Wiktionary:About Akkadian

link={{{imglink}}} This is an editable draft of Wiktionary:About Akkadian with no policy authority. It is intended to help the Wiktionary community develop new and perhaps better approaches. Please feel free to edit this page conscientiously, as you would any document on a wiki.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.

This page describes policies and practices specific to Akkadian entries on the English Wiktionary. These are in addition to Wiktionary’s overall standards which are listed at Wiktionary:Entry layout explained. It is very much a work in progress, and you are encouraged to offer criticism, suggestions and other input.



Cuneiform IME for macOS


A Cuneiform IME for macOS created by User:Sartma is available for download here:

Put the CuneiformIME01.inputplugin file in Library/Input Methods or Home/Library/Input Methods, logout/login, and then activate it via the plus button in System Settings > Keyboard > Input Sources. Look for it in the Simplified Chinese area. A Readme pdf file is included which explains how to use it. If you find problems or want to suggest improvements, contact User:Sartma.

Cuneiform font display on Wiktionary


The default cuneiform font on most browsers is a version of the Old Babylonian Monumental style. While we would actually recommend to start learning cuneiform in this very style (not only because texts like the Hammurabi code are written in this style, but also because it's closer to the original Sumerian cuneiform, and, most importantly, the base for any later styles), some people might want their cuneiform signs on Wiktionary to be displayed in a later style, like Neo-Assyrian, or in a different font.

Some of the most beautiful cuneiform fonts in different historical styles can be downloaded from here: University of Würzburg.

First of all, download the font with the desired cuneiform style and install it on your computer.

Now, to tell Wiktionary what font to use in Akkadian entries, do the following:

  1. Create a personal user page.
  2. Create a common.css subpage with the following content:
:lang(akk).Xsux {
   font-family: "Assurbanipal";
   font-size: 150%;
   line-height: 1;
   vertical-align: middle;

You can see an example of a personal common.css page here: User:Sartma/common.css

"Assurbanipal" is the font we suggest using if you want Neo-Assyrian cuneiform on Akkadian entries, but any other font can be used instead. Just substitute "Assurbanipal" with the name of the desired font.

General Information




Akkadian entries will follow the linguistic standard of the Old Babylonian literary dialect, for the following reasons[1]:

  • It's customary to begin the study of Akkadian with Old Babylonian. The vast majority of Akkadian textbooks describe and teach this literary dialect.
  • Uniformity of its grammar compared to later stages of the language.
  • It was written in a clear and relatively simplified system of cuneiform signs compared to more cumbersome sign sets used in later stages of the language.
  • OB's grammar exhibits both a consistency and a number of significant features that were lost in later dialects, making it easier to move from a familiarity with OB to the later dialects that working one's way back in time.
  • The Old Babylonian literary dialect (Standard Babylonian/Jungbabylonisch) was considered the classical form of Akkadian for the rest of Mesopotamian history, and was the model for later developments of the language.



The normal standard for modern languages is three independent attestations. However, Akkadian, as a dead language, requires only one attestation.

Dialects of Akkadian

Dialects of Akkadian
mid-3rd to end of
3rd millennium
OAkk (Old Akkadian)
Time Ass (Assyrian) Bab (Babylonian)
2000~1500 BCE OAss (Old Assyrian) OBab (Old Babylonian)
1500~1000 BCE MAss (Middle Assyrian) MBab (Middle Babylonian) SBab (Standard Babylonian)
(a.k.a. jB Jungbabylonisch)
1000~600 BCE NAss (Neo-Assyrian) NBab (Neo-Babylonian)
600 BCE~100 CE LBab (Late Babylonian)

For use in {{alter}} (but not in context labels), the subdivisions of Assyrian and Babylonian can be optionally shortened to two letters, e.g. OA, NB.

Attestations of an entry in a dialect, tablet collection, category, etc. can be given right after the entry using {{tlb|akk}}. See for example argamannu. Tablet collections or categories can be added as necessary in the following module: Module:labels/data/subvarieties On top of the above lables for Akkadian dialects, the following lables are also available:

  • fromOAkk (from Old Akkadian on)
  • fromOB (from Old Babylonian on)
  • fromOAOB (from Old Assyrian/Old Babylonian on)

Akkadian entries


Entries are written in the Latin alphabet, following the now standard way of normalising Akkadian words. Since the Akkadian dialect we have decided to use for main entries here on Wiktionary is Old Babylonian (the classical literary standard of Akkadian), entries attested from Old Babylonian on will be given with mimation (final m sound), like this:

  • 𒂍 (bītum, house), 𒀭 (ilum, god), 𒊕𒁺 (qaqqadum, head), and so on.

If, and only if, an entry has been attested only starting from post Old Babyolonian times, like Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian times), the non-mimated normalisation can be used as main entry.



Akkadian entries should follow the following structures (work in progress):


Follow the structure of existing entries.
See for example pûm, ilum, iltum, šamû, etc.
  1. Etymology: Etymological details, if known. If a Proto-Semitic entry exists, we give a link to it first, with its translation in |t=. As a rule we only give Arabic and Biblical Hebrew as cognates (since most people studying Akkadian are generally familiar with one or the other). One can check the complete list of cognates clicking on the Proto-Semitic link. If the etymology is unknown, we use {{unknown|akk}}.
  2. Pronunciation: Use {{akk-IPA}}.
  3. Noun: Use {{akk-noun}}.
    • For example: sinništum f (base sinništi, construct state sinništi, pronominal state sinništa, absolute state sinniš, dual sinništān, plural sinnišātum f or sinnišātum m). Only relevant elements are given. The base when it's not derivable from the nominative; the construct state only when it's different from the nominative minus the ending -um; the dual only when often used; the pronominal state and the absolute state only when different from the construct state.
    1. Declension: the declension tables are generated with the templates: {{akk-decl-noun-m}} and {{akk-decl-noun-f}}. For further information about their usage see their documentation. These templates are not final and further work on them is needed.
    2. Alternative forms: non-mimated version of the lemma (when existing), later developments of the word, alternative forms, etc. Always try to specify details about the alternative form. Use the template {{alter}}. Example:
      • {{alter|akk|ṭuppu||nm}}
If there are no Alternative forms, we delete this header and insert directly the Cuneiform spelling table. See 𒀀𒈾 (ana).
    1. Cuneiform spelling: we use the the template {{cuneiform spellings}} (or short version: {{cunsp}}) to create a table that gives possible cuneiform writings divided in 3 categories. Use:
      • |sum= for logograms (sum, sum2, sum3, etc.). (The parameter was originally sumerograms, changed later to logograms because it might include akkadograms.)
      • |phon= for phonetic spellings (phon, phon2, phon3, etc.)
      • |mix= for mixed writings (mix, mix2, mix3, etc.)
    For a usage example see (ilum).
  1. Derived terms: list of derived terms using {{col3|akk|derived term1|derived term2|derived term3|etc.}}.
  2. Related terms: list of related terms using {{col3|akk|related term1|related term2|related term3|etc.}}.

Akkadian links, mentions, etc.


Akkadian links or mentions in other pages should always give the cuneiform followed by its normalisation (+ translation, if relevant), like this:

  • Link: 𒀭 (ilum, god)
  • Mention: 𒀭𒈝 (ilum, god)
  • Cognate: Akkadian 𒄿𒈝 (ilum, god)
  • Descendant: Akkadian: 𒀭 (ilum, god)


We NEVER transliterate the individual cuneiform signs. Transiteration of individual signs can be found in the Cuneiform spelling table of each entry. Clicking on the cuneiform signs/logograms in the Logograms column of the Cuneiform spelling table will take the reader to the page of that cuneiform sign/logogram, where all phonetic and logographic values of the sign are given.

Akkadian cuneiform entries


All existing Akkadian entries spelt in cuneiform (see as an example: 𒄿𒈝) will be structured as soft redirects to the normalised entry in the following way:


# {{alt sp|akk|ilum|from=Phonetic cuneiform}}.

Alternative forms


Non-mimated forms


For non-mimated forms, follow the structure of enzu.

Basic Cuneiform Syllabary

Basic Cuneiform Syllabary
+ Consonant + Vowel Vowel + Consonant
A E I U A E I U +
𒀀 𒂊 𒄿 𒌋
' 𒀪
B 𒁀 𒁁
𒁉 𒁍 𒀊 𒅁 𒌒 B
P 𒉺 𒉿
D 𒁕 𒁲 𒁺 𒀜 𒀉 𒌓 D
T 𒋫 𒋼 𒋾 𒌅 T
𒁲 𒌅
G 𒂵 𒄀 𒄖 𒀝 𒅅 𒊌 G
K 𒅗
Q 𒋡
𒄩 𒄭 𒄷 𒄴 𒄴
Z 𒍝 𒍣
𒍪 𒊍 𒄑 𒊻 Z
S 𒊓
𒍝 𒍢
𒊍 𒊻
M 𒈠 𒈨 𒈪 𒈬 𒄠 𒅎 𒌝 M
Š 𒊭
𒊺 𒅆 𒋗
𒌍 𒅖 𒍑 Š
N 𒈾 𒉈 𒉌 𒉡 𒀭 𒂗 𒅔 𒌦 N
L 𒆷 𒇷 𒇷
𒇻 𒀠 𒂖 𒅋 𒌌 L
R 𒊏 𒊑 𒊒 𒅈
𒅕 𒌨
W 𒉿
Y 𒅀

Sources and references

  • “About Akkadian”, in The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD)[1], Chicago: University of Chicago Oriental Institute, 1956–2011
  • Black, Jeremy, George, Andrew, Postgate, Nicholas (2000) A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, 2nd corrected edition, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag
  • Miller, Douglas B., Shipp, R. Mark (2014) An Akkadian Handbook: Helps, Paradigms, Glossary, Logograms, and Sign List, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, →ISBN
  • Huehnergard, John (2011) A Grammar of Akkadian (Harvard Semitic Studies; 45), 3rd edition, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns



Translingual Cuneiform Entries


See 𒀭 for a quick reference.

Translingual Cuneiform entries contain information about individual cuneiform signs. The entry is not an Akkadian, Sumerian or Hittite lemma, but the cuneiform sign per se.

Cuneiform entries have the following structure:

  1. {{character info}}: this template comes before anything else in the page. The template shows the character with its name and position in the Cuneiform Unicode Block.
  2. Translingual: This is the language non-specific section of the cuneiform entry and contains the following subsections:
    1. Cuneiform sign: uses the {{cuns}} template to give information about the sign's number and its composition.
    2. Derived signs: A list of signs clearly derived from the entry sign.
    3. Other relevant info, possibly with a clear subsection title.
    4. References
  3. Akkadian
    1. Sign values (Use: {{akk-sign values}})
      1. Phonetic values: A list of the canonical phonetical readings of the entry sign as found in academic transliteration of Akkadian tablets.
      2. Sumerograms: In this section we give the customary transliteration of Sumerograms as generally used by academics and scholars when transliterating Akkadian tablets. For example, the reconstructed Sumerian pronunciation of 𒀭 would be dig̃ir, but in the transliteration of Akkadian texts we will find "DINGIR". Since pretty much the totality of academic works use this sort of fixed notation when transliterating Sumerograms, it's important to indicate it.
    2. Etymology: if the cuneiform sign was used to represent more than one Akkadian word, there will be an Etymology entry for each separate meaning (Etymology 1, Etymology 2, and so on).
      1. Logogram (use: {{head|akk|logogram}}. Follow the structure of 𒀭).
  4. Hittite: for people who know Hittite to fill up.
  5. Sumerian: see About Sumerian

Cuneiform Keyboard

  • For the {{cuneiform spellings}} template, you can use the Akkadian Keyboard - advanced] online:
    1. Type a cuneiform sign transliteration in the bottom window and the sign will appear in the top window.
    2. Conversion rules for special characters: sh=š, s,=ṣ, t,=ṭ, kh=ḫ gh=ĝ


  1. ^ John Huehnergard, A Grammar of Akkadian (third edition), Harvard Semitic Studies, 2011, pag. XXVIII