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Diccionario de la Lengua Ugaritica: vol. 1.

volume 1. By G. DEL OLMO LETE and J. SANMARTIN. Aula Orientalis, Supplement, vol. 7. Sabadell: EDITORIAL AUSA, 1996. Pp. xxvii + 250. Pt 4,904.

The growth of Ugaritic lexicography was initially marked by the successive editions of C. H. Gordon's grammar (1940, 1947, 1955), culminating in the Ugaritic Textbook (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1965; revised imprint, 1998). The one rival to the "glossary" of this work was J. Aistleitner, Worterbuch der ugaritischen Sprache (Berlin: Akademische Verlag, 1963; 2d ed., 1965), a work with more glosses, but also with more ill-founded glosses. Since 1965, hundreds of additional texts have been published, and another generation of Ugaritologists has refined and advanced our understanding of the Ugaritic lexicon. This more recent research was promoted by the founding in 1969 of the journal Ugarit-Forschungen and subsequently of others concerned with Semitic or Northwest Semitic philology (e.g., Aula Orientalis, Maarav, Studi epigrafici e linguistici). Ugaritic lexical studies are scattered through these and other journals.

Now the distinguished scholar G. del Olmo Lete and his able colleague J. Sanmartin have produced the first half (extending through the letter "l") of a completely new Ugaritic dictionary. Its textual basis is the second edition of KTU (CAT), occasional divergences from that text being marked by "!." The compilers have moved from the West Semitic alphabetic order favored in earlier dictionaries to that of the Latin alphabet used in such models as the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and W. Leslau, Comparative Dictionary of Ge ez (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1991), with and appearing as the first two letters before "b."

A brief introduction lays out the form and principles of the dictionary. Entries include not only regular words (independent morphemes), but also dependent morphemes (e.g., the pronominal suffixes) and proper nouns (whether Ugaritic or not). The latter are not normally glossed, although meanings are often suggested by reference to other entries and/or by bibliographical references. All Ugaritic words in alphabetic cuneiform are included, even if they occur in Hurrian texts. Where the meaning of a word is disputed the authors give first what they consider the most solidly based gloss and then others judged plausible or possible. Bibliographical entries refer the reader to (normally only the most recent) arguments for disputed meanings. Verbs are listed by root; nouns are entered under the absolute singular form, whether that form is attested or not. Many morphemes proposed by others but not accepted by the present authors receive entries in parentheses with a reference to the form judged more likely.

Each entry consists of the key word in bold face, its general category (noun, verb, etc.; or in the case of proper names: divine name, personal name, etc.), and a gloss or glosses in inverted commas (with a question mark if uncertain; in cases of sheer ignorance, a question mark takes the place of a gloss). While the meaning is determined on the basis of usage in actual contexts, the limitations of that evidence are balanced by a list of cognates. Caution is indicated by use of "vd." ("see") and "cf." to suggest increasingly questionable comparisons. The comparative data are followed by bibliographical references, those supporting the given gloss and those proposing a different meaning (given in single inverted commas). After the cognates and bibliography come data from syllabic forms of the word and from Ras Shamra Akkadian, followed by Ugaritic words found in parallelism with the key word. Finally in the first paragraph of the entry, all the attested forms of the given word are listed and identified. The second paragraph of each entry repeats the gloss(es) and then cites with translation the contexts most important for determining the meaning(s) of the word. When there is a parallel lexeme in a poetic context, this is also listed. A final line refers the reader to etymologically related entries.

The principles and practice of these two lexicographers have produced a valuable dictionary, reflective of the present state of Ugaritic studies and giving new students of Ugaritic a great advantage over their predecessors. Inevitably, individual specialists will disagree on the probability or improbability of the correctness of particular glosses. Nevertheless, this dictionary will admirably serve its stated goals: to serve not as a final arbiter of meaning, but as a means of investigation, a tool to stimulate further research. It will significantly facilitate the use of the concordance. It should be noted, however, that it omits Ugaritic words attested only in syllabic form, so that it is really a dictionary of alphabetic Ugaritic.

In their earlier announcement of this project ("A New Ugaritic Dictionary: Its Lexicographical and Semantic Structure," Aula Orientalis 6 [1988]: 255-74) the compilers promised an English edition to be produced with the assistance of W. Watson. It is to be hoped that this too will materialize and give this work the much wider distribution that it certainly deserves.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Parker, Simon B.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1999
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