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Is there a single, unified place where one can look up cuneiform signs for Sumerian words? Unicode now supports cuneiform, but every source I've found has only transliterations, not actual cuneiform.

For example, I'd like to find this:

𒆠𒂗𒂠

instead of this:

ki-en-ĝir

Once again, I find myself wishing there were a sumerian.stackexchange.com.

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  • 1
    The problem with almost any conventionalized database is that Sumerian texts are really three-dimensional, and any two-dimensional projection is unlikely to capture all the information in the actual tablet without using conventional signs to indicate the strokes. – jlawler Jun 5 '13 at 21:37
  • @jlawler, it seems to me that while any given object may have writing on multiple sides, the writing itself is two-dimensional. At least, as far as I know. – Joe Jun 6 '13 at 2:26
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    Actually, no, the writing is impressed into the (mounded loaf-shaped) bricks at various angles and with various strengths. It really takes a lot of training to read it, let alone understand it. – jlawler Jun 6 '13 at 2:42
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    Well here is a need for the first 3D dictionary! – hippietrail Jun 6 '13 at 4:23
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    @hippietrail I think there are discussions regarding spatial meaning, such as Christopher Alexander's "The Nature of Order", that are historically germane. I wish there were a way to do semasiographic searches – New Alexandria Dec 11 '13 at 14:41
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Have you already looked at the upenn dictionary? It is at

http://psd.museum.upenn.edu/epsd1/nepsd-frame.html

It uses graphics instead of Unicode I think. You can send an email to Steve Tinney and ask if there is something else that might meet your needs better.

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Yes, there is:

http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/tools/cuneify/

Steve Tinney at UPENN has written a tool called “Cuneify” as part of the ATF* format for encoding cuneiform texts, itself in turn part of the ORACC project:

Oracc is a collaborative effort to develop a complete corpus of cuneiform whose rich annotation and open licensing support the next generation of scholarly research. Created by Steve Tinney, Oracc is steered by Jamie Novotny, Eleanor Robson, Tinney, and Niek Veldhuis.

Cuneify may be used via a web CGI interface, such as the one available here:

http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/help/visitingoracc/reusingoracc/index.html#h_cuneify

If one enters the transliteration in that search box (taking care to note the all-ASCII orthography used in ATF: j for ĝ, etc), then a link like this one will be generated:

http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/cgi-bin/cuneify?input=ki.en.jir&button=Cuneify&project=doc2%2Fvisitor

Following that link will return this:

ki.en.jir

𒆠 𒂗 𒄫

Unfortunately it appears that the source code to Cuneify itself is not open source; it’s only accessible via this web interface.

* Despite the voluminous (and good) documentation for Tinney and company’s various and sundry projects, I have not found the expansion for the acronym “ATF”! Presumably “Assyriological Text Format” or something…

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I have JUST what you need (well not quite... no font, but these are nice resources). I've hosted them on my site for you :) (domain expired ;-( !)

Alphabet of syllables/phenomes: http://www.barriereader.co.uk/sumerian/phenomes.gif http://www.barriereader.co.uk/sumerian/reference.pdf

The reference is really helpful!

Hope that helps!

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  • Any chance these can be archived and shared again here? – ylluminate Mar 27 '18 at 6:36
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    @ylluminate - If I have a back up I'll put them back up. I vaguely remember they were found online somewhere anyway - but if I can, I will x – Barrie Reader Apr 13 '18 at 16:55
  • Thank you so much @Barrie-Reader, appreciate that so very much! – ylluminate Apr 13 '18 at 21:43

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