A Grammar of Akkadian (Harvard Semitic Studies 45) 3rd Edition

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1575069050
ISBN-10: 1575069059
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Text: English --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 647 pages
  • Publisher: Eisenbrauns; 3rd edition (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575069059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575069050
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,843,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
John Huehnergard's 'Grammar of Akkadian' is an excellent book for learning a difficult ancient language. Akkadian is not a language most schools (even most seminaries) offer as part of the curriculum; hence, many people who learn this language do so via self-study -- a key to the exercises is crucial in this event, and this is available as a separate volume. Huehnergard's Grammar is divided into 38 lessons (with sub-parts), with exercises for translation.
Akkadian is a major language of the ancient world, the earliest attested language among the Semitic languages. However, all of the Semitic languages present in the modern world (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc.) derive from the Western Semitic branch; only Akkadian and Eblaite were major Eastern Semitic branches, both now extinct. The demise of Akkadian is somewhat surprising, given that it was the language of Empire for a very long time -- Akkadian most likely originated in Akkad, capital of Sargon's empire in 2300 BCE in the Fertile Crescent; it remained a primary language for over a thousand years in the region, and was continued as a literary language until the first century CE. As is natural with any long-standing and wide-spread language, there are dialects of Akkadian (think of the progress of English from Beowulf through Chaucer and Shakespeare to the present). Huehnergard's text addressses this issues, concentrating on the Old Babylonian dialect, but giving information of the Assyrian dialect. Huehnergard's introduction discusses the different dialects, as well as Akkadian's relationship to the older but linguistically unrelated language of Sumerian, with which it coexisted for many centuries.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Weaver on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you're studying (or thinking of studying) Akkadian in a university setting, you don't need anyone to recommend a text for you. But if you're thinking about studying Akkadian on your own, look no further.
This book is just about perfect for the student learning on his/her own. (To get full benefit, you really need to buy the companion "Key to a Grammar of Akkadian", by the same author.) The grammar is divided into graded lessions, and each lesson introduces 2 or 3 grammatical points. These are followed by vocabulary and exercises to test your command of the grammar just learned. Translation exercises from Akkadian to English, and English to Akkadian follow. The format is very similar to that used by Lambdin in his excellent grammars of Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, and Ge'ez. Again, the "Key to the Grammar" is indispensable; by checking your answers against the key, you'll know if you've mastered the grammar. No previous knowledge of linguistics or any other Semitic language is assumed.
After about 10 lessons, he introduces cuneiform signs, and thereafter, each lesson has a number of short readings provided in cuneiform. It's a little daunting at first...in my earlier stabs at Akkadian, I had only seen the (simpler) Neo-Assyrian versions of the signs. The author gives 3 varieties of each sign: the Old Babylonian lapidary form, the OB cursive form, and the Neo-Assyrian form.
Learning Akkadian is no easy task. This is a big book, and it's probably going to take me over a year to get through it. But the material is presented in a very accessible and straightforward manner, and each lesson builds on the material learned before. If you enjoy the intellectual challenge of learning a dead language, you'll love this book.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
English-speaking students of Akkadian have for a long time had to pick and mix their textbooks. Something out of Caplice here, something out of Marcus there, with an occasional dip into Riemschneider in translation. All of these books are admirable in many ways but at times the student is left with conflicting interpretations and, most importantly, wondering whether their answers to the examples are correct. Now, at last, there is a single volume which leads the student from the simplest aspects of the Akkadian - mostly Old Babylonian - to a level at which original research can begin. The cuneiform script is, rightly, only introduced after a basic understanding of the grammar is acquired but is otherwise mixed freely with transliterations. The appendices include an extensive wordlist, glossaries of logograms and determinatives, notes on other dialects and phonology and extensive paradigm tables. The answers to nearly all of the exercises are available in a separate volume. Now all we need is for someone to do the same for Sumerian....
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Weaver on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you're studying (or thinking of studying) Akkadian in a university setting, you don't need anyone to recommend a text for you. But if you're thinking about studying Akkadian on your own, look no further.
I'm not an academic, and I have no professional qualifications to judge this work. But I enjoy languages, and I know what works for me. This book is just about perfect for the student learning on his/her own. (To get full benefit, you really need to buy the companion "Key to a Grammar of Akkadian", by the same author.) The grammar is divided into graded lessons, and each lesson introduces 2 or 3 grammatical points. These are followed by vocabulary and exercises to test your command of the grammar just learned. Translation exercises from Akkadian to English, and English to Akkadian follow. (The format is very similar to that used by Lambdin in his excellent grammars of Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, and Ge'ez.) Again, the "Key to the Grammar" is indispensable; by checking your answers against the key, you'll know if you've mastered the grammar. No previous knowledge of linguistics or any other Semitic language is assumed.
After about 10 lessons, he introduces cuneiform signs, and thereafter, each lesson has a number of short readings provided in cuneiform. It's a little daunting at first...in my earlier stabs at Akkadian, I had only seen the (simpler) Neo-Assyrian versions of the signs. The author gives 3 varieties of each sign: the Old Babylonian lapidary form, the OB cursive form, and the Neo-Assyrian form.
Learning Akkadian is no easy task. This is a big book, and it's probably going to take me over a year to get through it. But the material is presented in a very accessible and straightforward manner, and each lesson builds on the material learned before. If you enjoy the intellectual challenge of learning a dead language, you'll love this book.
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