Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/345

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
316
CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS

to the Babylonian for tliat letter, and it is now admitted as correct. He reckoned eleven initial consonantal sounds : they include the consonants already named with the exception of m^ to^-ether with tk^ c/i, p, k. v^ /, n and y. With these united to one of the three vowels all the svUables in the lani>'ua<re are formed. The double syllables are composed of the same con- sonantal sounds (excluding tit and ?/), separated by a. He did not consider that any of the signs represented the union of two consonants separated l^y i or u^ an opinion that has been since over-ruled. He recognised that there was no diflerence between the surd and sonant consonants at the beginning of a word, and he agreed with Westergaard that the double letter in the middle emphasised the hard sound. He saw also that the same sign was used equally to express the Persian m and w ; and that 'the aspirate, which is quite uncertain, must also be disregarded.' He accepted the two determina- tive signs already admitted l)y Westergaard, and also the determinative l)efore the words for ' aod' and ' heaven ' which had been ])ointed out by Hincks.^ He also re- cognised the ideogram for ' month.' The gradual recog- nition of the similaritv of a lar<>e number of the Median and Babvlonian sio-ns was at lenuth bemnnini»' to bear fruit. Xorris indicates a reseml)lance between nearly fiftv in his list of one hundred and three si^ns.- Twentv of these are indeed ' identical ' in form, and independent investigation proved that they conveyed the same sound in botli lan^niaaes. In the otliers the similaritv was sufficiently striking to afford an important confirmation of the values arrived at bv the studv of the text. Indeed

^ \\v attributes this observation to IToltzDiann, who wrote in 1851; but llincks'a opinion was publislied three years previously in the Traiu. R. /. Acad. 1848. Norris had heard of D*^ Saulcv, but did not read him ; see J, It. A. S. -w. 153, note.

- We have counted 47, iV>». pp. 7-40.