Lesson 09

Summary of Pronominal Elements in the Verbal System

suffix conjugation
  singular dual plural
3m {-ø} /-a/ {-ø} /-ā/ {-ø} /-ū/
3f {-t} /-at/ {-t} /-tā/ {-ø} /-ā/
2m {-t} /-ta/ {-tm} /-tumā/ {-tm} /-tum(u)/
2f {-t} /-ti/ {-tn} /-tin(n)a/
1c {-t} /-tu/ {-ny} /-nayā/ {-n} /-nū/
prefix conjugation
  singular dual plural
3m {y-} /ya-/

{y-} /ya–ā(ni)/

{t-} /ta–ā(ni)/

{y-(n)} /ya–ū(na)/

{t-(n)} /ta–ū(na)/

3f {t-} /ta-/ {t-} /ta–ā(ni)/ {t-(n)} /ta–(ā)(na)/
2m {t-} /ta-/ {t-} /ta–ā(ni)/? {t-(n)} /ta–ū(na)/
2f {t-(n)} /ta–ī(na)/ {t-n} /ta–na/?
1c {ʾ-} /ʾa-/ {n-} /na–ā/? {n-} /na-/

G-stem Imperative

  singular dual plural

a͗rš, /ʾiriš(a)/

a͗rk, /ʾarak(a)/

grš, /guruš(a)/

rgm, /rugumā/ ktb, /kutubū/
Feminine a͗rk, /aʾarakī/ uncertain ktb, /kutubā/

The imperative is a second person verbal form that expresses a command. There is no negation of an imperative form. A negative command is expressed with a͗l and the prefix conjugation. The form of the imperative may be described as a second person prefix conjugation without the prefixed pronominal element. As such, the theme vowel of the imperative is the same as the prefix conjugation. The closed first syllable is opened with the same vowel as the theme vowel: tagruša > (ta)gruš(a) > guruš(a). The difference between gender and number is marked only by the vocalic pattern. In other words, the number and gender of the imperative is undetectable in alphabetic Ugaritic.

Directional –h

The Ugaritic adverbial morpheme –h (vocalized /-ah/) attaches to a noun and communicates an adverbial notion such as ‘to, toward’. Similar meaning can be expressed without this morpheme, through the use of the accusative case. The morpheme probably occurs after all case and number endings (compare Biblical Hebrew šmmh, ‘toward the heavens’).

tntkn u͗dmʿth km ṯqlm a͗rṣh km mḫmšt mṭth, ‘his tears pour forth like shekels to the ground, like fifth(-weights) on the bed’ (RS 2.[003]+ i 28-30)

Verbal Syntax—Objects

Unlike some of the other Semitic languages, Ugaritic does not have a direct object marker. Direct objects are unmarked, but occur in the accusative case. Most indirect objects occur after a preposition and therefore occur in the genitive case. As the following examples illustrate, the syntax of objects is flexible.

Verb, Subject, Object

yqḥ . ı͗l . mštʿltm, /yiqqaḥu ʾilu muštaʿilatêma/, Ilu takes the two gift-givers (RS 2.002:35)

Verb, (S), Object

w ytn . ı͗lm . bdhm, /wa yatinu ʾilêma bidêhumā/, May he place the (two) gods in their hands. (RS 1.018:20)

šmʿt . ḫtı͗ nḫtu͗, /šamaʿtu ḫataʾī naḫtaʾū/, I have heard of the blows (which) were struck (RS 4.475:7-8)

Subject, Verb, Object

rb . tmtt lqḥ . kl . ḏrʿ, /rabbu tamutati laqaḥa kulla ḏarʿi/, The chief of shipwrecks took all of the grain (RS 18.031:16-17)

ı͗wrkl . pdy a͗gdn . bn . nwgn, /ʾiwrikallu padaya ʾagdēnu binu nawgānu/, ʾIwrikallu has redeemed ʾAgdēnu, son of Nawgānu (RS 16.191+:2-3)

Object, Verb, (S)

špthm . yšq, /šapatêhumā yaššuqu/, He kisses their lips. (RS 2.002:35)

Verb, (S), indirect Object, direct Object

rgmt l mlk . šmy, /ragamat lê malki šumaya/, ‘She mentions my name to the king’ (RS Varia 4:13)

Subject, Verb, direct Object; direct Object, Verb, indirect Object

bny . yša͗l ṯryl . w rgm ṯṯb . l a͗ḫk, /binîya . yišʾal ṯarriyelli wa rigma ṯaṯib lê ʾaḫîka/, May my son ask Ṯarriyelli and return word to your brother (RS Varia 4:16-18)

Subject, direct Object, Verb, indirect Object

w . mlk . s̀s̀wm . nʿmm ytn . l . ʿbdyrḫ, /wa malku s̀ūs̀awīma naʿīmīma yatana lê ʿabdiyariḫi/, The king gave fine horses to ʿAbdiyariḫu (RS 18.140:16-17’)

Poetic Style

The Ugaritic mythological texts are written in a narrative poetic style. The main characteristic of this style is parallelism. The poetic lines—many times of roughly equal length—relate to each other in a variety of ways. (A poetic line does not necessarily correspond to a line of text as it is recorded on the tablet.) Sometimes the general meaning of one line will be rephrased, expanded upon, or somehow otherwise referenced in the following line. The parallel lines reflect a wide variety of poetic strategies, sometimes showing semantic parallelism, i.e. the general meaning of the words, other times showing a parallelism in the sounds of the consonants used. Various patterns of parallelism can be discerned. In the following example from the ʾAqhatu myth, we find a variety of poetic strategies. The first word is repeated in the second line (u͗zrm), the order of the second and third elements is inverted (Object-Verb // Verb-Object), a parallel verb is used (feed/give drink), and synonymous terms are used for the divine recipients of the offering (gods/holy ones).


RS 2.[004] i 22-23

u͗zrm ı͗lm ylḥm
Being girded, the gods he did feed;
u͗zrm yšqy bn qdš
Being girded, he gave drink to the holy ones.

The following passage from the Baal myth shows similar poetic style. Instead of the first element being repeated in the second line, here it is omitted or “gapped”. In context, the ‘it’ refers to the mace with which Baal attacks Yammu.


RS 3.346+ iv 16-17

ylm ktp zbl ym
It strikes the shoulder of Prince Yammu
bn ydm ṯpṭ nhr
between the hands of the River Judge.

For more on parallelism in Ugaritic, see the following:
Pardee, Dennis. (1988) Ugaritic and Hebrew Poetic Parallelism: A Trial Cut (‘nt and Proverbs 2) Vetus Testamentum, Supplements 39.



G-R-Š, ‘to expel’

Ḥ-Ṯ-B, ‘to count, to account’

L-Q-Ḥ, ‘to take’

N-Ḥ-T, ‘to prepare, to make, to fabricate’

P-ʿ-R, ‘to open one’s mouth to proclaim’


drkt, /darkatu/, ‘authority, dominion’

ḥbl, /ḥābilu/, ‘boatman’

ḥwt, /ḥuwwatu/, ‘land, country’

ḥṯbn, /ḥuṯbānu/, ‘account’

kḥṯ, /kaḥṯu/, ‘throne’

ktn, /kutunu/, a type of garment

ksu͗, /kussaʾu/, ‘chair, throne’

nhr, /naharu/, ‘river’

nṣp, /naṣpu/, ‘half (a shekel)’

ṣmd, /ṣimdu/, ‘mace’

Proper Noun(s):

bdn, /badunu/, a personal name ‘Badunu’

grgmš, /gargamišu/, ‘Carchemish’

kṯr, /kōṯaru/, ‘Kōṯar’

ygrš, /yagruš/, ‘Yagruš’; a pun based on the verb grš


A. Translate the following poetic passage. ALSO, divide the passage into poetic lines.

kṯr ṣmdm . ynḥt . w ypʿr . šmthm . šmk a͗t

ygrš . ygrš . grš ym grš ym . l ksı͗h

nhr l kḥṯ . drkth

B. Transliterate RIH 83/22 (Manual, plate 56)

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