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Kanišite Hittite

The Earliest Attested Record of Indo-European

Alwin Kloekhorst

In Kanišite Hittite Alwin Kloekhorst discusses the ethno-linguistic make-up of Kaniš (Central Anatolia, modern-day Kültepe), the most important Anatolian mercantile centre during the kārum-period (ca. 1970-1710 BCE), when Assyrian merchants dominated the trade in Anatolia. Especially by analysing the personal names of local individuals attested in Old Assyrian documents from Kaniš, Alwin Kloekhorst demonstrates that the main language spoken there was a dialect of Hittite that was closely related to but nevertheless distinct from the Hittite language as spoken in the later Hittite Kingdom. This book offers a full account of all onomastic material and other linguistic data of Kanišite Hittite, which constitute the oldest attested record of any Indo-European language.

Ancient Texts and Modern Readers

Studies in Ancient Hebrew Linguistics and Bible Translation

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Edited by Gideon Kotzé, Christian S. Locatell and John A. Messarra

The chapters of this volume address a variety of topics that pertain to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts, as well as tools or resources that can facilitate contemporary audiences’ interpretation of these ancient writings and their language. In this regard, they cover subjects related to the fields of ancient Hebrew linguistics and Bible translation. The chapters apply linguistic insights and theories to elucidate elements of ancient texts for modern readers, investigate how ancient texts help modern readers to interpret features in other ancient texts, and suggest ways in which translations can make the language and conceptual worlds of ancient texts more accessible to modern readers. In so doing, they present the results of original research, identify new lines and topics of inquiry, and make novel contributions to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts.

Contributors are Alexander Andrason, Barry L. Bandstra, Reinier de Blois, Lénart J. de Regt, Gideon R. Kotzé, Geoffrey Khan, Christian S. Locatell, Kristopher Lyle, John A. Messarra, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, Jacobus A. Naudé, Daniel Rodriguez, Eep Talstra, Jeremy Thompson, Cornelius M. van den Heever, Herrie F. van Rooy, Gerrit J. van Steenbergen, Ernst Wendland, Tamar Zewi.

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Sylvain Patri

The phonetical and phonological interpretation of Hittite is exceptionally complicated. This is due to the data being accessible only through a writing system symbolizing the spoken chain by signs, which does not prejudge the sound form of the units represented, nor the relations of linearity they maintain with each other.
This book is the first comprehensive study of Hittite phonology conducted from a descriptive perspective and the first to use the results of experimental phonetics and phonological typology. In spite of problems probably destined to remain unsolved, this study shows that it is possible to rationally analyze a description of the phonological structure of words.

Targum Song of Songs and Late Jewish Literary Aramaic

Language, Lexicon, Text, and Translation

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Andrew W. Litke

In Targum Song of Songs and Late Jewish Literary Aramaic, Andrew W. Litke offers the first language analysis of Targum Song of Songs. The Targum utilizes grammatical and lexical features from different Aramaic dialects, as is the case with other Late Jewish Literary Aramaic (LJLA) texts. The study is laid out as a descriptive grammar and glossary, and in the analysis, each grammatical feature and lexical item is compared with the pre-modern Aramaic dialects and other exemplars of LJLA. By clearly laying out the linguistic character of this Targum in this manner, Litke is able to provide added clarity to our understanding of LJLA more broadly. Litke also provides a new transcription and translation of the Paris Héb. 110 manuscript.

Biblical Hebrew in Context

Essays in Semitics and Old Testament Texts in Honour of Professor Jan P. Lettinga

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Gert Kwakkel and Wolter H. Rose

For half a century Jan P. Lettinga (1921), Professor emeritus of Semitic Languages at the Theological University Kampen (Broederweg), greatly influenced the teaching of Biblical Hebrew in the Faculties of Theology, Religious Studies and Semitic Languages in the Netherlands and Belgium by his widely used grammar. This volume honours his legacy and reputation as a Semitist. Lettinga always asked how a historical approach of the Semitic languages and literature would contribute to their understanding, and how this elucidates our reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. Biblical Hebrew in Context applies this approach to issues reflecting the full breadth of Lettinga’s interests: Mesopotamian and Biblical Law, the history, grammar and teaching of Hebrew and Aramaic, and the translation and interpretation of Ugaritic and Old Testament texts.

The Reconfiguration of Hebrew in the Hellenistic Period

Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira at Strasbourg University, June 2014

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Edited by Jan Joosten, Daniel Machiela and Jean-Sébastien Rey

The present volume of proceedings offers cutting-edge research on the Hebrew language in the late Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Fourteen specialists of ancient Hebrew illuminate various aspects of the language, from phonology through grammar and syntax to semantics and interpretation. The research furthers the exegesis of biblical and non-biblical texts, it helps determine the chronological outline of Hebrew literature, and contributes to a better understanding of the sociolinguistic aspects of the language in the period of the Second Temple. Hebrew did not die out after the Babylonian exile, but continued to be used in speaking and writing in a variety of settings.

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Ambjörn Sjörs

In Historical Aspects of Standard Negation in Semitic Ambjörn Sjörs investigates the grammar of standard negation in a wide selection of Semitic languages. The bulk of the investigation consists of a detailed analysis of negative constructions and is based on a first-hand examination of the examples in context.

The main issues that are investigated in the book relate to the historical change of the expression of verbal negation in Semitic and the reconstruction of the genealogical relationship of negative constructions. It shows how negation is constantly renewed from the reanalysis of emphatic negative constructions, and how structural asymmetries between negative constructions and the corresponding affirmative constructions arise from the linguistically conservative nature of negative vis-à-vis affirmative clauses.

Arabic in Context

Celebrating 400 years of Arabic at Leiden University.

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Edited by Ahmad Al-Jallad

The writing of Arabic’s linguistic history is by definition an interdisciplinary effort, the result of collaboration between historical linguists, epigraphists, dialectologists, and historians. The present volume seeks to catalyse a dialogue between scholars in various fields who are interested in Arabic’s past and to illustrate how much there is to be gained by looking beyond the traditional sources and methods. It contains 15 innovative studies ranging from pre-Islamic epigraphy to the modern spoken dialect, and from comparative Semitics to Middle Arabic. The combination of these perspectives hopes to stand as an important methodological intervention, encouraging a shift in the way Arabic’s linguistic history is written.

N.J.C. Kouwenberg

A Grammar of Old Assyrian describes the language contained in a very large corpus of cuneiform tablets mainly found in Anatolia in the middle of Turkey and dating to ca 1900-1700 BC. These tablets come from the archives of a community of Assyrian merchants who conducted a long-distance trade between Assyria and Anatolia and eventually settled in Anatolia. Alongside Babylonian, Assyrian is one of the main branches of Akkadian, the Semitic language spoken in Mesopotamia (roughly present-day Iraq) in the third, second and first millennium BC, and Old Assyrian is its oldest attested stage. Old Assyrian is also one of the oldest and largest corpora of texts in any Semitic language.