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Ugaritic Lexicological Lunacy

January 18, 2009

Ever notice that there’s no standardization in Ugaritic lexicography? Obviously, everything was a bit fluid back in the early years of the field, but a sort of forced consensus occurred with Cyrus Gordon’s Ugaritic Textbook.

However, in recent years this consensus has fallen apart. Looking up a word in different Ugaritic reference tools requires one to learn several competing systems.

For example. Gregorio del Olmo Lete and Joaquin Samartín’s A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition orders their dictionary:

ʾʿbdḏgğhḥḫklmnpqrsṣštṭṯwyzẓ (with ś interspersed with s)

But, Daniel Sivan’s A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language has:

ʾbgdḏhwzẓḥḫṭyklmnsʿpṣqrštṯn (with ś interspersed with s)

Jesus-Luis Cunchillos’ A Concordance of Ugaritic Words orders the data:


One could argue that Cunchillo’s seperate entries for each ʾaleph and for the s and ś makes sense for a concordance. Yet, the major differences of Cunchillos and Sivan over against the dictionary of del Olmo Lete and Samartín is still striking. Apparently, the latter authors are following the Assyriological precedent for ordering their dictionary according to the Latin alphabet, while Cunchillos and Sivan are following Gordon in ordering according to the Hebrew alphabet.

I just wish they’d make up their mind. It’s starting to give me a headache.

  1. January 18, 2009 6:14 pm

    And Bordreuil and Pardee use the ever popular ʾbgḫdhwzḥtykšlmḏnẓsʿpṣqrṯğt more of less like the canonical Ugaritic abecedaries except with ś interspersed with s and all three alphas under ʾ.

  2. January 19, 2009 11:07 am

    Thanks, Duane! I completely forgot to mention Bordreuil and Pardee’s “ever popular” system.

    Using the Ugaritic abecedaries always has struck me a kin to using AN=anu to organize an Akkadian lexicon. It might be true to the text, but it’s a real pain in the butt.

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