Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learning Akkadian Signs

I am finding the biggest barrier to learning Akkadian is (surprise!) the script. I have pounded the grammar into my head and was able to translate all 282 of Hammurabi’s “laws” from a transliteration published by Dr. Richardson. Feeling ready for the next challenge, I started translating the Annals of Senacherib as published in Akkadische Lesest√ľke.

Oh boy! Doing the actual transliteration myself is a real problem. The fact that some signs have multiple possible “values” makes it really difficult to take the characters and make words out of them. The fact that I haven’t pounded all of the sign’s values into my head (can you say “lazy”?), compounded by the fact that the vocabulary in Senacherib’s Annals is very different from that in Hammurabi’s law code, is making it really hard to “take the next step” in learning Akkadian.

So it is time to do the hard work of pounding the signs into my head.

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