Lesson 10

Morphological and Semantic Overview of the Verbal Stems


  • The “Ground” stem.
  • The basic morphological form from which the other forms are considered derived.
  • The semantics of the stem are often considered to communicate the basic meaning of the verbal root.


  • The “Double” stem.
  • The second root consonant is doubled.
  • Sometimes communicates an intensive version of the G-stem meaning, but many other meanings exist. The translation of a D-stem must be learned for each verbal root.


  • Adds a {n} before the verbal root, which sometimes assimilates to the first root consonant.
  • Removes the agent of the G-stem transitive verb resulting in a middle, passive, or similar construction.


  • Adds a {š} before the verbal root.
  • Communicates a causative of the verbal root in many cases, although other meanings exist.

Derived Passive Stems

  • The G, D, and Š-stems can be made passive through internal vowel changes.


  • The Gt and Št-stems occur with a {t} added after the first root consonant
  • The tD-stem occurs with a {t} added before the first root consonant. (There is no Dt stem in Ugaritic).
  • The meaning of these verbal roots should be learned on a case-by-case basis. In general, these stems communicate a reflexive notion.

Rare Stems

  • The L-stem is characterized by a long internal vowel and communicates an intensive or factitive version of the G-stem.
  • The R-stem is characterized by a reduplication of root consonants and communicates a factitive version of the G-stem.


The forms of the D-stem exhibit a doubling of the second root consonant. This doubling does not appear in the consonantal text. In consonantal form, the D-stem resembles the G-stem in many conjugations: PC yQTLu, SC QTLa. Note the D-stem participle, as in other Semitic languages, appears in the form mQTL.

D-stem Principal parts

suffix QTL QiTTaLa   dbr /dibbara/
prefix yQTL yaQaTTiLu   ydbr /yadabbiru/
imperative QTL QaTTiLu   dbr /dabbiru/
participle mQTL muQaTTiLu   mdbr /mudabbiru/
infinitive QTL QuTTaLu   dbr /dubbaru/


The D-stem usually expresses active and transitive action. For verbal roots that appear in the G-stem as stative, the D-stem expresses a factitive notion, e.g. the root √ʿ-Z-Z in the G-stem means ‘to be strong’ and in the D-stem means ‘to strengthen’. The D-stem of this root takes an accusative object, e.g. tʿzzk, ‘may they strengthen you’.

The quality of the first vowel of the D SC and D PC is not entirely certain, but forms of I-ʾ roots in the D-stem suggest that the SC pattern is dibbara and the PC is yadabbiru.

SC 3ms ı͗hb, /ʾihhaba/, ‘he loves’ (RS 94.2168:11)

PC 1cs a͗nšq, /ʾanaššiqu/, ‘I will burn down’ (RS 3.367 iv 4ʹ)

I-w roots are somewhat rare in Ugaritic. In many cases, verbs that are expressed in other Semitic languages with I-w are expressed as I-y verbs in Ugaritic. However, in the few examples where the historic Semitic I-w root is present, the w is preserved in the D-stem, e.g., ywpṯn, /yawappiṯuni/, ‘he spat on me’ (RS 2.[008] iii 13).

In the D-stem of III-y verbs, the final root is sometimes preserved and sometimes not.

SC with enclitic particle qrym, /qirrayama/, ‘he presented’ √Q-R-Y (RS 3.322+ iv 29)

SC klt, /killêtu/, ‘I finished off’ √K-L-Y (RS 2.[014]+ iii 39ʹ, 46ʹ)

PC yšqy, /yašaqqiyu/, ‘he gives drink’ √Š-Q-Y (RS 2.[004]+ i 10ʹ)

PC ypt, /yappatû/, ‘he seduces’ √P-T-Y (RS 2.002:39)


The form of the Š-stem exhibits a characteristic {š}: PC yšQTLu, SC šQTLa.

Š-stem Principal parts

suffix šQTL šaQTiLa šlḥm /šalḥima/
prefix yšQTL yašaQTiLu yšlḥm /yašalḥimu/
imperative šQTL šaQTiL(a) šlḥm /šalḥim(a)/
participle mšQTL mušaQTiLu mšlḥm /mušalḥimu/
infinitive šQTL šaQTiLu šlḥm /šalḥimu/

The Š-stem communicates a causative notion in many cases. Whereas the G-stem of the root √L-Ḥ-M means ‘to eat’, the Š-stem means ‘to feed’, i.e. to cause someone to eat. In many cases, the force of the Š-stem is more nuanced than the simply formula, ‘to make someone do something’.

In I-y roots, the Š-stem preserves the historical I-w of the root. Based on comparison to Biblical Hebrew, we may conclude that the original pattern šaWTiLa evolves to šôTiLa. The ô represents a simplification of the diphthong aw.

SC šṣa͗, /šôṣiʾa/ < *šawṣiʾa, ‘he sent’ √Y-Ṣ-ʾ (RS 15.034:10)

PC a͗šld, /ʾašôlidu/ < *ʾašawlidu, ‘I have sired’ √Y-L-D (RS 2.002:65)

The Š-stem exhibits noteworthy assimilation in the root √Ṯ-B. In the PC and imperative, the characteristic {š} assimilates to the first root consonant {ṯ}.

Š PC 3mp {tṯṯbn}: /taṯaṯībūna/ < *tašaṯībūna, ‘(until) they pay back’ √Ṯ-B (RS 16.191+:17)

Š PC 3fs {tṯṯb}: /taṯaṯību/ < *tašaṯību, ‘she brings back’ √Ṯ-B (RS 24.258:27ʹ)

Š Imv ms {ṯṯb}: /ṯaṯib/ < *ṯaṯib, ‘send (word)’ √Ṯ-B, (RS 29.095:8)

Enclitic Particles

An enclitic particle is a monoconsonantal element that attaches at or near the end of the word. Ugaritic attests the frequent use of these particles as supplementary expansions of conjunctions, prepositions, nouns, pronouns, and verbs. The inventory of enclitic particles includes: d, h, y, k, l, m, n, and t. The precise function and meaning of the particles is rarely clear. A few observations are useful as a starting point. First, the particle m is by far the most frequently attested. It can be difficult to distinguish the particle from the masculine plural marker. Second, only the particles y and m interrupt a construct chain, i.e. attach to the end of the head word in a construct-genitive construction. Third, the particle n can introduce an apodosis, the ‘then’ argument of an ‘if-then’ statement. Fourth, enclitic particles can accumulate, especially in the expansion of pronouns.

Examples of Enclitic Particles

yhrrm, /yahāriruma/, ‘he became inflamed’ (RS 2.[012] i 39)

The prefix conjugation verb is simply yahāriru with the enclitic partical m attached at the end.

 mṭm . tgrš šbm, ‘with a club she drove away captives’ (RS 2.[014]+ ii 15-16)

The noun mṭ is expanded with the enclitic particle m. In this case, the ambiguity of the final letter {m} leaves some doubt about the identification here as an enclitic particle. In this scene of the Baal text, Anat is in the midst of intense battle. Perhaps she is driving away captives with two clubs, maṭṭāma. After all, she has two hands. The poetic unit that follows the one above has Anat using her bow to attack her foes. She is certainly using only one bow. So, if the grammatical parallelism between these two units is identical and the club is also singular, then we may explain the {m} as the enclitic particle.

 mdym and mndym, ‘whoever’

These words preserve the accretion of particles, probably along the following lines: mh+n+d+y+m > mndym.



S-P-R, ‘to count’; in Š-stem, ‘to make someone count something’

R-Ḥ-Q, ‘to be(come) far away’; in D-stem, ‘to expel’; in Š-stem ‘to send far away’


šnt, /šanatu/, ‘year’

Proper Nouns:

grgrmš, /gargamiš/, ‘Carchemish’



1. ʿbdm dt b šd

2. ʿtkt rı͗št . lbmth . šnst kpt . b ḥbšh

3. tspr. yrḫm . k . bʿl

4. a͗šsprk . ʿm . bʿl . šnt

5. šrḥq . a͗ṯt . l . pnnh

6. yšlḥ . mlk . u͗grt . s̀s̀wm . grgmšh


B. Vocalize and Translate RIH 83/22:1-7

Continue to Lesson 11