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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 4, 2007

Interpreting Early Akkadian Orthography: A Note on Pronominal Suffixes in Sargonic Akkadian

  • Rebecca Hasselbach


The possessive and accusative pronominal suffixes of the 3ms in Sargonic Akkadian (∼2350–2100 BCE) exhibit a peculiar orthographic feature that is otherwise unknown in Akkadian. The possessive pronominal suffix is regularly written with the sign su while the acc. suffix is written with su4. The latter sign is also used for the nom. and acc. 3ms anaphoric pronoun. No satisfactory explanation for this orthographic distinction has been given so far. The present article suggests that the spelling of the acc. pronominal suffix with the same sign as the anaphoric pronoun was caused by a reanalysis of the acc. suffix as being a reflex of the anaphoric pronoun after a set of sound changes had taken place that rendered these two morphemes nearly identical. In other words, in the mind of the speaker it was the anaphoric pronoun that was attached to verbs in the function of the direct object and not the original acc. suffix that had the same shape as the possessive pronominal suffix.

Published Online: 2007-01-04
Published in Print: 2006-12-01

© Walter de Gruyter

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