The tense-aspect system of the Old Babylonian epic

Eran Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This is an attempt to describe and formulate the tense-aspect system of Epic OB, by providing a consistent key for the occurrences. It is quite apparent that both aspectual and temporal oppositions occur in this language, but they do not co-occur in the same syntactic environments. These environments, called textemes (e.g., dialogue and narrative), feature each a different sub-system; to be able to distinguish between them, each texteme is formally characterized. Then, the sub-system in each of them is examined by opposing the various forms at play, thus extracting the semantic values, or functions, of the various forms, in keeping these oppositions to the very same syntactic environments. The results are that in the narrative texteme (as well as in a sub-texteme called 'dialogue narrative') the basic opposition is aspectual, whereas in the dialogue it is temporal.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)31-68
Number of pages38
JournalZeitschrift fur Assyriologie und Vorderasiastische Archaeologie
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


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