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All Books and Software: Language Reference: Texts, Grammars, Lexicons, Studies: Akkadian / Assyrian

A Grammar of Akkadian
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A Grammar of Akkadian

by John Huehnergard

Third edition

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Table of Contents
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In the third edition of A Grammar of Akkadian, changes have been made in the section on the nom­i­n­al morpheme -ån (§20.2) and the sections on the meaning of the D stem (§24.3) and the Gt stem (§33.1(b)); these revisions reflect recent scholarship in Akkadian grammar. For those who have earlier editions of the book, pdfs of these revisions are available here (PDF).

Other changes include minor revisions in wording in the presentation of the grammar in a few other sections; a number of new notes to some of the readings; additions to the glosses of a small number of words in the lesson vocabularies (and the Glossary and English–Akkadian word list); and updates of the resources available for the study of Akkadian, and of the bibliography.

A new appendix (F) has been added, giving Hebrew and other Semitic cognates of the Akkadian words in the lesson vocabularies. This appendix is also available here (PDF).

The pagination of the first and second editions has for the most part been retained, apart from the insertion of the new appendix and a few minor deviations elsewhere.

Product Details

Publisher: Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2011
Bibliographic info: xlii + 660 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth
Trim Size: 6 x 9



"Huehnergard's two-volume teaching grammar . . . is meticulous, thorough and up to date. The book takes the student through the grammar of Old Babylonian, including the dialect of Mari and the literary idiom, in 38 lessons. The student is introduced to the cuneiform script in Lesson Nine and encounters genuine Akkadian texts, as opposed to made-up sentences, in Lesson Thirteen. In the course of the following 25 chapters, as the grammar unfolds, he tackles an impressive selection of passages and texts, ranging from laws of Hammurapi to letters, contracts, royal inscriptions and omen compendia.

"...Before publication this grammar had a long history of use in at least 14 North American universities. Now that it is published it will surely enjoy a very much wider use and a very much longer currency" -- Andrew R. George in Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies, vol. 62, no. 1 (1999)

"This book is an excellent introduction to a morphologically complex language that used a difficult, foreign-derived and only partially-adapted writing system.

"The text does not assume previous Semitic language experience, a good feature. An appendix gives some comparisons to commonly-studied cognate languages, for the truly curious.

"The pedagogy is very structured and formal, normal for ancient-language courses, so experience in any other ancient Near Eastern language, Latin or (any pre-Byzantine stage of) Greek would prepare students well to use this text efficiently.

"The text makes students work read real texts from cuneiform sources as early as possible, which is the best method for this language.

"The sign lists, romanized glossaries and Sumerian-in-Akkadian logogram lists are excellent, except for one thing:

"The ordering of the cuneiform sign list does not match the ordering of either Von Soden's or Labat's sign-list dictionaries. Students who pass this course will have to use one or both eventually, so why not familiarize students with both as early as possible?" --Steven Blackwelder, Bachelor of Arts in linguistics, UCLA.

"The present textbook of Akkadian grew out of almost two decades of the author's classroom experience, enriched by suggestions from other instructors who had used the handout version of this grammar. . . . The author skillfully uses the best insights from linguistically oriented studies of Akkadian in handling issues like topicalization and operations of word order.

"The presentation of the material reflects a pedagogical approach in the "Lambdin tradition." The author fully acknowledges his debt to Lambdin. The complicated morphology of the verbs is broken up into small doses presented gradually according to levels of difficulty, from the learner's point of view rather than the scholar's. . . . Thanks to the user-friendly paradigms and ample word lists, this textbook can also serve as a kind of vade mecum of Akkadian for those who have acquired a working knowledge of the language. The Akkadian-English and English-Akkadian word lists contain a substantial vocabulary of Old Babylonian Akkadian. These, in combination with the lists of signs and logograms, are a great help to learners who would otherwise have to consult the bulky Akkadian dictionaries and the standard sign lists that are not always easily available. . . . Huehnergard has built a solid yet accessible road into Akkadian for serious students. Congratulations to all those who use this textbook to enter into, or even just to taste, the fascinating world of Assyriology." --Agustinus Gianto, Pontifical Biblical Institute in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 60, 1998.

"John Huehnergard, professor at Harvard University, is to be thanked for providing for us the most thorough introduction to Akkadian in any language. . . . After successfully completing the volume, one would be very well prepared to read texts from numerous periods in various literary genres. I just wish the volumes were available when I studied Akkadian. They should be in all academic biblical studies libraries, and budding Hebrew students would be well rewarded by working through them." -- David W. Baker in Ashland Theological Journal 31, 1999

For those learning Akkadian this work will prove an excellent tool for becoming familiar with its grammar, writing, vocabulary, style and the overall character of cuneiform texts. Huehnergard's exposition of the grammatical facts is precise, comprehensive and well organized. . . . Actually, not only learners of Akkadian, but also advanced students working with cuneiform texts will profit from using this book. This is especially due to the detailed information Huehnergard provides about the use of grammatical categories of Akkadian. . . . Without doing injustice to other textbooks of Akkadian, we can undoubtedly regard Huehnergard's A Grammar of Akkadian as the best introductory grammar of Akkadian available, not to mention its value as a concise handbook for philologists. --N. J. C. Kouwenberg in Bibliotheca Orientalis, September/December 1998

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