Lesson 7: Verbs

1- Tenses

As in Hebrew, there are two tenses in Ugaritic; perfect and imperfect.

N.B. And, as in Hebrew, the conversive w belongs only to prose literature and not to poetry. That is, in narrative, when the w conversive occurs it changes the time of the tense to its opposite.

The perfect of qtl is conjugated as follows:

3 m. sg. = qatala

3 f. sg. = qatalat

2 m. sg. = qatalta

2 f.sg. = qatalti

1 sg. = qatalti

3 m. du. = qatala

3 f. du. = qatalta

1 du. = qatalni

3 m. pl. = qatalu

3 f. pl. = qatalu

2 m. pl. = qataltumu

2 f. pl. = qataltina

1 pl. = no examples of this form exist !

As the student can tell, Ugaritic is extremely similar to Hebrew. The moods are used somewhat laxly, and the student should make sure their translation is context sensitive.

The student should also know that there are peculiarites to this verb form. In the 2 and 3 pl. -na is sometimes dropped. In the 3 du. and pl. t- often displaces y-.

The imperfect verb yqtl is conjugated thusly:

3 m. sg. = yaqtul

3 f. sg. = taqtul

2 m. sg. = taqtul

2 f. sg. = taqtulina

1 sg. = ‘aqtul

3 c. du. = yaqtulani

2 c. du. = taqtulani

3 m. pl. = yaqtulana

2 m. pl. = taqtuluna

2 f. pl. = taqtulna

1 pl. = naqtul

Other grammatical niceties are that there is a proclitic l- which is prefixed to the verb and makes the verb mean something like “verily...”. K- is also used as in Hebrew. Bl with the yqtl means “surely”. Al with yqtl = “not”.

The infinitive, in Ugaritic as in other Semitic languages, can simply be the noun used as an infinitive. Again, this can only be determined by the context of the words used.

2- Stems:

Ugaritic, like Hebrew, makes use of various stems (like Piel, Pual, etc.). The Ugaritic stems are conjugated like their Hebrew counterparts -- so that there is nothing new here to learn as the student taking this course has already mastered the Hebrew verbal system. What follows is what Ugaritic grammarians call the Ugaritic forms and their Hebrew stem name; so that the student who does further research will be familiar with the vocabulary of the Ugaritic verbal system.

G = qal

Gt = G plus infixed -t-

N = Niphal

D = Piel

tD = Piel with preformative t

R = Pilpel

L = Poel

S = preformative s

St = s plus infixed -t-

ASSIGNMENT: memorize the qtl and yqtl verb forms above and the names of the Ugaritic stems and their meanings.