Two Northwest Semitic Word Studies -- By: Jesse L. Boyd III

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 40:2 (Spring 1978)
Article: Two Northwest Semitic Word Studies
Author: Jesse L. Boyd III


Two Northwest Semitic Word Studies

Jesse L. Boyd III

I. Pilka jānu in the Akkadian of Ras Shamra

1 In the Akkadian legal texts (Nougayrol: “textes juridiques”) from Ras Shamra/Ugarit the negative verb jānu negates pilku, “feudal quota.”2 3 sixteen times4 and ilku,5 one of the

synonyms for pilku at Ras Shamra,6 three times.7 In nine of the sixteen instances pilku occurs in the nominative case,8 while in seven it occurs in the accusative case.9 In all three instances ilku occurs in the nominative case. While the various attestation of pilku and ilku in the nominative case with the Middle Babylonian negative verb jānu are grammatically correct, the seven occurrences of pilka (accusative) are significantly different to warrant an explanation. The employment of the accusative with jānu cannot be successfully explained as a scribal error or as

faulty Akkadian grammar since many features of Ras Shamra Akkadian reflect foreign, especially West Semitic, influence. Rather, the occurrence of pilka jānu probably is to be understood as a reflection of Ugaritic grammar which has slipped into the Akkadian texts written at Ugarit.10

The Ugaritic construction of a negative verb with an accusative noun finds parallels in Arabic both in the usage of kāna, “to be, exist,” with an accusative,11 and, more directly related, in the similar employment of the negative verb laysa (one of the aẖawāt kāna or “sisters of kāna” all of which take the accusative12 ) “by which that of existen...

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