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Sumerograms and Akkadograms in Hittite: Ideograms, Logograms, Allograms, or Heterograms?

  • Maksim Kudrinski EMAIL logo and Ilya Yakubovich


The goal of this paper is to compare various designations that have been offered for the Sumerian and Akkadian elements that occur in Hittite written texts but were presumably absent from the spoken Hittite language. We suggest that the most appropriate cover term in this case is heterogram, which represents the established designation for Aramaeograms in Middle Iranian texts, whereas the other terms offered thus far are either descriptively inadequate or evoke false associations. With regard to the function of heterograms in Hittite texts, it is concluded that they were not systematically used as markers of the elevated style but sometimes could serve for the expression of semantic distinctions that had no counterpart in colloquial Hittite.


Many ideas of this paper were first presented in our joint talk at the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 2015 in Bern. We are grateful to the audience of this gathering for its constructive feedback, and also much obliged to Stephen Durnford (Brighton), Joost Hazenbos (Amsterdam / Leipzig / Munich), H. Craig Melchert (Chapel Hill, NC), and Mark Weeden (London), who took pains to correct the style of the present paper and made further valuable remarks on its substance. The research of Ilya Yakubovich was conducted within the framework of the project “Digitales philologisch-etymologisches Wörterbuch der altanatolischen Kleinkorpussprachen (RI 1730/7-1)” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.


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Published Online: 2016-11-29
Published in Print: 2016-12-1

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