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Document Details :
Title: Emphatics in Akkadian
Subtitle: Their Treatment and Pronunciation
Author(s): GAI, Amikam
Journal: Le Muséon
Volume: 134 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2021
Two opinions enjoy widespread consensus among students of Semitic linguistics. The first is that when in an Akkadian word there is an emphatic consonant while in another Semitic language(s) there are two, Akkadian is thought to have lost the other by dissimilation. The other holds that the emphasis in Akkadian was pronounced as in modern-day Ethiopic languages. This article argues that in the case of one versus two emphatics in different languages the process is only that of assimilation (rather than dissimilation), and consequently that rather than Akkadian lost one, the other language added one. As for the conjecture about the pronunciation of the emphatics in Akkadian, it is based on several surprising spellings in Akkadian. This article argues that these spellings do not express that quality of the emphatics, as such spellings cannot express it. The article suggests another explanation for these uncommon spellings, a suggestion based on a phenomenon well-known in Modern Syriac.