One of the oldest splits within Indo-European was between the Centum and Satem languages; they differ in what they did to the "accented velar" phonemes (like * and *ǵ).

However, if I understand right, the Anatolian languages split off some time before the Centum-Satem division happened.

So, what happened to "accented velars" in Anatolian?


Several points:
1. some people have put into question the distinction between the k, g, gh series (usually called "velars") and your "accented velars" *ḱ, *ǵ, *ǵh (usually called "palato-velars") in PIE. IMO this is hardly defensible, and the distinction is doubtless necessary.
2. the conventional view is that both velars and palato-velars become k or kk in Hittite. See for example Kloeckhorst's etymological dictionary of Hittite.
3. some people (like Pisani) have challenged that point of view. IMO there's indeed a problem with the conventional approach. And I rather believe that the so-called velars become spirants h and hh in Hittite.

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  • Fascinating! Do you have any examples of PIE *k, *g, or *gh becoming Hittite h or hh? If so, that would round out this answer nicely (and I'd happily accept it). – Draconis Nov 14 '19 at 15:52
  • for *k, a good example is "blood" *H1es-rk => Hittite eshar vs Old Indian asrk. I think we don't need to posit that Hittite is from *H1esH2r. If *k > h is accepted, then the equation is perfect. Another item is Hittite *huis- "to live", which can easily be derived from *gweyH- "to be alive". Of course, if we accept the spirantisation of velars in Hittite, it changes the picture of Hittite etymology. – Arnaud Fournet Nov 15 '19 at 7:23

Whether you believe that *k and *ḱ merged to a single phoneme in Anatolian, or that *k split into *k and *ḱ after the separation of Anatolian from IE - in both cases you will get the same result.

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  • Not quite the same result: the three-way distinction still discernible (just) in Luvian is best explained a merger within Anatolian (see Draconis’ new answer). – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 10 at 6:12

Melchert argues that the "plain velars" and "accented velars" remained distinct in Proto-Anatolian, because they show different reflexes in Luvian: *k becomes Luvian k, while * becomes Luvian z.

He cites as an example the Luvian pronoun zi- "this" from PIE *ḱis, cognate with Hittite ki-, Latin cis, OCS , English he, etc.

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  • The claim originated with Melchert (as far as I know), but I don’t think it’s really a case of just “Melchert argues” anymore – in my experience, most Indo-Europeanists accept the three-way distinction in Luvian nowadays. It seems as close to communis opinio as anything in Anatolian ever seems to get. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 10 at 6:11
  • @JanusBahsJacquet That's fair! In that case I'll probably move the accepted answer to this one—nothing against Fournet's answer, but if there's a decent scholarly consensus on this, that's what I was looking for. – Draconis May 10 at 16:51

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