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Regular version of the site

Article

From Sign to Sound: Orthographic Evidence on the Prosody of Akkadian Prepositions

Pasiphae. Rivista di filologia e antichità egee (Italy). 2021. Vol. 15. P. 29-48.

The article studies the prosody of Akkadian prepositions. The placement of prepositions within a written line of cuneiform texts is analyzed. The Old Babylonian data show that with rare exceptions the prepositions of certain type, namely those of (C)V-VC structure, like ana ‘to(wards)’ and ina ‘in’, were never written at the end of a line. This regularity is interpreted as evidence for the proclitic status of these prepositions: as the preposition formed an accentual unit with the following word, the scribes did not want to separate them by placing them on two consecutive lines. This rule was followed in the Old Babylonian texts from South Mesopotamia, but the documents from other regions of the same period treated the corresponding prepositions differently: they either conformed to South Mesopotamian patterns, but with certain exceptions, or they didn’t follow them at all. The writing habits reflected in the documents composed in later dialects, including Middle Babylonian, Middle Assyrian, Western Peripheral Akkadian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian, do not seem to show any regularity in regard to the placement of prepositions: prepositions could occupy any position within a written line.