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(Or Auslaute if you want to be pretentious, I suppose.)

In Sumerian, there seems to be uncertainty about the status of final consonants in CVC signs. For example, the unmarked form of "heart" is written with a single sign ša(g), but the genitive as ša(g)-ga; the unmarked form of "king" is luga(l), but the genitive luga(l)-la. Some transcribe "heart" as šà, others as šag₄.

In the transcription of names, the tendency seems to be to include the coda consonants always, no matter what comes after them—so for example, the "lady of heaven" dnin-a(n)-na is Inanna, not *Inana, and the "temple of heaven" é-a(n)-na is Eanna, not *Eana. But Foxvog specifically says this convention is wrong. Michalowski hedges, saying "[i]t is generally assumed that word-final consonants are dropped, but it is unclear if this applies in all situations", but doesn't comment on the usage within words.

The overall impression I get is that "heart" was underlyingly /šag/ but pronounced [ša], while the genitive was underlyingly /šagak/ pronounced [ša.ga]—but I'm not at all certain on this, and could be entirely wrong.

Is there a scholarly consensus on this? Should the word for "heart" be pronounced as [šag] or [ša], and its genitive [šagga] or [šaga] (or [šagak])? And should the lady of heaven be Inanna or Inana?

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    The answer might depend on the time period you're asking about. There's about a thousand years between the invention of writing and the extinction of Sumerian as a vernacular language, and we know (e.g. from comparison of early and late Akkadian loans) that Sumerian pronunciation probably changed in various ways during that time. I suspect this may have been one of them. Dec 31 '20 at 5:09
  • Also, I don't think consonant gemination was phonemic in Sumerian, at least as far as we know, so it seems to me that the difference between e.g. [šagga] and [šaga] may be an arbitrary orthographical one. Different speakers at different times and places might've pronounced the consonant short, long or anywhere in between without any confusion. Dec 31 '20 at 5:11
  • @IlmariKaronen In that case, an answer from anywhere in the period where Sumerian was a living language would work! And your second consonant would also make a good answer—I assumed the difference between VCV and VCCV was important because it's phonemic in Akkadian and Hittite, but if there truly was no length distinction, that answers the second half of my question perfectly.
    – Draconis
    Dec 31 '20 at 5:40
  • As an Indo-Europeanist, I can quite confidently say that this controversy does not apply to Sumerograms as used within IE linguistics: the final consonant is always written there. I’ve never seen LÚ.GAL written without the final L before, for example. Which makes sense, I guess, since the finer distinctions of Sumerian phonology are fairly irrelevant when the signs are used purely for their semantics in a different language. Dec 31 '20 at 11:28
  • Related: linguistics.stackexchange.com/a/40366/10559
    – Draconis
    Jun 26 at 17:38
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[S]hould the lady of heaven be Inanna or Inana?

It seems it doesn't matter.

As Ilmari Karonen put it in a comment:

I don't think consonant gemination was phonemic in Sumerian, at least as far as we know, so it seems to me that the difference between e.g. [šagga] and [šaga] may be an arbitrary orthographical one. Different speakers at different times and places might've pronounced the consonant short, long or anywhere in between without any confusion.

While consonant length was phonemic and quite consistently represented in Hittite, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that it was phonemic in Sumerian, or that it was indicated in any way in Sumerian cuneiform. The use of writings like ak-ka for /akka/ seems to be an Akkadian innovation, and it isn't found until well after the Sargonic period.

In addition, after searching some lexical lists, I haven't found any examples of Akkadian geminates used when transcribing Sumerian words. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but I don't see any evidence of a distinction between Inanna and Inana.

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