Lesson 1

Gender
Ugaritic nouns occur in one of two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine. Grammatical gender aligns with biological gender in some cases, such as nouns that have both a male and female equivalent (e.g. mlk, ‘king’ and mlkt, ‘queen’; s̀s̀w, ‘horse’ and s̀s̀wt, ‘mare’). Otherwise, the gender of a noun is not predictable and must be learned for each word.
In general, masculine singular nouns are not marked for gender; and feminine singular nouns are marked with a word-final -t. There were two feminine singular markers, the simple /-tu/ and the longer /-atu/.
masculine
feminine
mlk, /malku/ ‘king’
mlkt, /malkatu/, ‘queen’
a͗ḫ, /ʾaḫû/, ‘brother’
a͗ḫt, /ʾaḫatu/, ‘sister’
ı͗l, /ʾilu/, ‘god’
ı͗lt, /ʾilatu/, ‘goddess’
bnš, /bunušu/, ‘man’
a͗ṯt, /ʾaṯṯatu/, ‘woman, lady’
a͗lp, /ʾalpu/, ‘cattle’
gt, /gittu/, ‘wine or olive press; estate’ (< /gintu/)

Number
Ugaritic nouns occur in three grammatical numbers: singular, dual, and plural. Unlike Biblical Hebrew where the dual is used for a small set of nouns, the dual in Ugaritic is productive. Any two items are counted in the dual.
singular
dual
plural
bnš, /bunušu/, ‘a/the man’
bnšm, /bunušāma/, ‘two men’
bnšm, /bunušūma/, ‘(some) men’
a͗lp, /ʾalpu/, ‘(one) head of cattle’
a͗lpm, /ʾalpāma/, ‘two cattle’
a͗lpm, /ʾalapūma/, ‘(some) cattle’
ı͗lt, /ʾilatu/, ‘a/the goddess’
ı͗ltm, /ʾilatāma/, ‘two goddesses’
ı͗lt, /ʾilātu/, ‘(some) goddesses’
The masculine dual and plural are marked with a word-final -m. The only difference is in the vocalization: the dual is vocalized as /-āma/ and the plural as /-ūma/. NOTE: some singular nouns of the pattern QvTL- change slightly in their plural form, such as ʾalpu > ʾalapūma (more on this in later lessons). The feminine dual is marked by -tm, /-tāma/. The feminine plural differs from the singular in its vocalization: singular /-(a)tu/, plural /-ātu/.

Definiteness
Ugaritic does not have a fully developed definite article such as Biblical Hebrew ha-. Certain particles such as hl and hn may have been used in a way similar to a definite article. However, this usage is rare. In the vast majority of cases, one must interpret definiteness from context.

Prepositions (Introduction)
Ugaritic has many prepositions. In general, the Ugaritic preposition indicates position rather than direction. The force of a preposition is clear only when used with a verb. Without verbal context, the meaning of a preposition can be very difficult to determine.
b, /bi/, 'in, with, from, by means of, in exchange for’
l, /lê/ or /li/, ‘to, for,’
ʿd, /ʿadê/, ‘near, to, until’
ʿl, /ʿalê/, ‘on, upon, on account’
ʿm, /ʿimma/, ‘with’
tḥt, /taḥta/, ‘under, at’

Case
Nouns occur in three cases: nominative, genitive, and accusative. The nominative is the subject of a predicate. The genitive occurs after prepositions (and in other contexts that will be learned in future lessons). The accusative is the direct object of a verb. If the following sentence were Ugaritic, 'The king sent the man to the queen', 'the king' would be in the nominative case; 'the man' would be in the accusative case; and 'the queen' would be in the genitive case (following a preposition).
The three cases are distinguished by 'case vowels' that occur at the end of the noun, but before the -ma of the masculine plural noun.


nominative
genitive
accusative
masc. sing.
malku
malki
malka
fem. sing.
malkatu
malkati
malkata
masc. plural
bunušūma
bunušīma
same as genitive
fem. plural
ʾaṯṯātu
ʾaṯṯāti
ʾaṯṯāta

Note: the masculine plural accusative is the same as the genitive -īma. The genitive and accusative cases have fallen together into a single functional case in the masculine plural. This assimilated case is called the ‘oblique case’.

Nominal Declension – Summary Chart
singular
masculine
feminine
nominative
-u
-(a)tu
genitive
-i
-(a)ti
accusative
-a
-(a)ta
plural


nominative
-ūma
-ātu
genitive
-īma
-āti
accusative
same as genitive (-īma)
-āta

Adverbial Predicate
Ugaritic can form simple sentences without a verb. One type of these nonverbal predicates is the adverbial predicate: e.g. bnš b bt, 'the man is in the house'. When a noun, in this example bt, follows a preposition, that noun is in the genitive case. Thus, this sentence would be vocalized bunušu bi bêti. Notice bnš is in the nominative case. It is the subject of the adverbial predicate.

Vocabulary

Nouns:
a͗ḫ, /ʾaḫû/, ‘brother’ (pl. ʾaḫḫūma)
a͗ḫt, /ʾaḫatu/, ‘sister’
ı͗l, /ʾilu/, ‘god’
a͗lp, /ʾalpu/, ‘cattle’ (plural ʾalapūma)
ı͗lt, /ʾilatu/, ‘goddess’
a͗ṯt, /ʾaṯṯatu/, ‘woman, wife, lady’
bnš, /bunušu/, ‘man’
bt, (masc.) /bêtu/, ‘house, palace, temple’ (pl. btm, /bêtūma/ and bhtm, /bahatūma/)
gt, /gittu/, ‘wine or olive press; estate’ (< /gintu/)
šd, /šadû/, ‘field’ (genitive šadî, plural šadûma)
mlk, /malku/, ‘king’ (plural malakūma)
mlkt, /malkatu/, ‘queen’ (plural malakātu)
ʿbd, /ʿabdu/, ‘servant’ (plural ʿabadūma)

Prepositions:
l, /lê/ or /li/, ‘to, for’
ʿl, /ʿalê/, ‘on, upon, on account’
ʿm, /ʿimma/, ‘with’
tḥt, /taḥta/, ‘under, at’

Conjunction:
w, /wa/, ‘and’



Exercises
A. Vocalize and translate.
1. l . mlk
2. l . mlkt
3. ʿl . bnš
4. ʿm . a͗ṯt
5. mlkt . b . bt
6. a͗lpm . b . šd
7. mlk . w . mlkt . b . bt
8. bnšm . w . a͗lpm . b . šd
9. ı͗lm . w . ı͗lt . b . bt


B. Write the preceding phrases in alphabetic Ugaritic cuneiform.

C. Transliterate RS 92.2010:6-13 (Manual, plate 33).