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Urartian language

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Region Northeastern Anatolia
Extinct Yes
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Urartian cuneiform tablet on display at the Erebuni Museum in Yerevan.

Urartian is the name for the language spoken by the people of the ancient kingdom of Urartu in northeast Anatolia (present-day Turkey), in the region of Lake Van.

Urartian was a language isolate, which was neither Semitic nor Indo-European, but a member of the Hurro-Urartian family.

There is a hypothesis that suggests that besides the cuneiform inscriptions of the Urartian language, Urartu had a native hieroglyphic writing system. Armenian scientist Artak Movsisyan published a partial attempt deciphering of Urartian hieroglyphs, saying that they were written in an early form of Armenian.

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More reading

  • C. B. F. Walker: section Cuneiform in Reading the Past. Published by British Museum Press, 1996, ISBN 0-7141-8077-7.
  • J. Friedrich: Urartäisch, in Handbuch der Orientalistik I, ii, 1-2, pp. 31-53. Leiden, 1969.
  • Gernot Wilhelm: Urartian, in R. Woodard (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages. Cambridge, 2004.
  • Mirjo Salvini: Geschichte und Kultur der Urartäer. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1995.

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