%C5%A0a (cuneiform)
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%C5%A0a Cuneiform
Most common form
(Hittite ka) in the Amarna letters. Sign for ka.
Amarna letter EA 365-(Reverse), by Biridiya of Magiddo, "Furnishing Corvee Workers";[1] line 3 (1st sign for ?a: "?a it-ti-ia", "Who, (are) with...").
(Very high resolution exandable photo.
The 2-wedge strokes of line 3 ?a are very visible.)

The cuneiform ?a sign is a common, multi-use sign, a syllabic for ?a, and an alphabetic sign used for ?, or a; it is common in both the Epic of Gilgamesh over hundreds of years, and the 1350 BC Amarna letters.

Besides ?a usage in word components of verbs, nouns, etc., it has a major usage between words. In Akkadian, for English language "who", it is an interrogative pronoun; in the Akkadian language as ?a, (as "that", "what"; ("that (of)", "which (of)"[2]), in English it used for who, what, which, etc..

?a, and Ka, the stroke differences

The difference in the construction of the signs ka and ?a are as follows: "ka" when scribed in the Amarna letters often shows the distinctiveness of the right section of the sign, versus the left section. For ?a, the right section is constructed with two wedge strokes C+B-Persia-Cuneiform10.PNG (one scribed above the other), between the two verticals, at right. For ka, the right side mostly, in the Amarna letters has two verticals, C+B-Persia-Cuneiform1.PNGC+B-Persia-Cuneiform1.PNG with two horizontals B209ellst.png that cross both of them; (the right side is like a two-step ladder shape—(for Hittite ka:—B024 Hittite ka.jpg)). A good example of ?a, is shown for EA 365, Reverse (top half), where the 2-wedge strokes of ?a between the 2-right verticals is clear. (Note, the ?a of EA 365 appears to have 3-horizontals at left (differing lengths), then the 2-verticals with the 2-wedge strokes, at right.)

?a Usage numbers

Epic of Gilgamesh

The usage numbers for ?a in the Epic of Gilgamesh are as follows:[3]?a-(66) times. There are no other sub-uses or sumerogramic uses for ?a in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Amarna letters

Cuneiform ?a is common in the Amarna letters, found easily between words (as the pronoun), and especially in word constructs. Since it is similar in appearance to cuneiform ka, the large difference is that ka can easily be found as a suffix to words, for example in the Canaanite sub-corpus of letters as "Servant-Yours", B018 (Old Babylonian arad-v2).jpgB024 Hittite ka.jpg, (ARAD-ka).


  1. ^ Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. EA 365, Furnishing Corvee Workers, p. 362.
  2. ^ Parpola, 197l. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Glossary, pp. 119-145, ?a, p. 139.
  3. ^ Parpola, 197l. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Sign List, pp. 155-165, Sign No. 019, ?a, p. 161.
  • Moran, William L. 1987, 1992. The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, 1992. 393 pages.(softcover, ISBN 0-8018-6715-0)
  • Parpola, 197l. The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Parpola, Simo, Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, c 1997, Tablet I thru Tablet XII, Index of Names, Sign List, and Glossary-(pp. 119-145), 165 pages.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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