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the language of ancient Ugarit, recorded in written texts from the 14th and 13th centuries B.C. and in a few later inscriptions. Ugaritic belongs to the Northwestern group of Semitic languages and closely resembles the Canaanite languages, such as Phoenician and Hebrew, within which subgroup some scholars classify it. The Ugaritic texts are inscribed on clay tablets and in stone in the Ugaritic consonantal cuneiforms. This alphabet, in addition to consonantal letters, contained syllabic markings for the combinations ’a, ’i, and ’u, which makes it possible to draw conclusions about the vowels and their grammatical functions.
The texts contain three varieties of Ugaritic: archaic, classical, and vulgar, all of which differ phonetically. The consonant system of archaic Ugaritic differs only slightly from that of Proto-Semitic, lacking only lateral sibilants as separate phonemes. Classical and vulgar Ugaritic show a tendency toward loss of interdental consonants. The morphology of Ugaritic is typically Western Semitic: it preserves cases and the ancient moods and has a highly developed system of verb forms. The lexicon is Semitic, with loanwords from the Hurrian language.
REFERENCESSegert, S. Ugaritskii iazyk. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German.)
Aistleitner, J. Wörterbuch der ugaritischen Sprache, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1967.
Gordon, C. H. Ugaritic Textbook, [parts 1–3]. Graz, 1967.