The Info List - Akkadian

(/əˈkeɪdiən/ akkadû, 𒀝𒅗𒁺𒌑 ak-ka-du-u2; logogram: 𒌵𒆠 URIKI )[2][3] is an extinct East Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia
(Akkad, Assyria, Isin, Larsa and Babylonia) from the 30th century BC until its gradual replacement by Akkadian-influenced Eastern Aramaic among Mesopotamians between the 8th century BC and its final extinction by the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. It is the earliest attested Semitic language,[4] and used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write the unrelated, and also extinct, Sumerian (which is a language isolate). Akkadian
was named after the city of Akkad, a major centre of Mesopotamian civilization during the Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
(c. 2334–2154 BC), but the language itself precedes the founding of Akkad by many centuries, being first attested in the 29th century BC. The mutual influence between Sumerian and Akkadian
had led scholars to describe the languages as a sprachbund.[5] Akkadian
proper names were first attested in Sumerian texts from around the mid 3rd-millennium BC.[6] From the second half of the third millennium BC (c. 2500 BC), texts fully written in Akkadian
begin to appear. Hundreds of thousands of texts and text fragments have been excavated to date, covering a vast textual tradition of mythological narrative, legal texts, scientific works, correspondence, political and military events, and many other examples. By the second millennium BC, two variant forms of the language were in use in Assyria
and Babylonia, known as Assyrian and Babylonian respectively. For centuries, Akkadian
was the native language in Mesopotamian nations such as Assyria
and Babylonia. Because of the might of various Mesopotamian empires, such as the Akkadian
Empire, Old Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire, and Middle Assyrian Empire, Akkadian
became the lingua franca of much of the Ancient Near East. However, it began to decline during the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
around the 8th century BC, being marginalized by Aramaic
during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III. By the Hellenistic period, the language was largely confined to scholars and priests working in temples in Assyria
and Babylonia. The last known Akkadian cuneiform
Akkadian cuneiform
document dates from the 1st century AD. Neo-Mandaic spoken by the Mandeans
of Iraq
and Iran
and Assyrian Neo- Aramaic
spoken by the Assyrian people
Assyrian people
of northern Iraq, southeast Turkey, northeast Syria
and northwest Iran, are two of the few modern Semitic languages
Semitic languages
that contain some Akkadian
vocabulary and grammatical features.[7][8][9] Akkadian
is an inflected language with grammatical cases; and like all Semitic languages, Akkadian
uses the system of consonantal roots.


1 Classification 2 History and writing

2.1 Writing 2.2 Development 2.3 Decipherment 2.4 Dialects

3 Phonetics and phonology

3.1 Consonants 3.2 Reconstruction 3.3 Descent from Proto-Semitic 3.4 Vowels 3.5 Stress

4 Grammar

4.1 Morphology

4.1.1 Consonantal root 4.1.2 Case, number and gender 4.1.3 Noun states and nominal sentences 4.1.4 Verbal morphology Verb aspects Verb moods Verb patterns

4.2 Stative 4.3 Derivation 4.4 Pronouns

4.4.1 Personal pronouns Independent personal pronouns Suffixed (or enclitic) pronouns

4.4.2 Demonstrative pronouns 4.4.3 Relative pronouns 4.4.4 Interrogative pronouns

4.5 Prepositions 4.6 Numerals 4.7 Syntax

4.7.1 Nominal phrases 4.7.2 Sentence syntax

5 Vocabulary 6 Sample text 7 Akkadian
literature 8 Notes 9 Sources 10 Further reading

10.1 General description and grammar 10.2 Textbooks 10.3 Dictionaries 10.4 Akkadian
cuneiform 10.5 Technical literature on specific subjects

11 External links

Classification[edit] Akkadian
belongs with the other Semitic languages
Semitic languages
in the Near Eastern branch of the Afroasiatic languages, a family native to the Middle East, Arabian peninsula, parts of Asia Minor, North Africa, Malta, Canary Islands
Canary Islands
and then spread to the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
by the 8th century BC, which then later spread further to parts of West Africa (Hausa). Akkadian
and its successor Aramaic
however are only ever attested in Mesopotamia
and the Near East. Within the Near Eastern Semitic languages, Akkadian
forms an East Semitic subgroup (with Eblaite). This group distinguishes itself from the Northwest and South Semitic languages
Semitic languages
by its subject–object–verb, while the other Semitic languages
Semitic languages
usually have either a verb–subject–object or subject–verb–object order. This novel word order is due to the influence of the Sumerian substratum, which has an SOV order. Additionally Akkadian
is the only Semitic language
Semitic language
to use the prepositions ina and ana (locative case, English in/on/with, and dative-locative case, for/to, respectively). Other Semitic languages like Arabic
and Aramaic
have the prepositions bi/bə and li/lə (locative and dative, respectively). The origin of the Akkadian spatial prepositions is unknown. In contrast to most other Semitic languages, Akkadian
has only one non-sibilant fricative: ḫ [x]. Akkadian
lost both the glottal and pharyngeal fricatives, which are characteristic of the other Semitic languages. Until the Old Babylonian period, the Akkadian
sibilants were exclusively affricated.[3] History and writing[edit] Writing[edit] Main article: Akkadian

writing (Neoassyrian script) (1 = Logogram
(LG) "mix"/syllabogram (SG) ḫi, 2 = LG "moat", 3 = SG aʾ, 4 = SG aḫ, eḫ, iḫ, uḫ, 5 = SG kam, 6 = SG im, 7 = SG bir)

Old Akkadian
is preserved on clay tablets dating back to c. 2500 BC. It was written using cuneiform, a script adopted from the Sumerians using wedge-shaped symbols pressed in wet clay. As employed by Akkadian
scribes, the adapted cuneiform script could represent either (a) Sumerian logograms (i.e., picture-based characters representing entire words), (b) Sumerian syllables, (c) Akkadian
syllables, or (d) phonetic complements. However, in Akkadian
the script practically became a fully fledged syllabic script, and the original logographic nature of cuneiform became secondary, though logograms for frequent words such as 'god' and 'temple' continued to be used. For this reason, the sign AN can on the one hand be a logogram for the word ilum ('god') and on the other signify the god Anu
or even the syllable -an-. Additionally, this sign was used as a determinative for divine names. Another peculiarity of Akkadian cuneiform
Akkadian cuneiform
is that many signs do not have a well-defined phonetic value. Certain signs, such as AḪ, do not distinguish between the different vowel qualities. Nor is there any coordination in the other direction; the syllable -ša-, for example, is rendered by the sign ŠA, but also by the sign NĪĜ. Both of these are often used for the same syllable in the same text. Cuneiform
was in many ways unsuited to Akkadian: among its flaws was its inability to represent important phonemes in Semitic, including a glottal stop, pharyngeals, and emphatic consonants. In addition, cuneiform was a syllabary writing system—i.e., a consonant plus vowel comprised one writing unit—frequently inappropriate for a Semitic language
Semitic language
made up of triconsonantal roots (i.e., three consonants plus any vowels). Development[edit] Akkadian
is divided into several varieties based on geography and historical period:[10]

Old Akkadian, 2500–1950 BC Old Babylonian/Old Assyrian, 1950–1530 BC Middle Babylonian/Middle Assyrian, 1530–1000 BC Neo-Babylonian/Neo-Assyrian, 1000–600 BC Late Babylonian, 600 BC–100 AD

One of the earliest known Akkadian
inscriptions was found on a bowl at Ur, addressed to the very early pre-Sargonic king Meskiagnunna of Ur (c. 2485–2450 BC) by his queen Gan-saman, who is thought to have been from Akkad.[11] The Akkadian
Empire, established by Sargon of Akkad, introduced the Akkadian
language (the "language of Akkad") as a written language, adapting Sumerian cuneiform orthography for the purpose. During the Middle Bronze Age
Bronze Age
(Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian period), the language virtually displaced Sumerian, which is assumed to have been extinct as a living language by the 18th century BC. Old Akkadian, which was used until the end of the 3rd millennium BC, differs from both Babylonian and Assyrian, and was displaced by these dialects. By the 21st century BC Babylonian and Assyrian, which were to become the primary dialects, were easily distinguishable. Old Babylonian, along with the closely related dialect Mariotic, is clearly more innovative than the Old Assyrian dialect and the more distantly related Eblaite language. For this reason, forms like lu-prus ('I will decide') are first encountered in Old Babylonian instead of the older la-prus (even though it was archaic compared to Akkadian). On the other hand, Assyrian developed certain innovations as well, such as the "Assyrian vowel harmony" (which is not comparable to that found in Turkish or Finnish). Eblaite is even more archaic, retaining a productive dual and a relative pronoun declined in case, number and gender. Both of these had already disappeared in Old Akkadian. Old Babylonian was the language of king Hammurabi
and his code, which is one of the oldest collections of laws in the world. (see Code of Ur-Nammu.) The Middle Babylonian (or Assyrian) period started in the 16th century BC. The division is marked by the Kassite invasion of Babylonia
around 1550 BC. The Kassites, who reigned for 300 years, gave up their own language in favor of Akkadian, but they had little influence on the language. At its apogee, Middle Babylonian was the written language of diplomacy of the entire ancient Orient, including Egypt. During this period, a large number of loan words were included in the language from North West Semitic languages
Semitic languages
and Hurrian; however, the use of these words was confined to the fringes of the Akkadian
speaking territory. Middle Assyrian served as a lingua franca in much of the Ancient Near East of the Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
(Amarna Period). During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Neo-Assyrian
began to turn into a chancellery language, being marginalized by Old Aramaic. Under the Achaemenids, Aramaic
continued to prosper, but Assyrian continued its decline. The language's final demise came about during the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
when it was further marginalized by Koine Greek, even though Neo-Assyrian
cuneiform remained in use in literary tradition well into Parthian times. The latest known text in cuneiform Babylonian is an astronomical text dated to 75 AD.[12] The youngest texts written in Akkadian
date from the 3rd century AD.

An Akkadian

Old Assyrian developed as well during the second millennium BC, but because it was a purely popular language — kings wrote in Babylonian — few long texts are preserved. From 1500 BC onwards, the language is termed Middle Assyrian. During the first millennium BC, Akkadian
progressively lost its status as a lingua franca. In the beginning, from around 1000 BC, Akkadian and Aramaic
were of equal status, as can be seen in the number of copied texts: clay tablets were written in Akkadian, while scribes writing on papyrus and leather used Aramaic. From this period on, one speaks of Neo-Babylonian
and Neo-Assyrian. Neo-Assyrian
received an upswing in popularity in the 10th century BC when the Assyrian kingdom became a major power with the Neo-Assyrian
Empire, but texts written 'exclusively' in Neo-Assyrian
disappear within 10 years of Nineveh's destruction in 612 BC. After the end of the Mesopotamian kingdoms, which fell due to the Persian conquest of the area, Akkadian
(which existed solely in the form of Late Babylonian) disappeared as a popular language. However, the language was still used in its written form; and even after the Greek invasion under Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
in the 4th century BC, Akkadian
was still a contender as a written language, but spoken Akkadian
was likely extinct by this time, or at least rarely used. The latest positively identified Akkadian
text comes from the 1st century AD.[13] Decipherment[edit]

Georg Friedrich Grotefend

Edward Hincks

Sir Henry Rawlinson

The Akkadian
language began to be rediscovered when Carsten Niebuhr
Carsten Niebuhr
in 1767 was able to make extensive copies of cuneiform texts and published them in Denmark. The deciphering of the texts started immediately, and bilinguals, in particular Old Persian-Akkadian bilinguals, were of great help. Since the texts contained several royal names, isolated signs could be identified, and were presented in 1802 by Georg Friedrich Grotefend. By this time it was already evident that Akkadian
was a Semitic language, and the final breakthrough in deciphering the language came from Edward Hincks, Henry Rawlinson and Jules Oppert
Jules Oppert
in the middle of the 19th century. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago recently completed a 21 volume dictionary of the Akkadian
language, which is available commercially and online.[14]

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh
epic in Akkadian.

Dialects[edit] The following table summarises the dialects of Akkadian
identified with certainty so far.

Known Akkadian

Dialect Location

Assyrian Northern Mesopotamia

Babylonian Central and Southern Mesopotamia

Mariotic Central Euphrates
(in and around the city of Mari)

Tell Beydar Northern Syria
(in and around Tell Beydar)

Some researchers (such as W. Sommerfeld 2003) believe that the Old Akkadian
variant used in the older texts is not an ancestor of the later Assyrian and Babylonian dialects, but rather a separate dialect that was replaced by these two dialects and which died out early. Eblaite, formerly thought of as yet another Akkadian
dialect, is now generally considered a separate East Semitic language. Phonetics and phonology[edit] Because Akkadian
as a spoken language is extinct and no contemporary descriptions of the pronunciation are known, little can be said with certainty about the phonetics and phonology of Akkadian. Some conclusions can be made, however, due to the relationship to the other Semitic languages
Semitic languages
and variant spellings of Akkadian
words. Consonants[edit] The following table gives the consonant sounds distinguished in the Akkadian
use of cuneiform, with the presumed pronunciation in IPA transcription according to Huehnergard and Woods,[3] which most closely corresponds to recent reconstructions of Proto-Semitic phonology. The parenthesised symbol following is the transcription used in the literature, in the cases where that symbol is different from the phonetic symbol. This transcription has been suggested for all Semitic languages
Semitic languages
by the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (DMG), and is therefore known as DMG-Umschrift.

consonantal phonemes

Labial Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasal m n

Plosive voiceless p t

k ʔ ⟨ʾ⟩

voiced b d



tʼ ⟨ṭ⟩

kʼ ⟨q⟩

Fricative voiceless

s ~ ʃ ⟨š⟩ x ⟨ḫ⟩


ɣ ~ ʁ ⟨r⟩

Affricate voiceless

t͡s ⟨s⟩


d͡z ⟨z⟩


t͡s’ ⟨ṣ⟩


l j ⟨y⟩ w

Reconstruction[edit] Akkadian
emphatic consonants are typically reconstructed as ejectives, which are thought to be the oldest realization of emphatics across the Semitic languages.[15] For the sibilants, traditionally /š/ has been held to be postalveolar [ʃ], and /s/, /z/, /ṣ/ analyzed as fricatives; but attested assimilations in Akkadian
suggest otherwise.[3][16] For example, when the possessive suffix -šu is added to the root awat ('word'), it is written awassu ('his word') even though šš would be expected. The most straightforward interpretation of this shift from tš to ss is that /s, ṣ/ form a pair of voiceless alveolar affricates [t͡s t͡sʼ], *š is a voiceless alveolar fricative [s], and *z is a voiced alveolar affricate or fricative [d͡z~z]. The assimilation is then [awat+su] > [awatt͡su]. In this vein, an alternative transcription of *š is *s̠, with the macron below indicating a soft (lenis) articulation in Semitic transcription. Other interpretations are possible, however. [ʃ] could have been assimilated to the preceding [t], yielding [ts], which would later have been simplified to [ss]. The phoneme /r/ has traditionally been interpreted as a trill but its pattern of alternation with /ḫ/ suggests it was a velar (or uvular) fricative. In the Hellenistic period, Akkadian
/r/ was transcribed using the Greek ρ, indicating it was pronounced similarly as an alveolar trill (though Greeks may also have perceived a uvular trill as ρ).[3] Descent from Proto-Semitic[edit] Several Proto-Semitic
phonemes are lost in Akkadian. The Proto-Semitic glottal stop *ʾ, as well as the fricatives *ʿ, *h, *ḥ are lost as consonants, either by sound change or orthographically, but they gave rise to the vowel quality e not exhibited in Proto-Semitic. The voiceless lateral fricatives (*ś, *ṣ́) merged with the sibilants as in Canaanite, leaving 19 consonantal phonemes. Old Akkadian preserved the /*ś/ phoneme longest but it eventually merged with /*š/, beginning in the Old Babylonian period.[3][17] The following table shows Proto-Semitic
phonemes and their correspondences among Akkadian, Modern Standard Arabic
and Tiberian Hebrew:

Proto-Semitic Akkadian Arabic Hebrew

*b b ب b ב b

*d d د d ד d

*g g ج ǧ ג g

*p p ف f פ p

*t t ت t ת t

*k k ك k כ k

*ʾ (Ø)/ ʾ ء ʾ א ʾ

*ṭ ṭ ط ṭ ט ṭ

*ḳ q ق q ק q

*ḏ z ذ ḏ ז z

*z ز z

*ṯ š ث ṯ שׁ š

*š س s

*ś ش š שׂ ś

*s s س s ס s

*ṱ ṣ ظ ẓ צ ṣ

*ṣ ص ṣ

*ṣ́ ض ḍ

*ġ ḫ غ ġ ע ʿ [ʕ]

*ʿ (e) [t2 1] ع ʿ [ʕ]

*ḫ ḫ خ ḫ [x] ח ḥ

*ḥ (e) [t2 1] ح ḥ [ħ]

*h (Ø) ه h ה h

*m m م m מ m

*n n ن n נ n

*r r ر r ר r

*l l ل l ל l

*w w و w ו י w y

*y y ي y [j] י y

Proto-Semitic Akkadian Arabic Hebrew

^ a b These are only distinguished from the Ø (zero) reflexes of /h/ and /ʾ/ by /e/-coloring the adjacent vowel *a, e.g. PS *ˈbaʿ(a)l-um ('owner, lord') → Akk. bēlu(m) (Dolgopolsky 1999, p. 35).



Front Central Back

Closed i


Mid e



The existence of a back mid-vowel /o/ has been proposed, but the cuneiform writing gives no good proof for this.[18] There is limited contrast between different u-signs in lexical texts, but this scribal differentiation may reflect the superimposition of the Sumerian phonological system (for which an /o/ phoneme has also been proposed), rather than a separate phoneme in Akkadian.[19] All consonants and vowels appear in long and short forms. Long consonants are represented in writing as double consonants, and long vowels are written with a macron (ā, ē, ī, ū). This distinction is phonemic, and is used in the grammar, for example iprusu ('that he decided') versus iprusū ('they decided'). Stress[edit] The stress patterns of Akkadian
are disputed, with some authors claiming that nothing is known of the topic. There are however certain points of reference, such as the rule of vowel syncope (see the next paragraph), and some forms in the cuneiform that might represent the stressing of certain vowels; however, attempts at identifying a rule for stress have so far been unsuccessful. Huenergard (2005:3-4) claims that stress in Akkadian
is completely predictable. In his syllable typology there are three syllable weights: light (V, CV); heavy (CVC, CV̄, CV̂), and superheavy (CV̂C). If the last syllable is superheavy, it is stressed, otherwise the rightmost heavy syllable is stressed. If a word contains only light syllables, the first syllable is stressed. A rule of Akkadian
phonology is that certain short (and probably unstressed) vowels are dropped. The rule is that the last vowel of a succession of syllables that end in a short vowel is dropped, for example the declinational root of the verbal adjective of a root PRS is PaRiS-. Thus the masculine singular nominative is PaRS-um (< *PaRiS-um) but the feminine singular nominative is PaRiStum (< *PaRiS-at-um). Additionally there is a general tendency of syncope of short vowels in the later stages of Akkadian. Grammar[edit] Morphology[edit] Consonantal root[edit] Most roots of the Akkadian
language consist of three consonants (called the radicals), but some roots are composed of four consonants (so-called quadriradicals). The radicals are occasionally represented in transcription in upper-case letters, for example PRS (to decide). Between and around these radicals various infixes, suffixes and prefixes, having word generating or grammatical functions, are inserted. The resulting consonant-vowel pattern differentiates the original meaning of the root. Also, the middle radical can be geminated, which is represented by a doubled consonant in transcription (and sometimes in the cuneiform writing itself). The consonants ʔ, w, j and n are termed "weak radicals" and roots containing these radicals give rise to irregular forms. Case, number and gender[edit] Formally, Akkadian
has three numbers (singular, dual and plural) and three cases (nominative, accusative and genitive). However, even in the earlier stages of the language, the dual number is vestigial, and its use is largely confined to natural pairs (eyes, ears, etc.), and adjectives are never found in the dual. In the dual and plural, the accusative and genitive are merged into a single oblique case. Akkadian, unlike Arabic, but like Hebrew, has only "sound" plurals formed by means of a plural ending (i.e. no broken plurals formed by changing the word stem). As in all Semitic languages, some masculine nouns take the prototypically feminine plural ending (-āt). The nouns šarrum (king), šarratum (queen) and the adjective dannum (strong) will serve to illustrate the case system of Akkadian.

Noun and adjective paradigms

Noun (masc.) Noun (fem.) Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)

Nominative singular šarr-um šarr-at-um dann-um dann-at-um

Genitive singular šarr-im šarr-at-im dann-im dann-at-im

Accusative singular šarr-am šarr-at-am dann-am dann-at-am

Nominative dual šarr-ān šarr-at-ān

Oblique dual [t3 1] šarr-īn šarr-at-īn

Nominative plural šarr-ū šarr-āt-um dann-ūt-um dann-āt-um

Oblique plural šarr-ī šarr-āt-im dann-ūt-im dann-āt-im

^ The oblique case includes the accusative and genitive.

As is clear from the above table, the adjective and noun endings differ only in the masculine plural. Certain nouns, primarily those referring to geography, can also form a locative ending in -um in the singular and the resulting forms serve as adverbials. These forms are generally not productive, but in the Neo-Babylonian
the um-locative replaces several constructions with the preposition ina. In the later stages of Akkadian
the mimation (word-final -m) - along with nunation (dual final "-n") - that occurs at the end of most case endings has disappeared, except in the locative. Later, the nominative and accusative singular of masculine nouns collapse to -u and in Neo-Babylonian
most word-final short vowels are dropped. As a result, case differentiation disappeared from all forms except masculine plural nouns. However many texts continued the practice of writing the case endings (although often sporadically and incorrectly). As the most important contact language throughout this period was Aramaic, which itself lacks case distinctions, it is possible that Akkadian's loss of cases was an areal as well as phonological phenomenon. Noun states and nominal sentences[edit] As is also the case in other Semitic languages, Akkadian
nouns may appear in a variety of "states" depending on their grammatical function in a sentence. The basic form of the noun is the status rectus (the governed state), which is the form as described above, complete with case endings. In addition to this, Akkadian
has the status absolutus (the absolute state) and the status constructus (Construct state). The latter is found in all other Semitic languages, while the former appears only in Akkadian
and some dialects of Aramaic. The status absolutus is characterised by the loss of a noun's case ending (e.g. awīl < awīlum, šar < šarrum). It is relatively uncommon, and is used chiefly to mark the predicate of a nominal sentence, in fixed adverbial expressions, and in expressions relating to measurements of length, weight, and the like. (1) Awīl-um šū šarrāq

Awīl-um šū šarrāq.

Man (Masculine, nominative) he (3rd masc. personal pronoun) thief (status absolutus)

Translation: This man is a thief (2) šarrum lā šanān

šarr-um lā šanān.

King (Status rectus, nominative) not (negative particle) oppose (verbal infinitive, status absolutus)

Translation: The king who cannot be rivaled The status constructus is a great deal more common, and has a much wider range of applications. It is employed when a noun is followed by another noun in the genitive, a pronominal suffix, or a verbal clause in the subjunctive, and typically takes the shortest form of the noun which is phonetically possible. In general, this amounts to the loss of case endings with short vowels, with the exception of the genitive -i in nouns preceding a pronominal suffix, hence: (3) māri-šu


Son (status constructus) + his (3rd person singular possessive pronoun

Translation: His son, its (masculine) son but (4) mār šarr-im

mār šarr-im

Son (Status constructus) king (genitive singular)

Translation: The king's son There are numerous exceptions to this general rule, usually involving potential violations of the language's phonological limitations. Most obviously, Akkadian
does not tolerate word final consonant clusters, so nouns like kalbum (dog) and maḫrum (front) would have illegal construct state forms *kalb and *maḫr unless modified. In many of these instances, the first vowel of the word is simply repeated (e.g. kalab, maḫar). This rule, however, does not always hold true, especially in nouns where a short vowel has historically been elided (e.g. šaknum < *šakinum "governor"). In these cases, the lost vowel is restored in the construct state (so šaknum yields šakin). (5) kalab belim

kalab bel-im

dog (Status constructus) master (genitive singular)

Translation: The master's dog (6) šakin ālim

šakin āl-im

Governor (Status constructus) city (genitive singular)

A genitive relation can also be expressed with the relative preposition ša, and the noun that the genitive phrase depends on appears in status rectus. (7) salīmātum ša awīl Ešnunna

salīmātum ša awīl Ešnunna

Alliances (Status rectus, nominative) which (relative particle) man (status constructus) Ešnunna (genitive, unmarked)

Translation: The alliances of the Ruler of Ešnunna (literally "Alliances which man of Ešnunna (has)") The same preposition is also used to introduce true relative clauses, in which case the verb is placed in the subjunctive mood. (7) awīl-um ša māt-am i-kšud-Ø-u

Awīl-um ša māt-am i-kšud-Ø-u

Man (Masculine, nominative) that (relative pronoun) land (singular, accusative) 3rd person - conquer (preterite) - singular, masculine - subjunctive

Translation: The man who conquered the land Verbal morphology[edit] Verb aspects[edit] The Akkadian
verb has six finite verb aspects (preterite, perfect, present, imperative, precative and vetitive) and three infinite forms (infinitive, participle and verbal adjective). The preterite is used for actions that are seen by the speaker as having occurred at a single point in time. The present is primarily imperfective in meaning and is used for concurrent and future actions as well as past actions with a temporal dimension. The final three finite forms are injunctive where the imperative and the precative together form a paradigm for positive commands and wishes, and the vetitive is used for negative wishes. Additionally the periphrastic prohibitive, formed by the present form of the verb and the negative adverb lā, is used to express negative commands. The infinitive of the Akkadian
verb is a verbal noun, and in contrast to some other languages the Akkadian infinitive can be declined in case. The verbal adjective is an adjectival form and designates the state or the result of the action of the verb, and consequently the exact meaning of the verbal adjective is determined by the semantics of the verb itself. The participle, which can be active or passive, is another verbal adjective and its meaning is similar to the English gerund. The following table shows the conjugation of the G-stem verbs derived from the root PRS ("to decide") in the various verb aspects of Akkadian:

Preterite Perfect Present Imperative stative Infinitive Participle (active) Verbal adjective

1st person singular aprus aptaras aparras

parsāku parāsum pārisum (masc.) pāristum (fem.) parsum (masc.) paristum (fem.)

1st person plural niprus niptaras niparras parsānu

2nd person singular masc. taprus taptaras taparras purus parsāta

2nd person singular fem. taprusī taptarsī (< *taptarasī) taparrasī pursi parsāti

2nd person plural taprusā taptarsā taparrasā pursa parsātunu (masc.) / parsātina(fem.)

3rd person singular iprus iptaras iparras

paris (masc.) /parsat (fem.)

3rd person plural masc. iprusū iptarsū (< *iptarasū) iparrasū parsū

3rd person plural fem. iprusā iptarsā(< *iptarasā) iparrasā parsā

The table below shows the different affixes attached to the preterite aspect of the verb root PRS "to decide"; and as can be seen, the grammatical genders differ only in the second person singular and third person plural.

G-Stem D-Stem Š-Stem N-Stem

1st person singular a-prus-Ø u-parris-Ø u-šapris-Ø a-pparis-Ø

1st person plural ni-prus-Ø nu-parris-Ø nu-šapris-Ø ni-pparis-Ø

2nd person singular masc. ta-prus-Ø tu-parris-Ø tu-šapris-Ø ta-pparis-Ø

2nd person singular fem. ta-prus-ī tu-parris-ī tu-šapris-ī ta-ppars-ī

2nd person plural ta-prus-ā tu-parris-ā tu-šapris-ā ta-ppars-ā

3rd person singular i-prus-Ø u-parris-Ø u-šapris-Ø i-pparis-Ø

3rd person plural masc. i-prus-ū u-parris-ū u-šapris-ū i-ppars-ū

3rd person plural fem. i-prus-ā u-parris-ā u-šapris-ā i-ppars-ā

Verb moods[edit] Akkadian
verbs have 3 moods:

Indicative, used in independent clauses, is unmarked. Subjunctive, used in dependent clauses. The subjunctive is marked in forms which do not end in a vowel by the suffix -u (compare Arabic
and Ugaritic
subjunctives), but is otherwise unmarked. In the later stages of most dialects, the subjunctive is indistinct, as short final vowels were mostly lost Venitive or allative. The venitive is not a mood in the strictest sense, being a development of the 1st person dative pronominal suffix -am/-m/-nim. With verbs of motion, it often indicates motion towards an object or person (e.g. illik, "he went" vs. illikam, "he came"). However, this pattern is not consistent, even in earlier stages of the language, and its use often appears to serve a stylistic rather than morphological or lexical function.

The following table demonstrates the verb moods of verbs derived from the root PRS ("to decide","to separate"):

Preterite.[t4 1] Stative.[t4 1]

Indicative iprus paris

Subjunctive iprusu parsu

Venitive iprusam parsam

^ a b Both verbs are for the 3rd person masculine singular.

Verb patterns[edit] Akkadian
verbs have thirteen separate derived stems formed on each root. The basic, underived, stem is the G-stem (from the German Grundstamm, meaning "basic stem"). Causative or intensive forms are formed with the doubled D-stem, and it gets its name from the doubled-middle radical that is characteristic of this form. The doubled middle radical is also characteristic of the present, but the forms of the D-stem use the secondary conjugational affixes, so a D-form will never be identical to a form in a different stem. The Š-stem is formed by adding a prefix š-, and these forms are mostly causatives. Finally, the passive forms of the verb are in the N-stem, formed by adding a n- prefix. However the n- element is assimilated to a following consonant, so the original /n/ is only visible in a few forms. Furthermore, reflexive and iterative verbal stems can be derived from each of the basic stems. The reflexive stem is formed with an infix -ta, and the derived stems are therefore called Gt, Dt, Št and Nt, and the preterite forms of the Xt-stem are identical to the perfects of the X-stem. Iteratives are formed with the infix -tan-, giving the Gtn, Dtn, Štn and Ntn. Because of the assimilation of n, the /n/ is only seen in the present forms, and the Xtn preterite is identical to the Xt durative. The final stem is the ŠD-stem, a form mostly attested only in poetic texts, and whose meaning is usually identical to either the Š-stem or the D-stem of the same verb. It is formed with the Š prefix (like the Š-stem) in addition to a doubled-middle radical (like the D-stem). An alternative to this naming system is a numerical system. The basic stems are numbered using Roman numerals so that G, D, Š and N become I, II, III and IV, respectively, and the infixes are numbered using Arabic
numerals; 1 for the forms without an infix, 2 for the Xt, and 3 for the Xtn. The two numbers are separated using a solidus. As an example, the Štn-stem is called III/3. The most important user of this system is the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. There is mandatory congruence between the subject of the sentence and the verb, and this is expressed by prefixes and suffixes. There are two different sets of affixes, a primary set used for the forms of the G and N-stems, and a secondary set for the D and Š-stems. The stems, their nomenclature and examples of the third-person masculine singular stative of the verb parāsum (root PRS: 'to decide, distinguish, separate') is shown below:

# Stem Verb Description Correspondence

I.1 G PaRiS the simple stem, used for transitive and intransitive verbs Arabic
stem I (fa‘ala) and Hebrew

II.1 D PuRRuS gemination of the second radical, indicating the intensive Arabic
stem II (fa‘‘ala) and Hebrew

III.1 Š šuPRuS š-preformative, indicating the causative Arabic
stem IV (’af‘ala) and Hebrew

IV.1 N naPRuS n-preformative, indicating the reflexive/passive Arabic
stem VII (infa‘ala) and Hebrew

I.2 Gt PitRuS simple stem with t-infix after first radical, indicating reciprocal or reflexive Arabic
stem VIII (ifta‘ala) and Aramaic
’ithpe‘al (tG)

II.2 Dt PutaRRuS doubled second radical preceded by infixed t, indicating intensive reflexive Arabic
stem V (tafa‘‘ala) and Hebrew
hithpa‘el (tD)

III.2 Št šutaPRuS š-preformative with t-infix, indicating reflexive causative Arabic
stem X (istaf‘ala) and Aramaic
’ittaph‘al (tC)

IV.2 Nt itaPRuS n-preformative with a t-infix preceding the first radical, indicating reflexive passive

I.3 Gtn PitaRRuS

II.3 Dtn PutaRRuS doubled second radical preceded by tan-infix

III.3 Štn šutaPRuS š-preformative with tan-infix

IV.3 Ntn itaPRuS n-preformative with tan-infix

ŠD šuPuRRuS š-preformative with doubled second radical

Stative[edit] A very often appearing form which can be formed by nouns, adjectives as well as by verbal adjectives is the stative. Nominal predicatives occur in the status absolutus and correspond to the verb "to be" in English. The stative in Akkadian
corresponds to the Egyptian pseudo-participle. The following table contains an example of using the noun šarrum (king), the adjective rapšum (wide) and the verbal adjective parsum (decided).

šarrum rapšum parsum

1st Person singular šarr-āku rapš-āku pars-āku

1st Person plural šarr-ānu rapš-ānu pars-ānu

2nd Person singular masc. šarr-āta rapš-āta pars-āta

2nd Person singular fem. šarr-āti rapš-āti pars-āti

2nd Person plural masc. šarr-ātunu rapš-ātunu pars-ātunu

2nd Person plural fem. šarr-ātina rapš-ātina pars-ātina

3rd Person singular masc. šar-Ø rapaš-Ø paris-Ø

3rd Person singular fem. šarr-at rapš-at pars-at

3rd Person plural masc. šarr-ū rapš-ū pars-ū

3rd Person plural fem. šarr-ā rapš-ā pars-ā

Thus, the stative in Akkadian
is used to convert simple stems into effective sentences, so that the form šarr-āta is equivalent to: "you were king", "you are king" and "you will be king". Hence, the stative is independent of time forms. Derivation[edit] Beside the already explained possibility of derivation of different verb stems, Akkadian
has numerous nominal formations derived from verb roots. A very frequently encountered form is the maPRaS form. It can express the location of an event, the person performing the act and many other meanings. If one of the root consonants is labial (p, b, m), the prefix becomes na- (maPRaS > naPRAS). Examples for this are: maškanum (place, location) from ŠKN (set, place, put), mašraḫum (splendour) from ŠRḪ (be splendid), maṣṣarum (guards) from NṢR (guard), napḫarum (sum) from PḪR (summarize). A very similar formation is the maPRaSt form. The noun derived from this nominal formation is grammatically feminine. The same rules as for the maPRaS form apply, for example maškattum (deposit) from ŠKN (set, place, put), narkabtum (carriage) from RKB (ride, drive, mount). The suffix - ūt is used to derive abstract nouns. The nouns which are formed with this suffix are grammatically feminine. The suffix can be attached to nouns, adjectives and verbs, e.g. abūtum (paternity) from abum (father), rabutum (size) from rabum (large), waṣūtum (leaving) from WṢY (leave). Also derivatives of verbs from nouns, adjectives and numerals are numerous. For the most part, a D-stem is derived from the root of the noun or adjective. The derived verb then has the meaning of "make X do something" or "becoming X", for example: duššûm (let sprout) from dišu (grass), šullušum (to do something for the third time ) from šalāš (three). Pronouns[edit] Personal pronouns[edit] Independent personal pronouns[edit] Independent personal pronouns in Akkadian
are as follows:

Nominative Oblique Dative

Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st anāku "I" nīnu "we" yāti niāti yāšim niāšim

2nd masculine atta "you" attunu "you" kāti (kāta) kunūti kāšim kunūšim

feminine atti "you" attina "you" kāti kināti kāšim kināšim

3rd masculine šū "he" šunu "they" šātilu (šātilu) šunūti šuāšim (šāšim) šunūšim

feminine šī "she" šina "they" šiāti (šuāti;šāti) šināti šiāšim (šāšim, šāšim) šināšim

Suffixed (or enclitic) pronouns[edit] Suffixed (or enclitic) pronouns (mainly denoting the genitive, accusative and dative) are as follows:

Genitive Accusative Dative

Person singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural

1st -i, -ya [t5 1] -ni -ni -niāti -am/-nim -niāšim

2nd masculine -ka -kunu -ka -kunūti -kum -kunūšim

feminine -ki -kina -ki -kināti -kim -kināšim

3rd masculine -šū -šunu -šū -šunūti -šum -šunūšim

feminine -ša -šina -ši -šināti -šim -šināšim

^ -ni is used for the nominative, i.e. following a verb denoting the subject.

Demonstrative pronouns[edit] Demonstrative pronouns in Akkadian
differ from the Western Semitic variety. The following table shows the Akkadian
demonstrative pronouns according to near and far deixis:


Proximal Distal

Masc. singular annū "this" ullū "that"

Fem. Singular annītu "this" ullītu "that"

Masc. plural annūtu "these" ullūtu "those"

Fem. plural annātu "these" ullātu "those"

Relative pronouns[edit] Relative pronouns in Akkadian
are shown in the following table:

Nominative Accusative Genitive

Masc. singular šu ša ši

Fem. Singular šāt šāti

Dual šā

Masc. plural šūt

Fem. plural šāt

Unlike plural relative pronouns, singular relative pronouns in Akkadian
exhibit full declension for case. However, only the form ša (originally accusative masculine singular) survived, while the other forms disappeared in time. Interrogative pronouns[edit] The following table shows the Interrogative pronouns used in Akkadian:

Akkadian English

mannu who?

mīnū what?

ayyu which?

Prepositions[edit] Akkadian
has prepositions which consist mainly of only one word. For example: ina (in, on, out, through, under), ana (too, for, after, approximately), adi (to), aššu (because of), eli (up, over), ištu/ultu (of, since), mala (in accordance with), itti (also, with). There are, however, some compound prepositions which are combined with ina and ana (e.g. ina maḫar (forwards), ina balu (without), ana ṣēr (up to), ana maḫar (forwards). Regardless of the complexity of the preposition, the following noun is always in the genitive case. Examples: ina bītim (in the house, from the house), ana dummuqim (to do good), itti šarrim (with the king), ana ṣēr mārīšu (up to his son). Numerals[edit] Since numerals are written mostly as a number sign in the cuneiform script, the transliteration of many numerals is not well ascertained yet. Along with the counted noun, the cardinal numerals are in the status absolutus. Because other cases are very rare, the forms of the status rectus are known only by isolated numerals. The numerals 1 and 2 as well as 21–29, 31–39, 41–49 correspond with the counted in the grammatical gender, while the numerals 3–20, 30, 40 and 50 show gender polarity, i.e. if the counted noun is masculine, the numeral would be feminine and vice versa. This polarity is typical of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
and appears also in classical Arabic
for example. The numerals 60, 100 and 1000 do not change according to the gender of the counted noun. Counted nouns more than two appear in the plural form. However, body parts which occur in pairs appear in the dual form in Akkadian. e.g. šepum (foot) becomes šepān (two feet). The ordinals are formed (with a few exceptions) by adding a case ending to the nominal form PaRuS (the P, R and S. must be substituted with the suitable consonants of the numeral). It is noted, however, that in the case of the numeral "one", the ordinal (masculine) and the cardinal number are the same. A metathesis occurs in the numeral "four". The following table contains the masculine and feminine forms of the status absolutus of some of the Akkadian
cardinal numbers, as well as the corresponding ordinals.

# Cardinal numeral (masc.) Cardinal numeral (fem.) Congruence (Gender agreement of the cardinal numeral) Ordinal (masc.) Ordinal (fem.)

1 ištēn išteʾat, ištāt Congruent (no gender polarity) ištēn išteʾat

2 šinā šittā Congruent šanûm šanītum

3 šalāš šalāšat Gender polarity šalšum šaluštum

4 erbē erbēt Gender polarity rebûm rebūtum

5 ḫamiš ḫamšat Gender polarity ḫamšum ḫamuštum

6 šediš šiššet Gender polarity šeššum šeduštum

7 sebē sebēt Gender polarity sebûm sebūtum

8 samānē samānat Gender polarity samnum, samnûm samuntum

9 tešē tišīt Gender polarity tišûm, tešûm tišūtum, tešūtum

10 ešer ešeret Gender polarity ešrum ešurtum

60 šūš No gender distinction

100 meʾat, māt No gender distinction

1000 līm No gender distinction

Examples: erbē aššātum (four wives) (male numeral), meʾat ālānū (100 towns). Syntax[edit] Nominal phrases[edit] Adjectives, relative clauses and appositions follow the noun. While numerals precede the counted noun. In the following table the nominal phrase erbēt šarrū dannūtum ša ālam īpušū abūya 'the four strong kings who built the city are my fathers' is analyzed:

Word Meaning Analysis Part of the nominal phrase

erbēt four feminine (gender polarity) Numeral

šarr-ū king nominative plural Noun (Subject)

dann-ūtum strong nominative masculine plural Adjective

ša which relative pronoun Relative clause

āl-am city accusative singular

īpuš-ū built 3rd person masculine plural

ab-ū-ya my fathers masculine plural + possessive pronoun Apposition

Sentence syntax[edit] Akkadian
sentence order was Subject+Object+Verb (SOV), which sets it apart from most other ancient Semitic languages
Semitic languages
such as Arabic
and Biblical Hebrew, which typically have a verb–subject–object (VSO) word order. (Modern South Semitic languages
Semitic languages
in Ethiopia
also have SOV order, but these developed within historical times from the classical verb–subject–object (VSO) language Ge'ez.) It has been hypothesized that this word order was a result of influence from the Sumerian language, which was also SOV. There is evidence that native speakers of both languages were in intimate language contact, forming a single society for at least 500 years, so it is entirely likely that a sprachbund could have formed. Further evidence of an original VSO or SVO ordering can be found in the fact that direct and indirect object pronouns are suffixed to the verb. Word order seems to have shifted to SVO/VSO late in the 1st millennium BC to the 1st millennium AD, possibly under the influence of Aramaic. Vocabulary[edit] The Akkadian
vocabulary is mostly of Semitic origin. Although classified as 'East Semitic', many elements of its basic vocabulary find no evident parallels in related Semitic languages. For example: māru 'son' (Semitic *bn), qātu 'hand' (Semitic *yd), šēpu 'foot' (Semitic *rgl), qabû 'say' (Semitic *qwl), izuzzu 'stand' (Semitic *qwm), ana 'to, for' (Semitic *li). Due to extensive contact with Sumerian and Aramaic, the Akkadian vocabulary contains many loan words from these languages. Aramaic
loan words, however, were limited to the 1st centuries of the 1st millennium BC and primarily in the north and middle parts of Mesopotamia, whereas Sumerian loan words were spread in the whole linguistic area. Beside the previous languages, some nouns were borrowed from Hurrian, Kassite, Ugaritic
and other ancient languages. Since Sumerian and Hurrian, two non-Semitic languages, differ from Akkadian
in word structure, only nouns and some adjectives (not many verbs) were borrowed from these languages. However, some verbs were borrowed (along with many nouns) from Aramaic
and Ugaritic, both of which are Semitic languages. The following table contains examples of loan words in Akkadian:

Akkadian Meaning Source Word in the language of origin

dû hill Sumerian du

erēqu flee Aramaic ʿRQ (root)

gadalû dressed in linen Sumerian gada lá

isinnu firmly Sumerian ezen

kasulatḫu a device of copper Hurrian kasulatḫ-

kisallu court Sumerian kisal

laqāḫu take Ugaritic LQḤ( root)

paraššannu part of horse riding gear Hurrian paraššann-

purkullu stone cutter Sumerian bur-gul

qaṭālu kill Aramaic QṬL (root)

uriḫullu conventional penalty Hurrian uriḫull-

was also a source of borrowing to other languages, above all Sumerian. Some examples are: Sumerian da-ri ('lastingly', from Akkadian
dāru), Sumerian ra gaba ('riders, messenger', from Akkadian rākibu). Sample text[edit] The following is the 7th section of the Hammurabi
law code, written in the mid-18th century BC:

Akkadian šumma awīl-um lū kasp-am lū ḫurāṣ-am lū ward-am lū amt-am

English if Man (nominative) or silver (accusative) or gold (accusative) or slave (masculine, accusative) or Slave (feminine, accusative)

Akkadian lū alp-am lū immer-am lū imēr-am ū lū mimma šumšu ina

English or Cattle, oxen (accusative) or sheep (accusative) or donkey (accusative) and or something from

Akkadian qāt mār awīl-im ū lū warad awīl-im balum šīb-ī u

English hand (status constructus) son (status constructus) man (genitive) and or slave (status constructus) man (genitive) without witnesses (genitive) and

Akkadian riks-ātim i-štām-Ø ū lū ana maṣṣārūt-im i-mḫur-Ø

English contracts (genitive) bought (3rd person singular, perfect) and or for safekeeping (genitive) received (3rd person singular, preterite)

Akkadian awīl-um šū šarrāq i-ddāk

English man (nominative) (3rd person masculine singular independent pronoun) stealer (status absolutus) is killed (3rd person singular in passive present tense)

Translation: If a man has bought silver or gold, a male or a female slave, an ox, a sheep, or a donkey—or anything for that matter—from another man or from another man’s slave without witnesses or contract, or if he accepted something for safekeeping without same, then this man is a thief and hence to be killed. Akkadian

Ancient Near East
Near East

Main article: Akkadian

Atrahasis Epic
Atrahasis Epic
(early 2nd millennium BC) Enûma Elish
Enûma Elish
(c. 18th century BC) Amarna letters
Amarna letters
(14th century BC) Epic of Gilgamesh
(Sin-liqe-unninni' "standard" version, 13th to 11th century BC) Ludlul Bel Nemeqi


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Akkadian". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Black, Jeremy A.; George, Andrew; Postgate, J. N. (2000-01-01). A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 10. ISBN 9783447042642.  ^ a b c d e f John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, " Akkadian
and Eblaite", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge) Pages 218-280 ^ John Huehnergard and Christopher Woods, " Akkadian
and Eblaite", in Roger D. Woodard, ed., The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt
and Aksum, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p.83 ^ Deutscher, Guy (2007). Syntactic Change in Akkadian: The Evolution of Sentential Complementation. Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
US. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-19-953222-3.  ^ [1] Andrew George, "Babylonian and Assyrian: A History of Akkadian", In: Postgate, J. N., (ed.), Languages of Iraq, Ancient and Modern. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, pp. 37. ^ Marckham Geller, "The Last Wedge" ^ Müller-Kessler, Christa (July 20, 2009). "Mandaeans v. Mandaic Language". Encyclopædia Iranica (online 2012 ed.).  ^ Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasitische Archäologie 86 (1997): 43–95. ^ Caplice, p.5 (1980) ^ Bertman, Stephen (2003). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Oxford University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-019-518364-1. Retrieved 16 May 2015.  ^ Adkins 2003, p. 47. ^ John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, 2004 " Akkadian
and Eblaite", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, pg. 218. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13715296 ^ Hetzron, Robert. The Semitic Languages.  ^ Kogan, Leonid (2011). " Proto-Semitic
Phonetics and Phonology". In Semitic languages: an international handbook, Stefan Weninger, ed. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 68. ^ Hendrik, Jagersma, Abraham. "A descriptive grammar of Sumerian". openaccess.leidenuniv.nl. p. 46. Retrieved 2015-11-20.  ^ Sabatino Moscati et al. "An Introduction to Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages Phonology
and Morphology". (section on vowels and semi-vowels) ^ Huehnergard & Woods. " Akkadian
and Eblaite". www.academia.edu. p. 233. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 


Aro, Jussi (1957). Studien zur mittelbabylonischen Grammatik. Studia Orientalia 22. Helsinki: Societas Orientalis Fennica. Buccellati, Giorgio (1996). A Structural Grammar of Babylonian. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Buccellati, Giorgio (1997). "Akkadian," The Semitic Languages. Ed. Robert Hetzron. New York: Routledge. Pages 69–99. Bussmann, Hadumod (1996). Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-20319-8 Caplice, Richard (1980). Introduction to Akkadian. Rome: Biblical Institute Press. (1983: ISBN 88-7653-440-7; 1988, 2002: ISBN 88-7653-566-7) (The 1980 edition is partly available online.) Dolgopolsky, Aron (1999). From Proto-Semitic
to Hebrew. Milan: Centro Studi Camito-Semitici di Milano.  Gelb, I.J. (1961). Old Akkadian
Writing and Grammar. Second edition. Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Huehnergard, John (2005). A Grammar of Akkadian
(Second Edition). Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-57506-922-9 Marcus, David (1978). A Manual of Akkadian. University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-0608-9 Mercer, Samuel A B (1961). Introductory Assyrian Grammar. New York: F Ungar. ISBN 0-486-42815-X Sabatino Moscati (1980). An Introduction to Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages Phonology
and Morphology. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 3-447-00689-7.  Soden, Wolfram von (1952). Grundriss der akkadischen Grammatik. Analecta Orientalia 33. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. (3rd ed., 1995: ISBN 88-7653-258-7) Woodard, Roger D. The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt
and Aksum. Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-68497-2

Further reading[edit] General description and grammar[edit]

Gelb, I. J. (1961). Old Akkadian
writing and grammar. Materials for the Assyrian dictionary, no. 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-62304-1 Hasselbach, Rebecca. Sargonic Akkadian: A Historical and Comparative Study of the Syllabic Texts. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2005. ISBN 978-3-447-05172-9 Huehnergard, J. A Grammar of Akkadian
(3rd ed. 2011). Harvard Semitic Museum Studies 45. ISBN 978-1-57506-922-7[2](requires login) Huehnergard, J. (2005). A Key to A Grammar of Akkadian
. Harvard Semitic Studies. Eisenbrauns.[3](requires login) Soden, Wolfram von: Grundriß der Akkadischen Grammatik. Analecta Orientalia. Bd 33. Rom 1995. ISBN 88-7653-258-7 Streck, Michael P. Sprachen des Alten Orients. Wiss. Buchges., Darmstadt 2005. ISBN 3-534-17996-X Ungnad, Arthur: Grammatik des Akkadischen. Neubearbeitung durch L. Matouš, München 1969, 1979 (5. Aufl.). ISBN 3-406-02890-X Woodard, Roger D. The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt
and Aksum. Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-68497-2


Rykle Borger: Babylonisch-assyrische Lesestücke. Rom 1963.(3., revidierte Auflage, 2006 Teil. I-II)

Part I: Elemente der Grammatik und der Schrift. Übungsbeispiele. Glossar. Part II: Die Texte in Umschrift. Part III: Kommentar. Die Texte in Keilschrift.

Richard Caplice: Introduction to Akkadian. Biblical Institute Press, Rome 1988, 2002 (4.Aufl.). ISBN 88-7653-566-7 Kaspar K. Riemschneider: Lehrbuch des Akkadischen. Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1969, Langenscheidt Verl. Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1992 (6. Aufl.). ISBN 3-324-00364-4 Martin Worthington: "Complete Babylonian: Teach Yourself" London 2010 ISBN 0-340-98388-4


Jeremy G. Black, Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate: A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Harrassowitz-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2000. ISBN 3-447-04264-8 Wolfram von Soden: Akkadisches Handwörterbuch. 3 Bde. Wiesbaden 1958-1981. ISBN 3-447-02187-X Martha T. Roth, ed.: The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 21 vols. in 26. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago 1956-2010. (available free online)


Cherry, A. (2003). A basic neo-Assyrian cuneiform syllabary. Toronto, Ont: Ashur Cherry, York University. Cherry, A. (2003). Basic individual logograms (Akkadian). Toronto, Ont: Ashur Cherry, York University. Rykle Borger: Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon. Alter Orient und Altes Testament (AOAT). Bd 305. Ugarit-Verlag, Münster 2004. ISBN 3-927120-82-0 René Labat: Manuel d'Épigraphie Akkadienne. Paul Geuthner, Paris 1976, 1995 (6.Aufl.). ISBN 2-7053-3583-8

Technical literature on specific subjects[edit]

Ignace J. Gelb: Old Akkadian
Writing and Grammar. Materials for the Assyrian dictionary. Bd 2. University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1952, 1961, 1973. ISBN 0-226-62304-1 ISSN 0076-518X Markus Hilgert: Akkadisch in der Ur III-Zeit. Rhema-Verlag, Münster 2002. ISBN 3-930454-32-7 Walter Sommerfeld: Bemerkungen zur Dialektgliederung Altakkadisch, Assyrisch und Babylonisch. In: Alter Orient und Altes Testament (AOAT). Ugarit-Verlag, Münster 274.2003. ISSN 0931-4296

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Akkadian

repository of Wikisource, the free library

For a list of words relating to Akkadian, see the Akkadian
category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Introduction to Cuneiform
Script and the Akkadian
language on The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform
Corpus (Oracc) Akkadian cuneiform
Akkadian cuneiform
on Omniglot (Writing Systems and Languages of the World) Wilford, John Noble (7 June 2011). "After 90 Years, a Dictionary of an Ancient World". The New York Times. p. 2.  Akkadian
Language Samples A detailed introduction to Akkadian Assyrian grammar with chrestomathy and glossary (1921) by Samuel A B Mercer Akkadian-English-French Online Dictionary Old Babylonian Text Corpus (includes dictionary) The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD) Old Akkadian
Writing and Grammar, by I. J. Gelb, 2nd Ed. (1961) Glossary of Old Akkadian, by I. J. Gelb (1957) List of 1280 Akkadian
roots, with a representative verb form for each Recordings of Assyriologists Reading Babylonian and Assyrian Unicode
Fonts for Ancient Scripts and Akkadian
font for Ubuntu Linux-based operating system (ttf-ancient-fonts) The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD) Akkadian
in the wiki Glossing Ancient Languages (recommendations for the Interlinear Morphemic Glossing of Akkadian

v t e

Ancient Mesopotamia



Euphrates Upper Mesopotamia Mesopotamian Marshes Persian Gulf Syrian Desert Taurus Mountains Tigris Zagros Mountains


Akkad Assyria Babylonia Chaldea Elam Hittites Media Mitanni Sumer Urartu Cities


Pre- / Protohistory

Acheulean Mousterian Trialetian Zarzian Natufian Nemrikian Khiamian Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
(PPNA) Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
(PPNB) Hassuna/Samarra Halaf Ubaid Uruk Jemdet Nasr Kish civilization


Early Dynastic Akkadian Ur III Old Babylonian Kassite Neo-Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenid Seleucid Parthian Roman Sasanian Muslim conquest Timeline of the Assyrian Empire


Akkadian Amorite Aramaic Eblaite Elamite Gutian Hittite Hurrian Luwian Middle Persian Old Persian Parthian Proto-Armenian Sumerian Urartian

Culture / Society

Architecture Art Cuneiform
script Akkadian
literature Sumerian literature Music Religion


Looting Destruction by ISIL Tell


v t e

Semitic languages

East Semitic languages

Akkadian Eblaite

West Semitic and Central Semitic languages




Biblical Mishnaic Medieval Mizrahi Yemenite Sephardi Ashkenazi Samaritan Modern




Ammonite Moabite Edomite



Jewish Palestinian Samaritan Christian Palestinian Nabataean Western Neo-Aramaic


Biblical Hatran Syriac Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Chaldean Neo-Aramaic Assyrian Neo-Aramaic Senaya Koy Sanjaq Surat Hértevin Turoyo Mlahsô Mandaic Judeo-Aramaic Syriac Malayalam


Amorite Eteocypriot Ugaritic



Classical Modern Standard


Mashriqi (Eastern)

Arabian Peninsular

Dhofari Gulf

Bahrani Shihhi

Hejazi Najdi Omani Yemeni



Eastern Egyptian and Peninsular Bedawi



Sa'idi Arabic


Cypriot Lebanese Palestinian


North Mesopotamian Judeo-Iraqi

Sudanese Central Asian

Tajiki Uzbeki


Maghrebi (Western)

Algerian Saharan Shuwa Hassānīya Andalusian Libyan Arabic




Moroccan Arabic


Tunisian Arabic



Old Arabic Nabataean Arabic

South Semitic languages

Western South

Old South

Sabaean Minaean Qatabanian Hadramautic Awsānian



Ge'ez Tigrinya Tigre Dahalik





Silt'e (Wolane, Ulbareg, Inneqor) Zay



Gafat Soddo


Mesmes Muher West Gurage

Mesqan Ezha Chaha Gura Gumer Gyeto Ennemor Endegen

Modern South Arabian

Bathari Harsusi Hobyot Mehri Shehri Soqotri

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