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Language Information

Akkadian - Extinct Languag of Iran - one of the Semitic languages, Akkadian was once a ruling language of the Iraq and Syria. Some of the oldest literature in the world comes to us on the clay tablets in Akkadian cuneiform script.

After it was supplanted by Aramic and Greek, Akkadian fell from use.For nearly 2000 years it was forgotten language. Stone inscriptions and clay tablets in the strange wedge-shaped script were first encountered by modern travelers in the 17th Century and the painstaking work of decipherment began. It is because of these texts - literature, chronicles, business accounts, school exercises, even recipes - that knowledge of Akkadian exists today.

Akkadian is named after Akkad, the capital of the Empire ruled by Sargon.Speakers of Akkadian,advancing Northwards from the Arabian peninsula, had occupied the region and their language had begun to replace Sumerian in everyday use. In this process, Akkadian borrowed heavily from Sumerian - but it did not borrow verbs. Sumerian verb forms were built up by adding affixes. However, when compared to other Semitic languages, Akkadian si seen to have a great number of Sumerian noun loanwords.

The Akkadian script also borrowed from Sumerian words form directly - using them as ready made logograms for Akkadian words that had the same meaning but sounded quite different.

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.