Cover image for The Verb in the Amarna Letters from Canaan By Krzysztof J. Baranowski

The Verb in the Amarna Letters from Canaan

Krzysztof J. Baranowski

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$69.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-461-1

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Languages of the Ancient Near East

The Verb in the Amarna Letters from Canaan

Krzysztof J. Baranowski

The Amarna letters from Canaan offer us a unique glimpse of the historical and linguistic panorama of the Levant in the middle of the fourteenth century BCE. Their evidence regarding verbs is crucial for the historical and comparative study of the Semitic languages. Proper evaluation of this evidence requires an understanding of its scribal origin and nature. For this reason, The Verb in the Amarna Letters from Canaan addresses the historical circumstances in which the linguistic code of the letters was born and the unique characteristics of this system. The author adduces second-language acquisition as a proper framework for understanding the development of this language by scribes who were educated in centers on the cuneiform periphery. In this way, the book advances a novel interpretation: the letters testify to a scribal interlanguage that was born of the local use of cuneiform and was affected by the fossilization and transfer processes taking place in these language learners.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
The Amarna letters from Canaan offer us a unique glimpse of the historical and linguistic panorama of the Levant in the middle of the fourteenth century BCE. Their evidence regarding verbs is crucial for the historical and comparative study of the Semitic languages. Proper evaluation of this evidence requires an understanding of its scribal origin and nature. For this reason, The Verb in the Amarna Letters from Canaan addresses the historical circumstances in which the linguistic code of the letters was born and the unique characteristics of this system. The author adduces second-language acquisition as a proper framework for understanding the development of this language by scribes who were educated in centers on the cuneiform periphery. In this way, the book advances a novel interpretation: the letters testify to a scribal interlanguage that was born of the local use of cuneiform and was affected by the fossilization and transfer processes taking place in these language learners.

This vision of the linguistic system of the letters as the learners' interlanguage informs the main part of the book, which is devoted to verbal morphology and semantics. The chapter on morphology offers an overview of conjugation patterns and morphemes in terms of paradigms. Employing a variationist approach, it also analyzes the bases on which the verbal forms were constructed. Next, the individual uses of each form are illustrated by numerous examples that provide readers with a basis for discovering alternative interpretations. The systemic view of each form and the various insights that permeate this book provide invaluable data for the historical and comparative study of the West Semitic verbal system, particularly of ancient Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Arabic.

Preface

Abbreviations

Introduction

1. The Amarna Letters and Their Study

1.1.The Amarna Letters

1.2.The Study of the Verbal System of the Amarna Letters from Canaan

2. The Language of the Amarna Letters from Canaan

2.1.Peripheral Akkadian and Cuneiform in Canaan as the Linguistic Context of the Amarna Language

2.2.More Data: Features of Peripheral Akkadian That Are Relevant to Discussions about the Nature of the Amarna Language

2.3.Interlanguage as a Framework for Understanding the Linguistic System of the Amarna Letters from Canaan

2.4.The Amarna Interlanguage

2.5.The Scribes as the Users of the Amarna Interlanguage

2.6.The Amarna Interlanguage as a Comprehensive Framework

3. Morphology of the Amarna Verb

3.1.Paradigms of the Amarna Verbs

3.2.Variation in the Morphology of the Amarna Verb

3.3.The Morphology of the Amarna Verb as a System

4. Uses of the Verbal Forms

4.1.Qatal and Its Indicative Uses

4.2.The Indicative Use of Yaqtul

4.3.The Uses of Yaqtulu

4.4.Directive-Volitive Forms, the Modal Sequence, and Yaqtula

4.5.Conditional Clauses

4.6.Energic

4.7.Verbs in the Epistolary Performative Utterances

5. Verbs in the Amarna Letters from Canaan from a Systemic Perspective

5.1.The Nature and Logic of the Amarna Verbal System

5.2.Forms and Uses of the Verbs buʾʾû, edû, and raʾāmu

5.3.The Verbal System of the Letters from Tyre

5.4.The Amarna Verbal System and a Larger Semitic Perspective

5.5.Conclusions

Appendix 1. The Senders of the Amarna Letters

Appendix 2. The Amarna Letters from Canaan according to Their Provenance

The Shephelah and the Southern Coastal Plain

The Central Hill Country

The Galilee, the Coastal Plain of Acco, and the Northern Valleys

The Bashan Area

Southern Syria and the Neighboring Areas

The Lebanese Littoral

The Lebanese Beqaʿ

Unidentified Cities in Canaan

Appendix 3. The Amarna Letters from Canaan Excluded from Analysis

Appendix 4. Cities and Their Letters

Appendix 5. Scribes and Their Letters

Appendix 6. Morphological Terminology and Abbreviations

Bibliography

Indexes

Index of Passages Cited

Index of Subjects

Index of Akkadian Terms Discussed

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