco-Armenian question and its importance for Indo-European linguistics. Students will learn about the place of Armenian in the Indo-European famiy, its linguistic relationship with Greek, and the different theoretical positions with regard to the reconstruction of a ‘Greco-Armenian’ branch. We will focus on some especially interesting open research questions about phonological, morphological and lexical isoglosses potentially shared by both languages. Requirements: basic knowledge of Proto-Indo-European and Greek historical linguistics is helpful. As previous familiarity with Classical Armenian is not required, the course will start with a brief introduction to this fascinating language.

Graeco-Phrygian Hypothesis. Aljoša Šorgo, University of Leiden.

Abstract t.b.a. 

Lecture Abstracts

Indo-Uralic: Problems with Phonological Reconstruction and Methodological Issues. Sampsa Holopainen, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Among the hypotheses concerning the possible relationship of the Indo-European family with other language families, the Indo-Uralic hypothesis (the idea of a genealogical relationship between Indo-European and Uralic) is perhaps the most widely accepted. Possible evidence on the levels of phonology, morphology and lexicon has been suggested to support Indo-Uralic. However, the acceptance of the Indo-Uralic hypothesis varies greatly among scholars of both Indo-European and Uralic, and especially within the field of Uralic studies the idea does not find much support.

In this presentation some of the alleged sound-changes leading from Proto-Indo-Uralic to Proto-Indo-European are discussed critically through analysis of suggested Indo-Uralic etymologies. Through these examples it will also be shown what kind of methodological problems and challenges are involved in long-range comparison and why much of the evidence for Indo-Uralic remains inconclusive.

The Umbrian Jupiter and his “Illyrian” Oak. Danilo Savić, Universities of Paris and Belgrade.

In the Iguvine tablets, the expiation ritual of the city of Iguvium is dedicated to a triad of gods: Jupiter, Mars, and Uofion- (the functional equivalent of Quirinus). All three carry the epiclesis Grabovius, whose meaning and origin are obscure. An unusual set of cognates is frequently cited: Slavic *grabŭ/*grabrŭ ‘hornbeam’, Old Prussian wosi-grabis ‘spindle-tree’, “Greek” γράβιον ‘oakwood, torch’, and the Illyrian ethnonym Grabaei supposedly meaning ‘those of the oak’. Since oaks are sacred to Jupiter and other European storm gods, the similarity between these forms and Grabovius is probably not a coincidence. The comparison, however, does not tell us much about the function of Jupiter Grabovius. Furthermore, given the various Latin words for ‘oak’ (aesculus, ilex, quercus, robur), it has been suggested that the Umbrians borrowed Grabovius from another language – but the only candidate proposed so far is the elusive Illyrian language. In our analysis of Grabovius and related forms, we will slightly expand the list of cognates, particularly from the Baltic side, and show that the Umbrian epiclesis derives from a name of a separate divinity. The latter fact is supported by an etymological parallel in the Baltic pantheon.

The Hittite and Anatolian verb. Luka Brenko, Universit of Ljubljana.

In this lecture, we will take a look at the verbal system of Hittite generally (i. e. stem formation, morphosyntactic properties; as first comprehensively described by Oettinger 1979, but also the differences that can be observed when going from the Old Hittite to the New Hittite stage. We will then contrast Hittite with the verbal systems of the Anatolian languages of the Luwic group (recently described by Sasseville 2020). The attested Anatolian data and what can be said of its Proto-Anatolian reconstruction will then be considered in the Indo-European perspective and the current views of the problematic relationship between the verbal systems of Anatolian and Proto-Indo-European will be assessed.

The Paleo-Balkan Laryngeals. Bilyana Mihaylova & Albena Mircheva, University of Sofia.

In our talk we shall try to trace in detail the reflexes of the IE laryngeals in Pre-Greek (Pelasgian), Thracian, Daco-Moesian and Ancient Macedonian. The study isbased on the reliable and probable etymologies of the Paleo-Balkan vocabulary and aims to analyze and summarize the results obtained for the main Paleo-Balkan languages, taking into account all the studies to date. The conclusions drawn are an important testimony to the degree of phonetic (and genetic) similarity between the various Paleo-Balkan languages and in comparative terms their proximity to Greek.

Issues in the Historical Phonology of Old Persian. Luka Repanšek, University of Ljubljana.

In the lecture we will investigate some of the more recalcitrant problems of the historical phonology (and, whenever intimately connected to the latter, also orthography) of Old Persian (as the oldest attested variety of South Western Iranian), such as the developments limited to the word-final position, the problem of st vs. št, the problem of šč vs. č,the status of sm and zm etc.

Four Hooves and a Horn: How (Not) to Poison Alexander the Great. Isidora Tolić, University of Belgrade.

Several ancient authors tell a puzzling story of treason to murder Alexander the Great by presenting him with poison or poisonous water, carried in a curious vessel – a hoof of a horse, a mule or an ass. Quoting Kallimachos and Philo the Paradoxographer, Porphyry of Tyre gives us a reason to believe that the mention of hoof-made vessels was a misinterpretation of horn-made chalices, or put otherwise, drinking horns. We can look into the development of this legend and propose its origins by examining mutual features of two distinct traditions – the Greek legend of the river Styx and its lethal streams and the Indo-Iranian tradition of water-cleansing abilities of a unicorn’s horn, attested in Iranian, Indian and Greek sources. 

Albanian Historical Syntax vis-à-vis the Balkan Sprachbund. Đorđe Božović, University of Belgrade. 

In this lecture, we will examine the position of Albanian within the Balkan Sprachbund, using methods of formal syntactic analysis. In particular, applying notions from head movement and related phenomena, we will provide a comparative analysis of the position of clitics and verbs and the syntax of definiteness in Old and Modern Albanian, vis-à-vis other Balkan languages. Some general issues that will be touched upon include: how can insights from linguistic theory and typology inform historical reconstruction and our understanding of (morpho)syntactic change, and vice versa; and how can this help us in more securely dating the Sprachbund.

Time permitting, we will proceed to discuss how the Albanian data under consideration here relates to the classical Delbrück-Wackernagel model of PIE word order, in the light of novel findings from syntactic theory. In that way, we aim to fulfill Joseph’s (2011 and elsewhere) plea to approaching Albanian “in its three ʻpersonaeʼ, that is, as a member of the set of human languages, as a Balkan language, and as an Indo-European language”, i.e. combining insights from theoretical, comparative-historical, and areal linguistics, with a mutual informing of all three.

Some optional background readings:

  • Delbrück, Berthold (2009 [1900]). 2. Albanesisch. In Vergleichende Syntax der indogermanischen Sprachen, vol. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 75–76 (Kapitel XXXVIII. Stellung und Satzbetonung der Wörter, §30a. Das Verbum im Keltischen und Albanesischen).
  • Friedman, Victor A. (2005). Albanian in the Balkan linguistic league: A reconsideration of theoretical implications. Studia Albanica 28(1): 33–44.
  • Hamp, Eric P. (1982). The oldest Albanian syntagma. Balkansko ezikoznanie 25(1): 77–79.
  • Joseph, Brian D. (2001). Is Balkan comparative syntax possible? In María Luisa Rivero & Angela Ralli (eds.), Comparative syntax of Balkan languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 17–43.
  • Joseph, Brian D. (2011). The puzzle of Albanian po. In Eirik Welo (ed.), Indo-European syntax and pragmatics: contrastive approaches, Oslo Studies in Language 3(3): 27–40.
  • Rivero, María Luisa (1994). Clause structure and V-movement in the languages of the Balkans. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 12(1): 63–120.
  • Turano, Giuseppina (2000). On clitics and negation in Albanian. Rivista di grammatica generativa 25: 81–117.
  • Wackernagel, Jacob (2020 [1892]). On a law of Indo-European word order (Über ein Gesetz der indogermanischen Wortstellung, translated by George Walkden, Christina Sevdali & Morgan Macleod). Berlin: Language Science Press.