Epigraphic contact

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We speak of epigraphic contact when a writing system influences another one because of the coexistence of two or more epigraphic communities in an area (with ot without the involvment of multilingual documents), or because of the presence of a system charachterized by digraphia. It should also be noted that a single e.c. can be interested by the presence of one or more grapholects, meaning that the presence of a single, shared writing system does not exclude that it was applied to recording different idiolects within a language.


An example can be the influence of Akkadian and Sumerian on the order of nouns and modifiers in the Akkadographic or Sumerographic graphic chains in Cuneiform Hittite and, again, the penetration of unusual orders in the construction of compound logograms in the Anatolian Hieroglyphic writing system, which underwent indirect influence, as of course it was never shared with Sumerian (Rieken and Yakubovich 2017):

Sumerian word order NOUN-GENITIVE:
nin kur-kur-ra-ke4
(lady lands.PL.G.ERG.)
The lady of the countries (Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta line 67)

Anatolian word order GENITIVE-NOUN:
ne-pi2-sa-as DIŠKUR-as
(sky.G. Storm-GOD.NOM)
The Storm-god of the sky (e.g. KBo 3, 22 passim)

Order of sumerograms in standard formulas of Cuneiform Hittite NOUN-GENITIVE:
(Sun-god(dess) Arinna)
The Sun-goddess of Arinna (KUB 21, 27 I 4)

Order of Anatolian Hieroglyphic compound logograms NOUN-GENITIVE:
(Storm-god Hatti)
The Storm-god of Hatti (SÜDBURG §2)


Rieken, E. and Yakubovich, I. 2017. Contacts between scripts in Bronze Age Asia Minor. Unpublished paper presented in Chicago, March 2017.