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The Akkadian Words for "Grain" and the God Haya.

Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht
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  • Department Of The Languages And Cultures Of The Near And Middle East
  • Linguistics


orient.dvi The Akkadian Words for “Grain” and the God H ˘ aya Mark Weeden Summary Akkadian had two words meaning “grain, barley” associated with the Sumerogram SˇE: sˇe’u(m) and e(y)yuˆ(m). The former is a borrowing from Sumerian, the latter most pro- bably Semitic. New evidence is presented for both words in lexical lists, with care taken to make explicit the philological contexts in which they occur. The question of the etymology of the Semitic word is approached, with an evaluation of the kinds of evidence available. It is suggested that derivation from *h. yy “life” is indeed plausible, although not from the stem-form *h. ayyum. The divine names Ea and H˘ aya, spouse of Nissaba, are also considered. While Ea and H ˘ aya may be at some remove genetically related to each other and to e(y)yuˆ they should not be considered to be identical in historical epochs.1 1. The Debate so far The Akkadian word for “barley, grain” is traditionally assumed to be sˇe’u(m), but has been argued on the basis of the evidence from lexical lists in fact to be uˆ(m), with the use of the sign SˇE being used logographically to write the word uˆ(m). The elementary sign-list Syllabary A (Sa) was used by scribes as a crucial early stage in learning to write.2 In its version written on tablets from the first millennium, it has variant readings at line 386: manuscript A reads DISˇ sˇe-e = SˇE = u´-um; manuscripts I and U read (compositely) DISˇ sˇe-e = SˇE = sˇe-[u].3 1 I am very grateful to A.R.George, D. Schwemer and J.D.Hawkins for reading draughts of this article and preventing me from committing umpteen infelicities of structure, logical errors and unnecessary obfuscations. Any such remain my own fault. I am also grateful to L. Kogan for commenting on some of the ideas. 2 On lexical lists in general, see Cavigneaux 1980–1983; Civil 1995. N. Veldhuis is working on a much-needed primer dedicated to cuneiform lexical lists. In Old Babylonian (OB) Nippur they used the sign-list Ea (monolingual) wi

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