The YQTL-Ø “Preterite” in Ugaritic Epic Poetry

  • Alexander Andrason
  • Juan-Pablo Vita
Keywords: cognitive linguistics, grammaticalization, prefix conjugation, Semitic languages, Ugaritic, yaqtul


The present paper studies issues related to the existence (or the absence) of the YQTL-Ø “preterite” form in Ugaritic epic poetry, and determines which of the two well-entrenched positions found currently in scholarship – i.e., the pro YQTL-Ø and the contra YQTL-Ø model – is more plausible. By examining the existing literature and various pieces of Ugaritic, Semitic, and crosslinguistic evidence, the authors conclude the following: the existence of YQTL-Ø is significantly more plausible than both the absence of YQTL-Ø and the use of YQTL-u as an expression of narrative foreground.


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Author Biographies

Alexander Andrason

ALEXANDER ANDRASON, PhD in Semitic Languages, University Complutense in Madrid, Spain (2010); PhD in African Languages, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (2016), is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of African Languages at Stellenbosch University. The scope of his research includes disciplines such as linguistics, cognitive science, and complexity theory. Within the field of linguistics, he specializes in cognitive linguistics, grammaticalization theory, and typology. He speaks more than twenty living languages and has an extensive knowledge of various ancient or classical languages. His language interests include the Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, Nilotic, and Khoe families. He also works on the documentation and preservation of endangered, minority languages, e.g., Wymysorys (Poland), Arusa (Tanzania), and Tjwao (Zimbabwe).

Juan-Pablo Vita

JUAN-PABLO VITA graduated with a degree in Geography and History (specializing in Ancient History and Archaeology) from the University of Murcia (Spain) in 1990. In  1995, he received his PhD from the same university with a thesis on the army of the ancient Syrian Kingdom of Ugarit. He complemented his education on Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Madrid (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-CSIC), Leuven (Unversiteit te Leuven), Paris (École des Langues et Civilisations de l’Orient Ancien at the Institut Catholique; École Pratique des Hautes Études; Institut d’Études Sémitiques) and Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin; Humboldt Unviersität Berlin; Vorderasiatisches Museum). He was granted a Tenure Scientist position at the CSIC (Madrid) in 1999. His main lines of research focus on the study of the languages and the socio-economic history of Syria-Palestine in the second millennium BCE. Within this area, he has carried out an important part of his work on the text of Ugarit, Emar and El-Amarna, and has published works such as El ejército de Ugarit (Madrid 1995), Das Kanaano- Akkadische der Amarnazeit (LOS I/1, Münster 2010; in collaboration with Josef Tropper), Canaanite Scribes in the Amarna Letters, AOAT 406, Münster 2015, or “Contact Languages of the Ancient Near East – Three more Case Studies (Ugaritic-Hurrian, Hurro-Akkadian and Canaano-Akkadian),” Journal of Language Contact 9/2 (2016): 293–334 (in collaboration with Alexander Andrason).

How to Cite
Andrason , A., & Vita, J.-P. (2017). The YQTL-Ø “Preterite” in Ugaritic Epic Poetry. Archiv orientální, 85(3), 345-387.
Research Article