Talk:Akkadian language

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Outdated Grammars[edit]

I wonder why has somebody posted all these woefully outdated XIX and early XX century grammars here. It can be of no use to anyone. Instead it creates an impression to somebody unfamiliar with the subject that all the grammatical and vocabulary readings in these books are correct which is simply not true. Yet someone has deleted the link to a very useful collection of scholarly oriented and accurate set of cuneiform fonts. ( I can't understand the logic behind this.

Official language?[edit]

It's confusing to people to first see the official language box, but then read that it was official, and isn't currently. I recommend removing that box and placing the information on another section in the article, or rename if former official status at least. IlStudioso 00:28, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree, the "official status" block is only for languages that have current official status, which means something different than it did in the 2nd millennium BCE. (Taivo (talk) 00:51, 20 February 2009 (UTC))


I understand that there has been/is a revert war on BCE/BC in this article, and so I'm not going to do anything to it, but having both systems present in the one article is confusing and looks unprofessional. Could the next person who changes sets about to change it, for whatever reason, please be systematic?Zjanes (talk) 23:39, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. I made everything uniform with BCE/CE (which was the oldest pattern for this article). (Taivo (talk) 01:27, 16 December 2008 (UTC))

removed from article[edit]

Removed from article:

Add something about the 4x4 verb stem system, as well as ventive suffixes, -ma suffixes, and such. Also flesh out inflections, mention non-productivity of dual as well as accusative/genitive falling together as objective in dual/plural. Also mention status absolutus, status rectus, and status constructus, which are arguably inflections and certainly morphological forms.


Professial Akkadian reference books:

  • Markus Hilgert, Akkadisch in der Ur III-Zeit (IMGULA 5. Münster: Rhema, 2002)--Standforder (talk) 01:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • John Huehnergard, A grammar of Akkadian (Harvard Semitic studies 45. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1997)--Standforder (talk) 01:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Ignace J. Gelb, Old Akkadian writing and grammar (Materials for the Assyrian dictionary 2. Chicago, 1952)--Standforder (talk) 01:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)


This article seems contradictory because it says of the Akkadian language: " used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate". How can it be "derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian", but then Sumerian is referred to as "an unrelated language isolate". If it is derived from the Sumerian, then how can the Sumerian be unrelated ?

The writing system is derived from the writing system used by Akkadian although the languages themselves are unrelated, just as the English writing system is derived from that used by Latin despite English not being derived from Latin. How can we rephrase that to be less confusing for novice readers? Ben (talk) 11:37, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Maybe something like " used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate". By the way, English is partly derived from Latin; a large number of English words is ultimately of Latin origin. -- Lindert (talk) 14:45, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the rephrasing -- I like that proose. Akkadian had a similar proportion of Sumerian loanwords. That does not make them related, however, any more than loanwords make English and Latin relelated. Ben (talk) 14:22, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I guess you're right, English is technically a Germanic language, but over half of all English words are of Latin or French (derived from Latin) origin. And besides, English and Latin are definitely related if you go further back, as they are both part of the Indo-European language family. -- Lindert (talk) 15:28, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. And now that we've pedanted each-other to death, I'll go add your wording to the article. Ben (talk) 19:06, 19 March 2012 (UTC) (Looks like you beat me to it -- excellent! Ben (talk) 19:08, 19 March 2012 (UTC))

Earliest attestations?[edit]

Are the earliest written samples of Akkadian found at Akkad in Mesopotamia or at Mari, Syria? The Mari article states that the inhabitants spoke Akkadian, and the tablets there are apparently pretty old.

How old are the Syrian tablets, and how old are the Mesopotamian tablets? That would help more than just posting anonymously that they're "pretty old" David80 13:53, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

The oldest attestations come from Muqaiyir according to Dr. Jonathan Taylor of the curator (Cuneiform Collections)The Department of the Middle East The British Museum. He has also said, "There are no clear traces of pre-Sumerian influence on Akkadian."--Standforder (talk) 01:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Grammar Section[edit]

I've added some new information to the grammar section, but it still needs a lot of work. Feel free to clean it up however you see fit.

Standards of Measure[edit]

Rktect 8/9/05
I'm looking for any difference betwen Sumerian and Akkadian
standards of measure at Kish, Agade, Sipparta, Ashur, Mari, Ebla
for the following periods
Early Dynastic I
Early Dynastic II
Early Dynastic III
starting when Sargon alludes to the ships of Melluha, Makkan and Dilmun
Docking at the quays of Agade and ending with the Neo Sumerian revival.
In particular I'm looking for the differences between the standards
of Naram Sin and Gudea.

Questions from a linguist[edit]

As a linguist who knows nothing about Akkadian, I have a couple questions/ requests for clarification.

Under "Writing system", the article says "cuneiform was a syllabary writing system — i.e. a consonant plus vowel comprised one writing unit — frequently inappropriate for a Semitic language made up of triconsonantal roots (i.e. three consonants minus any vowels)." I'm not understanding what the form of roots has to do with writing texts in the language. Sentences are not normally formed with verb roots, but with inflected verbs. As such, a verb would have at least some vowels (well, you can have vowel-less words in languages like Salish or Berber, even occasionally in English, but it's not typical of Semitic languages to have vowel-less conjugated words). So the point about roots being (usually) triconsonantal seems irrelevant. What *might* be relevant (although I'm sure it's hard to tell with an extinct language) is the existence of geminate consonants or consonant clusters in conjugated verbs; but that has nothing to do with the roots, AFAIK. Or am I missing something?

Under "Grammar", it says "[Akkadian had] unique verb conjugations for each first, second, and third person pronoun." I'm not sure what it means to have verb conjugations for *pronouns*, or what it means to have *unique* verb conjugations for each person. Maybe what is meant is that verbs were conjugated for the person of the subject? ("Subject" is relevant here, since there are many languages that also conjugate transitive verbs for the person of the object or other verbal arguments.)

Also "Adjectives are declined exactly like nouns." Is there any indication that adjectives differed from nouns in any way (in the syntax maybe)? There are plenty of languages in the world which do not distinguish adjectives as a part of speech distinct from nouns (or distinct from verbs), and for all I know, Akkadian might be one. (Remember, I know nothing about Akkadian!)

"There are three tenses: present, preterite and permansive. Present tense indicates incomplete action and preterite tense indicates complete action, while permansive tense expresses a state or condition and usually takes a particle." It sounds to me like Akkadian did not have tense, it had aspect: maybe completive vs. incompletive aspect. I'm not sure what this "permansive" is, but maybe a stative aspect? And I don't understand what it means for the permansive to "take" a particle--on the assumption that there were many particles, is it known what caused a particular permansive verb to take one or the other particle? Lexical? Or is there a distinction in meaning? Are the particles functioning something like auxiliary verbs do (like modals in English, maybe)?

Mcswell (talk) 22:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)


According to "Extinct Languages" (Friedrich, Johannes - ISBN 0-88029-338-1, 1993 translation of the 1957 German edition), symbols can be an ideogram, a determinative or a phonetic symbol sign. He goes on to say that another form of polyvariance - less common in earlier Akkadian but more frequent in later forms - was "polyphony", where the same sign represented phonetically different syllables. (Thus the sign meaning "kid" could also represent "sab" or "lil".)

That's a different kind of variation from the ideogram (also called sumerogram)/determinative/phonetic variation. Polyphony is when a sign has several phonetic values. A sign can also be used as two, or all three, of the different uses. — Arnsholt (talk) 17:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


I've updated the references section with a few current editions. I'll takle an expansion of the gramar section soon.
Genesis 03:23, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Gender in Akkadian?[edit]

The grammar section seems to contradict itself:

"Akkadian [...] possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), distinguished even in second person pronouns (you-masc., you-fem.) and verb conjugations [...]

Akkadian nouns are declined according to gender, number and case. There are three genders; masculine, feminine and common. Only a very few nouns belong to the common gender. [...]"

So does Akkadian have two genders or three?

Khepidjemwa'atnefru 04:35, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Answer: Akkadian has two genders, masculine and feminine. Common gender refers to words or forms that do not distinguish gender (i.e., are used for both genders), such as the first person pronouns (anāku, etc.) or the third person singular verbal forms (in Babylonian; e.g., iprus for both masculine and feminine contrasted with the Assyrian and Old Akkadian iprus/taprus distinction between masculine and feminine (the third person singular stative/permanisive forms, however, do distingish gender: paris [m.] / parsat [f.]). "Common" is not a gender but is a "both/either" category, not a "neither" category as "neuter" would be.

Robert Whiting, 28 JUL 2006


The "Akkadian litterature" links include Enheduanna. She was called the daughter of Sargon of Akkad, but she wrote in Sumerian, as far as I know, and "Akkadian litterature" in an article on the Akkadian language would mean "litterature in the Akkadian language". So I think Enheduanna shouldn't be listed here. -- 21:44, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I find Akkadian language close to arabic languages from words


I'm considering replacing the current article with a translation of the one from Norwegian wikipedia (Akkadisk). As far as I can make out, the article is ultimately derived from the German article, by way of Swedish. All three articles have been featured articles on their respective Wikipedias, and look like high-quality articles to me. Any comments? — Arnsholt (talk) 17:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Go for it, but please retain the English bibliography and the language template. (Taivo (talk) 18:57, 13 May 2008 (UTC))

article scope[edit]

this article has as its scope the entire history of the language, not just its earliest "Akkadian" phase (2300 to 2000 BC). In the Old Assyrian/Babylonian to Neo-Assyrian/Babylonian period (2000 to 600 BC), it isn't usually known as "Akkadian". I don't object to the article residing at this title, but the relations need to be made clear. dab (𒁳) 17:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I changed the introduction to match with the title. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ghksono (talkcontribs) 18:10, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

BC/BCE, Stop the Revert War[edit]

Wikipedia policy has been fairly uniform now for a couple of years. If an article is "historically" BC it stays BC. If an article is "historically" BCE it stays BCE. This article has been BCE for at least a couple of years now. It is a BCE article. (Taivo (talk) 13:02, 1 June 2008 (UTC))

Hopefully cleaned up some confusion[edit]

The article seemed to add a reference to the affricate theory as an afterthought. Tried to clarify the one cited piece of evidence that points to the "traditional" š, etc. sibilant reconstructions as incorrect and better described as affricates, but I didn't want to paste in all of Dyakonov's work, which also compares loanword interchange all pointing to most of the relevant cuneiform symbols referring to affricate sounds.

( is an abbreviated translation of the relatively dense and impenetrable originals: I. M. Dyakonov, Akkadskij jazyk, - in: Jazyki Azii i Afriki/Semitskie jazyki. No. IV/1 in the series: Jazyki Azii i Afriki, Moskva, Glavnaja redakcija vostochnoj literatury, 1991 and Vvedenije. Afrazijskie jazyki--ibid.

In the translation, which is in ASCII(!), "s" represents a sibilant, "c" an affricate, "c." an emphatic affricate, and "3" a voiced affricate, while the place information is given by the following "`" for lateral and "^" for palatal. One practically has to know Russian to glean this from the English translation!)

A slightly more comprehensible version, though nothing like as comprehensive, is found in The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum, by Roger D. Woodard, sec. 2.4/2.5 of the description of Akkadian (pp. 89-94). Mellsworthy (talk) 01:40, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


Note that there are broken plurals in Maltese. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:45, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

In adding back that particular sentence I've purged the mention of Maltese. It clearly does use broken plurals. Mo-Al (talk) 03:06, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

suggest revision for table comparing Akkadian - Arabic - Hebrew[edit]

In the table under the section "Proto-Semitic phonemes and their correspondences among Akkadian, Arabic and Tiberian Hebrew" there are places where several proto-Semitic phonemes have the same reflex in Akkadian, and this simplified correspondence is made clear by the removal of the proto-Semitic separation-lines, but in the case of the other languages, especially Hebrew, the proto-Semitic separation-lines are still there, thus making it a bit more difficult to compare with Akkadian or other columns. Can those unnecessary horizontal lines be removed, please? Jakob37 (talk) 03:00, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

I guess it looks better now.--Xevorim (talk) 07:06, 18 October 2009 (UTC) - Beautiful, AND informative! Jakob37 (talk) 23:59, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
One more little thing: the "ayin" in the table looked so tiny, more like a little apostrophe than the traditional appearance of the transliterated "ayin", so I changed it to something not too big or too small (at the right end of the Wiki IPA list), but if possible it should look bold like the others - and the Hebrew needs changing too.... Jakob37 (talk) 00:13, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

The apostrophe certainly appears tiny, but that's how the ayin is transliterated according to the DMG and ISO 259. I have also added the IPA character to clarify things.--Xevorim (talk) 03:00, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

the emphatics[edit]

1) The transcriptions in the table do not seem to be standard; e.g. instead of , shouldn't it be  ? - And there is some controversy, is there not, about the actual pronunciation: were they ejectives, as your preferred symbols seem to indicate, or pharyngeals (the symbols in parentheses)? Perhaps a short discussion of the controversy would help; I'd work on it, but it's hard to get the materials here in Taiwan. Jakob37 (talk) 00:42, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

You're right. Akkadian emphatics are reconstructed as ejectives. Hetzron writes: "The dissimilatory change of one emphatic consonant to its non-emphatic counterpart in Akkadian roots containing two emphatics suggests that Akkadian emphatics were ejectives". As such I have corrected the table and added a citation. --Xevorim (talk) 03:00, 19 October 2009 (UTC)


Is it correct to term it in such a manner? I don't think semitic languages were spoken in North Africa during the times of the Akkadian Empire. - Yorkshirian (talk) 22:41, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Afro-Asiatic is the name of a specific language family, much like Indo-European. The name has a regional basis, but there are Indo-European languages spoken, for example, in South Africa. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:13, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Bad example-English and Afrikaans are both the result of direct modern European colonization in South Africa - it didn't "migrate" there naturally over the course of millennia.HammerFilmFan (talk) 07:56, 7 January 2011 (UTC) HammerFilmFan


I've moved the title to Assyro-Babylonian as it appears to be far more common.

Izzedine 06:58, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

No, Izzedine, it is not far more common. Linguists refer to this language as Akkadian almost universally. You cannot use a Google search as evidence. The problem you are encountering is that there are two stages to the history of Akkadian--the period before the two dialects of Assyrian and Babylonian differentiated, and the period after. The pre-separation period is labelled as Old Akkadian. Then the two dialects are individually labelled Assyrian and Babylonian. But the language as a whole is always labelled in linguistic literature as Akkadian. Akkadian is used for the language as a whole and Old Akkadian, Old Babylonian, Old Assyrian, Middle Babylonian, Middle Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian, and Late Babylonian as labels for the different temporal and geographical divisions. Do not move this without submitting a Move Request, soliciting input, and providing your evidence (which does not include a simple Google search). Standard references include Giorgio Buccellati ("Akkadian," The Semitic Languages (1997, pp. 69ff)), John Huehnergard and Christopher Woods ("Akkadian and Eblaite," The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages (2004, pp. 218ff.)), and Jerrold S. Cooper ("Sumerian and Akkadian," The World's Writing Systems (1996, pp. 37ff.)). This does not include the many language classifications that exclusively use "Akkadian". Not a single one of these sources even uses "Assyro-Babylonian" as an option. (Taivo (talk) 07:34, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
Linguists constitute a minority, and we go by common usage.. and Google searches are always used to gauge prevalence of terms. You can't have your cake and eat it Taivo. I'm not advocating uniforming references in the article to match the title though, given that "Akkadian" is well-established and as you note preferred by linguists. An alternative title suggestion then - Akkadian language (Assyro-Babylonian). Out of interest, would you know what the Akkadian name for the language is? Izzedine 07:58, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
In an article about language, linguists are the most important group to consider. Look at WP:NCON and you will see that raw Google searches are not to be considered as primary evidence for a name. The article title should never include parenthesized material unless the title is ambiguous, which this one is not. The first sentence of the lead can contain the alternate name, "Assyro-Babylonian", but the article should remain Akkadian since that is the name used by linguists and the name that is most commonly encountered in linguistic literature. I will oppose any move out of the standard linguistic name of this language--Akkadian. If you want to move it, submit a move request and submit your evidence and I will submit mine. (Taivo (talk) 08:03, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
A book search proves that the term is widely-used, about a third as much as "Akkadian". Izzedine 08:12, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
This is only one piece of acceptable evidence and should never be used without due care and a careful examination of the results. Other equally important pieces of evidence are usage in encyclopedias, usage in academia, usage in news media, etc. If you want to submit a move request, then do so and we'll gather the relevant evidence. (Taivo (talk) 08:19, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
Actually, considering (what you explained) about the linguistic classification, I agree with keeping it Akkadian, but I think Akkadian language (Assyro-Babylonian) is worth considering. I remember a few years ago on Wikipedia I had to search for a while before I could find out what language the Babylonians spoke, and then my surprise that the Assyrians and Babylonians both spoke the same language. Izzedine 08:23, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia discourages the use of parenthetical terms as article titles unless it is a case of disambiguating things. Here "language" disambiguates from culture and other things Akkadian, but there is no other Akkadian language. Alternate names should be in the first sentence and bolded (which Assyro-Babylonian already is). Anyone typing "Assyro-Babylonian language" in the Wikipedia search box is going to come here anyway. I also notice that both "Babylonian language" and "Assyrian language" redirect here as well. So that should cover anyone looking for that information today. (Taivo (talk) 08:33, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
Fair point. Izzedine 08:40, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Re the "native name". I'm not a specialist on Akkadian, but I doubt that it is known. It's not one of the most common vocabulary items to be encountered, especially in ancient texts. (Taivo (talk) 08:05, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
I'm sure it's known, considering how much written material has been discovered. Izzedine 08:12, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that people may have had a name that they used for their local dialect, but rarely did they lump these together into a common language. During Old Akkadian, there may have been a common name for the language of the Akkadian Empire, but once the Assyrian and Babylonian dialects differentiated, there was probably not a name for the common language--only for each dialect. Look at Russian and Ukrainian today. These "languages" are mutually intelligible, but there is no common name for the two as a unit (other than the classificatory name used by linguists--"East Slavic"). I have seen Ukrainian speakers and Russian speakers understanding each other fairly well, but when asked what they are speaking, the Russian speaker says "Russian" and the Ukrainian speaker says "Ukrainian". This was undoubtedly the case in the past as well. (Taivo (talk) 08:23, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
I see what you mean, that's a good explanation. Izzedine 08:43, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
The name by which the language was known to it's natives is Lishanu Akkaditu, Lishanu from the common Semitic term for tongue (see the Classical Arabic cognate Lisan) and Akkaditu being the nominative form of Akkadian — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Ref? Cite? HammerFilmFan (talk) 17:06, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Iraq did not exist in antiquity[edit]

Iraq did not exist in antiquity and using its modern boundaries as measures of extent when the ancient language was used beyond its borders is not really helpful. There is no such thing as "Ancient Iraq"--it was "Mesopotamia" or part of the "Near East". Iraq came into being in the modern era. Assyria and Babylonia extended outside the boundaries of modern Iraq (as did the Akkadian Empire), so equating these regions with the boundaries of the modern country is not accurate. The most common usage among historians, etc., for this region is Near East or Mesopotamia (the latter term is less Eurocentric if that is a concern). (Taivo (talk) 08:47, 23 November 2009 (UTC))

Tell me why it is acceptable to use the terms Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Iran and Ancient China, but not Ancient Iraq?
The argument that there was minor overspill of Iraq's borders is a nonsense. "Ancient Greece" wasn't a single state and absolutely did not correspond to modern Greece's exact borders, nor did "Ancient Egypt" correspond to modern Egypt's exact borders, nor did "Ancient China", nor did any of them. As a matter of fact, modern Iraq corresponds with its ancient states to a sharply greater extant than many other countries. This is Iraqi history. You cannot use the extant of empires as an argument because expansion is a function of empires, the empires originated in and were ruled from Iraq, they were Ancient Iraqi empires - in the context of the modern unified Iraq. The Egyptian Empire extended outside of Egypt, Ancient Greece used to cover the western half of Anatolia, the Greek empires extended far outside of modern Greece, and so on.
Simply because there wasn't a state called Iraq doesn't make an argument (notwithstanding the city of Uruk is thought to be the etymological origin of Iraq), because there wasn't a state called Egypt either, or Greece, or China, or "Mesopotamia". I've never seen any evidence that the so-called "Babylonians" called their country "Babylonia". The term "Ancient Iraq" is widely-used interchangeably with "Mesopotamia" [6],[7],[8],[9],[10]. Granted, Mesopotamia is the more prevalent term, but using both terms only adds context and is square scholarship. Izzedine 10:05, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Ancient Iraq did not exist. Indeed, when you click on the link to "Ancient Iraq" it goes to Mesopotamia. Greece, Egypt, China, and Iran/Persia all actually existed in one form or another in ancient times (and were actually called by those names). Iraq did not exist. Look at the published histories of the ancient world and you will not find the term "Iraq" except as a reference to the modern country and modern boundaries. The books you googled all speak of the ancient world in reference to the modern country and its boundaries, not to an ancient entity. We could just as easily write a book about "Ancient Andorra" which described Paleo- and Neolithic sites. "Iraq" did not exist in ancient times, unlike Greece, Egypt, China, and Persia. And, to remind you, the "usually called Mesopotamia" should be a clue to you that common usage is Mesopotamia. And, as well, Mesopotamia also encompasses eastern Turkey, western Iran, and eastern Syria. This is a well-known, widely-understood, and more commonly occurring term than "ancient Iraq", going back to usages 2500 years ago. "Iraq" is a completely modern term. (Taivo (talk) 10:57, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
No, you are very mistaken. Iraq is not a completely modern term at all, the Iraqis have called their land "Iraq" since antiquity, since at least Sassanid times, this is attested. As a matter of fact, "Mesopotamia" is the invented term for Ancient Iraq because Iraq was under Ottoman rule in the 19th century when European archaeologists began exploring in Iraq. Now Iraq is a sovereign state (and helped the Allies defeat the Ottoman Empire to gain independance). Actually, "Greece" did not exist in ancient times, there was the Delian League, Macedonia, Sparta, the Hellenistic civilization, etc. "Iran" did not exist, there was Elam, Medes, and various Persian empires. "China" consisted of lots of small dynasties. And if you're going to now try and shift your argument to language, the modern Egyptians don't speak Ancient Egyptian. I would advise you to be careful when discussing cultural matters Taivo. Cultural imperialism and insensitivity cause offense. I have offered a compromise where both terms can be used. Try not to ignore responses too, you seem to have ignored much of what I explained in my previous comment. Izzedine 12:00, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

In reality, it is fair to use "Iraq" for periods after about AD 1200, but in medieval times the term must be used with care, as it was not coterminous with the area of modern Iraq, there was ʿIrāq ʿArabī and ʿIrāq ʿajamī, which included much of modern Iraq and als much of modern western Iran, but not modern Northern Iraq. "Iraq" can only be used unambiguosly and without debate from periods after AD 1700 or so, or preferably only for times after 1921. Why? Because this is English Wikipedia, not Arabic Wikipedia. The meaning of Arabic ʿIrāq is irrelevant for usage of English Iraq, which is a loanword and as such does not necessarily have the same meaning as the source term in the original language. The OED defines the meaning of the English term Iraqi as "A native or inhabitant of Iraq, a republic in the Persian Gulf, formerly (before 23 Aug. 1921) known as Mesopotamia", unambiguously stating that in English usage, "Mesopotamia" is the term of choice for referring to the region in contexts of periods predating 1921. Thank you. --dab (𒁳) 11:58, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

the rudeness is entirely yours. You can expect to be corrected politely once or twice, or even four times, but at some point your insistence in spite of all warnings and corrections becomes simple WP:DISRUPT, and disruptive behaviour is rude. --dab (𒁳) 12:05, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
There has been nothing disruptive about my behaviour here. You are being disruptive and uncivil in your manner though. You're jumping to malevolant conclusions as usual. Izzedine 12:21, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
nonsense. You have been doing unilateral edits and moves to push your "ancient Iraq" thing for more than a year. You have been asked to stop this again and again. You refuse to comply, and you continue to push your patriotism in spite of every wiki principle. I am trying to contain the damage you are doing. Nothing personal and no "malevolence" implied, I do not take any interest in you or your account, you are just one of hundreds of patriots I have been keeping track of. If you cannot follow the rules, you'll end up blocked, it's as simple as that. --dab (𒁳) 15:11, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) As far as I'm concerned, this version is acceptable to me and the matter can be closed. (Taivo (talk) 16:24, 23 November 2009 (UTC))

Agreed. \//\ 20:56, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

it is not acceptable to me, for a number of perfectly good reasons. If Izzedine wants to make controversial changes to this article, let him present an argument and seek consensus under WP:BRD like everyone else. --dab (𒁳) 20:11, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Izzedine, I'll leave the article discussion between you and Dbachmann, but your user signature without a user name and link to a user page and user talk page is unacceptable. You must leave the links to your user page and talk page. If you felt ignored before, without a user talk page link, you're going to be more ignored now than if you were an anon IP. (Taivo (talk) 22:01, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
It gives users the option in preferences whether to have a link or not, so it's not unacceptable or it wouldn't provide you the option, and clicking on the history tab is how users would reach someone without a link. Anyway, if you're done i'm done, I have no desire to entertain Dbachmann. \//\ (talk) 22:28, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Although I'm unaware of the wikipedia standards regarding "Ancient X" names, at least two well-respected Assyriological books are titled "Ancient Iraq". It's not used as much in archaeological/linguistic circles as "Mesopotamia", but it's certianly not unheard of. Ben (talk) 23:48, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
because the word "iraq" is less than a hundred years old so it should be refered to ANCIENT ASSYRIA . -- 16:38, 16 November 2011
Heh. Not quite. The word itself is centuries old, and Assyria is only part of the northern area of "Iraq." HammerFilmFan (talk) 15:48, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Vowel Chart[edit]

The vowel chart seems inverted with respect to "open" and "closed" vowels. Typically 'i' and 'u' refer to closed vowels while 'a' refers to some type of open vowel. I don't know enough to know where the mistake is, but there seems to be a problem there. Artificialintel (talk) 20:27, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. 4pq1injbok (talk) 16:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Font Display Issues[edit]

I have Unicode fonts activated and quite a good multilingual font installed but akkadian is one of those rare times the foreign characters don't display for me, so I assume this would be the case for many readers too. Is there a free / open-source font we could put as a recommendation to install? |Moemin05 (talk) 10:51, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

What we have seems to be at the bottom of Cuneiform (Unicode block); see also the section at the top of this discussion page... AnonMoos (talk) 18:01, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Akkadian is perhaps not the oldest attested Semitic language...Canaanitic?[edit]

According to an article on, Canaanitic is the oldest attested of the Semitic languages.

"Prof. Steiner, a past fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University and a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, has deciphered a number of Semitic texts in various Egyptian scripts over the past 25 years. In his Hebrew University lecture, he provided the interpretation for Semitic passages in Egyptian texts that were discovered more than a century ago, inscribed on the subterranean walls of the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara in Egypt. The pyramid dates from the 24th century B.C.E., but Egyptologists agree that the texts are older. The dates proposed for them range from the 25th to the 30th centuries B.C.E. No continuous Semitic texts from this period have ever been deciphered before.
The passages, serpent spells written in hieroglyphic characters, had puzzled scholars who tried to read them as if they were ordinary Egyptian texts. In August, 2002, Prof. Steiner received an email message from Robert Ritner, professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago, asking whether any of them could be Semitic. "I immediately recognized the Semitic words for 'mother snake,'" said Steiner. "Later it became clear that the surrounding spells, composed in Egyptian rather than Semitic, also speak of the mother snake, and that the Egyptian and Semitic texts elucidate each other."
Although written in Egyptian characters, the texts turned out to be composed in the Semitic language spoken by the Canaanites in the third millennium B.C.E., a very archaic form of the languages later known as Phoenician and Hebrew. The Canaanite priests of the ancient city of Byblos, in present-day Lebanon, provided these texts to the kings of Egypt.
The port city of Byblos was of vital importance for the ancient Egyptians. It was from there that they imported timber for construction and resin for mummification. The new discovery shows that they also imported magical spells to protect royal mummies against poisonous snakes that were thought to understand Canaanite. Although the Egyptians viewed their culture as far superior to that of their neighbors, their morbid fear of snakes made them open to the borrowing of Semitic magic.
"This finding should be of great interest to cultural historians," said Prof. Steiner. "Linguists, too, will be interested in these texts. They show that Proto-Canaanite, the common ancestor of Phoenician, Moabite, Ammonite and Hebrew, existed already in the third millennium B.C.E as a language distinct from Aramaic, Ugaritic and the other Semitic languages. And they provide the first direct evidence for the pronunciation of Egyptian in this early period." The texts will also be important to biblical scholars, since they shed light on several rare words in the Bible, he said.
"This is a sensational discovery," said Moshe Bar-Asher, Bialik Professor of Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University and president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. "It is the earliest attestation of a Semitic language, in general, and Proto-Canaanite, in particular."" A.Tamar Chabadi (talk) 22:54, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Very interesting, but note it says the text is "Proto-Canaanite", not "Canaanitic"... I am very interested but could not find any update at that link, anything on this since '07? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 23:31, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Til Eulenspiegel! Well, I use those terms synonymously. Proto-Canaanite is often used of early Phoenician and early Hebrew...I just say Canaanitic which is purposefully general, but also specific in not implicating other Northwest Semitic languages. The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia edited by Roger D. Woodard (2008)... mentions the paper on page 4 of Chapter 1. Cf. Also... In searching through JSTOR, Mr. Steiner has other papers on similar topics. A.Tamar Chabadi (talk) 13:28, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Til Eulenspiegel! Moved it to the Semitic languages talk page.