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Akkadian - Nouns - General


The root of a word is the fundamental structure common to all cognates of the word, for example *dmq is the root of dumqum, damqum, udammiq etc.

The stem of a noun or adjective is the base form, to which prefixes and suffixes are added. For example *sharr- links to sharrum (king) and sharratum (queen). The word can also be used in verb conjugation.

There are three forms of the noun:

the subject of a verb, or the predicate of a nominal sentence
after a preposition, or occurring in relation to another noun
the object of a verb, or in occurring in adverbial uses

There are three main states of nouns:

Status rectus
the normal nominal formation, when not followed by a genitive
Status absolutus
only found in Akkadian and Aramaic, characterised by loss of case endings, occurring quite rarely, typically in numerals, measures, or 'frozen' stock phrases
Status constructus
the common Semitic construct (bound) state, an unaccented form immediately preceding another noun in the genitive, a verbal clause in the subjunctive, or a pronominal suffix

Gender and other issues

Nouns are either masculine or feminine (no neuter). Feminine nouns typically end in -t or -at. Nouns lacking this suffix are usually masculine but not always. The shorter form -t is more common. The longer form -at is typically used with geminate roots (eg dmm), or with the nominal formation pars as opposed to pirs or purs. Some feminine nouns (eg ummum - mother) lack the -t or -at ending but regain it in the plural. The gender of an adjective agrees with its related noun.

There is no definite or indefinite article in Akkadian, and usage in translation should be identified from context.

Language formalities