The Info List - Ugaritic

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Ugaritic[2] (/ˌuːɡəˈrɪtɪk, ˌjuː-/) is an extinct Northwest Semitic language[3][4] discovered by French archaeologists in 1929. It is known almost only in the form of writings found in the ruined city of Ugarit
(modern Ras Shamra, Syria).[5][6][7] It has been used by scholars of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
to clarify Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
texts and has revealed ways in which the cultures of ancient Israel and Judah found parallels in the neighboring cultures.[6] Ugaritic
has been called "the greatest literary discovery from antiquity since the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
and Mesopotamian cuneiform".[8]


1 Corpus 2 Writing system 3 Phonology 4 Grammar 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 External links

Corpus[edit] The Ugaritic
language is attested in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BC. The city of Ugarit
was destroyed roughly 1190 BC.[9] Literary texts discovered at Ugarit
include the Legend of Keret, the legends of Danel, the Myth of Baal-Aliyan, and the Death of Baal—the latter two are also collectively known as the Baal Cycle—all revealing aspects of ancient Canaanite religion. According to one hypothesis, Ugaritic
texts might solve the biblical puzzle of the anachronism of Ezekiel
mentioning Daniel at Ezekiel 14:13-16; it is because in both Ugaritic
and Hebrew texts, it is correctly Danel.[6] Writing system[edit] Main article: Ugaritic

Clay tablet
Clay tablet
of Ugaritic

Table of Ugaritic

The Ugaritic alphabet
Ugaritic alphabet
is a cuneiform script used beginning in the 15th century BC. Like most Semitic scripts, it is an abjad, where each symbol stands for a consonant, leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel. Although it appears similar to Mesopotamian cuneiform (whose writing techniques it borrowed), its symbols and symbol meanings are unrelated. It is the oldest example of the family of West Semitic scripts such as the Phoenician, Paleo-Hebrew, and Aramaic alphabets (including the Hebrew alphabet). The so-called "long alphabet" has 30 letters while the "short alphabet" has 22. Other languages (particularly Hurrian) were occasionally written in it in the Ugarit area, although not elsewhere. Clay tablets written in Ugaritic
provide the earliest evidence of both the Levantine ordering of the alphabet, which gave rise to the alphabetic order of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets; and the South Semitic order, which gave rise to the order of the Ge'ez script. The script was written from left to right. Phonology[edit] Ugaritic
had 28 consonantal phonemes (including two semivowels) and eight vowel phonemes (three short vowels and five long vowels): a ā i ī u ū ē ō. The phonemes ē and ō occur only as long vowels and are the result of monophthongization of the diphthongs ay and aw, respectively.

consonantal phonemes[citation needed]

Labial Interdental Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal

plain emphatic

Nasal m


Stop voiceless p

t tˤ

k q


voiced b



Fricative voiceless

θ s sˤ ʃ x ħ h


ð z ðˤ (ʒ)[1] ɣ[2] ʕ



j w



^ The voiced palatal fricative [ʒ] occurs as a late variant of the voiced interdental fricative /ð/. ^ The voiced velar fricative /ɣ/, while an independent phoneme at all periods, also occurs as a late variant of the emphatic voiced interdental /ðˤ/.

The following table shows Proto-Semitic
phonemes and their correspondences among Ugaritic, Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
and Tiberian Hebrew:

Proto-Semitic Ugaritic Classical Arabic Tiberian Hebrew Imperial Aramaic

b [b] b ب b [b] ב b/ḇ [b/v] ב b/ḇ [b/v]

p [p] p ف f [f] פ p/p̄ [p/f] פ p/p̄ [p/f]

ḏ [ð] d; sometimes ḏ [ð] ذ ḏ [ð] ז z [z] ד (older ז) d/ḏ [d/ð]

ṯ [θ] ṯ [θ] ث ṯ [θ] שׁ š [ʃ] ת t/ṯ [t/θ]

ṱ [θʼ] ẓ [ðˤ]; sporadically ġ [ɣ] ظ ẓ [ðˤ] צ ṣ [sˤ] ט ṭ [tˤ]

d [d] d د d [d] ד d/ḏ [d/ð] ד d/ḏ [d/ð]

t [t] t ت t [t] ת t/ṯ [t/θ] ת t/ṯ [t/θ]

ṭ [tʼ] ṭ [tˤ] ط ṭ [tˤ] ט ṭ [tˤ] ט ṭ [tˤ]

š [s] š [ʃ] س s [s] שׁ š [ʃ] שׁ š [ʃ]

z [dz] z ز z [z] ז z [z] ז z [z]

s [ts] s س s [s] ס s [s] ס s [s]

ṣ [tsʼ] ṣ [sˤ] ص ṣ [sˤ] צ ṣ [sˤ] צ ṣ [sˤ]

l [l] l ل l [l] ל l [l] ל l [l]

ś [ɬ] š ش š [ʃ] שׂ ś [ɬ]→[s] שׂ/ס s/ś [s]

ṣ́ [(t)ɬʼ] ṣ [sˤ] ض ḍ [ɮˤ]→[dˤ] צ ṣ [sˤ] ע (older ק) ʿ [ʕ]

g [ɡ] g ج ǧ [ɡʲ]→[dʒ] ג g/ḡ [ɡ/ɣ] ג g/ḡ [ɡ/ɣ]

k [k] k ك k [k] כ k/ḵ [k/x] כ k/ḵ [k/x]

q [kʼ] q ق q [q] ק q [q] ק q [q]

ġ [ɣ] ġ [ɣ] غ ġ [ɣ] ע ʿ [ʕ] ע ʿ [ʕ]

ḫ [x] ḫ [x] خ ḫ [x] ח ḥ [ħ] ח ḥ [ħ]

ʿ [ʕ] ʿ [ʕ] ع ʿ [ʕ] ע ʿ [ʕ] ע ʿ [ʕ]

ḥ [ħ] ḥ [ħ] ح ḥ [ħ] ח ḥ [ħ] ח ḥ [ħ]

ʾ [ʔ] ʾ [ʔ] ء ʾ [ʔ] א ʾ [ʔ] א/∅ ʾ/∅ [ʔ/∅]

h [h] h ه h [h] ה h [h] ה h [h]

m [m] m م m [m] מ m [m] מ m [m]

n [n] n; total assimilation before a consonant ن n [n] נ n [n] נ n [n]

r [r] r ر r [r] ר r [r] ר r [r]

w [w] w; y [j] initially و w [w] ו w [w] ו w [w]

y [j] y [j] ي y [j] י y [j] י y [j]

Proto-Semitic Ugaritic Classical Arabic Tiberian Hebrew Imperial Aramaic

Grammar[edit] Main article: Ugaritic
grammar Ugaritic
is an inflected language, and its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three grammatical cases for nouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, and genitive), three numbers (singular, dual, and plural), and verb aspects similar to those found in other Northwest Semitic languages. The word order for Ugaritic
is verb–subject–object (VSO) and subject–object–verb (SOV),[12] possessed–possessor (NG), and noun–adjective (NA). Ugaritic
is considered a conservative Semitic language, since it retains most of the phonemes, the case system, and the word order of the ancestral Proto-Semitic
language. See also[edit]

Ancient Near East portal

Ugarit Ugaritic
grammar Ugaritic
alphabet Northwest Semitic languages Central Semitic languages Semitic languages Proto-Semitic


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ugaritic". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ http://bildnercenter.rutgers.edu/docman/rendsburg/59-modern-south-arabian-as-a-source-for-ugaritic-etymologies/file ^ Watson, Wilfred G. E.; Wyatt, Nicolas (1999). Handbook of Ugaritic Studies. Brill. p. 91. ISBN 90-04-10988-9.  ^ Ugaritic
is alternatively classified in a "North Semitic" group Lipiński, Edward (2001). Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar. Peeters Publishers. p. 50. ISBN 978-90-429-0815-4.  ^ Schniedewind, William; Hunt, Joel H. (2007). A Primer on Ugaritic: Language, Culture and Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-139-46698-1.  ^ a b c Greenstein, Edward L. (November 2010). "Texts from Ugarit Solve Biblical Puzzles". The BAS Library. 36 (6): 48. Retrieved 22 April 2017.  ^ Edward L. Greenstein, "Texts from Ugarit
Solve Biblical Puzzles", Biblical Archaeology
Review 36:06, Nov/Dec 2010, pp. 48-53, 70. Found at Biblical Archaeology
Review website. Accessed October 29, 2010. ^ Gordon, Cyrus H. (1965). The Ancient Near East. Norton. p. 99.  ^ Huehnergard, John (2012). An Introduction to Ugaritic. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-59856-820-2.  ^ Wilson, Gerald H. (1982). " Ugaritic
Word Order and Sentence Structure in KRT". Journal of Semitic Studies. 27 (1): 17–32. doi:10.1093/jss/27.1.17. 


Bordreuil, Pierre & Pardee, Dennis (2009). A Manual of Ugaritic: Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic 3. Winona Lake, IN 46590: Eisenbraun's, Inc. ISBN 1-57506-153-8.  Cunchillos, J.-L. & Vita, Juan-Pablo (2003). A Concordance of Ugaritic
Words. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-59333-258-0.  del Olmo Lete, Gregorio & Sanmartín, Joaquín (2004). A Dictionary of the Ugaritic
Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-13694-0.  (2 vols; originally in Spanish, translated by W. G. E. Watson). Gibson, John C. L. (1977). Canaanite Myths and Legends. T. & T. Clark. ISBN 0-567-02351-6.  (Contains Latin-alphabet transliterations of the Ugaritic
texts and facing translations in English.) Gordon, Cyrus Herzl (1965). The Ancient Near East. W. W. Norton & Company Press. ISBN 0-393-00275-6.  Greenstein, Edward L. (1998). Shlomo Izre'el, Itamar Singer, Ran Zadok, eds. "On a New Grammar of Ugartic" in Past links: studies in the languages and cultures of the ancient near east: Volume 18 of Israel oriental studies. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-57506-035-4. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) Found at Google Scholar. Huehnergard, John (2011). A Grammar of Akkadian, 3rd ed. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-5750-6941-5.  Moscati, Sabatino (1980). An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages, Phonology and Morphology. Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 3-447-00689-7.  Parker, Simon B. (ed.) (1997). Ugaritic
Narrative Poetry: Writings from the Ancient World Society of Biblical Literature. Atlanta: Scholars Press. ISBN 0-7885-0337-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Pardee, Dennis (2003). Rezension von J. Tropper, Ugaritische Grammatik (AOAT 273) Ugarit-Verlag, Münster 2000: Internationale Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft vom Vorderen Orient. Vienna, Austria: Archiv für Orientforschung (AfO).  P. 1-404. Schniedewind, William M. & Hunt, Joel H. (2007). A Primer on Ugaritic: Language, Culture and Literature. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-5217-0493-6.  Segert, Stanislav (1997). A Basic Grammar of the Ugaritic
Language. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03999-8.  Sivan, Daniel (1997). A Grammar of the Ugaritic
Language (Handbook of Oriental Studies/Handbuch Der Orientalistik). Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-10614-6.  A more concise grammar. Tropper, J. (2000). Ugartische Grammatik, AOAT 273. Münster, Ugarit Verlag.  Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) (2008). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-68498-6. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]

and the Bible. An excerpt from an online introductory course on Ugaritic grammar (the Quartz Hill School of Theology's course noted in the links hereafter). Includes a cursory discussion on the relationship between Ugaritic
and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible literature. "El in the Ugaritic
tablets" on the BBCi website gives many attributes of the Ugaritic
creator and his consort Athirat. Abstract of Mark Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic
Text. "Introduction to Ugaritic
Grammar". Quartz Hill School of Theology. Unicode

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