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Title: Canaano-Akkadian
Written By: Shlomo Izre'el
Series Title: Languages of the World/Materials 82
Description:

During the second millenium BCE, Akkadian served as the lingua franca of
the ancient Near East. An extensive body of epistolographic texts written
in this language was discovered at Tell el-Amarna, the modern name for the
ancient seat of government of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenophis IV
(Akhenaton). The majority of the Amarna letters were sent to Egypt by the
rulers of Canaanite cities which, at the time, were part of the Egyptian
empire.

While the conventional language of correspondence was nominally Akkadian,
by the Amarna period, i.e., the 14th century BCE, the Canaanite
administration had developed a kind of mixed language. This language, or
rather, linguistic continuum comprising many varieties, was based upon the
lexicon of Akkadian, with serious structural interference from the scribes'
primary languages, i.e., the spectrum of West Semitic dialects spoken in
Canaan. As a result of this language contact, all levels of the linguistic
structure were affected, especially in the domains of syntax and
morphology, creating a marked similarity between this mixed
Canaano-Akkadian diplomatic language and the indigenous West Semitic
Canaanite dialects.

Since we do not possess any substantial written record of the Canaanite
dialects prior to the first millennium BCE, the Amarna letters from Canaan
are our only source of knowledge regarding the linguistic structure of the
dialects spoken in Canaan in the second millenium BCE. The Amarna letters
yield linguistic, sociolinguistic and linguistic-cultural material that
predates both Phoenician and Hebrew as we know them from the written
records of the first millenium BCE.

The survey offered in LW/M, which sketches a concise model of the
linguistic system embodied by this corpus, lays special stress on the
interference between Akkadian and the West Semitic languages, which
resulted in the Canaano-Akkadian mixed languages and linguistic varieties.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Documentation
Subject Language(s): Akkadian
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Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 3895861264
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 92
Prices: Europe EURO 33