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If I'm not mistaken, the Sumerians called themselves as 𒊕𒈪𒂵 (saĝ-gíg-ga) and their country as 𒆠𒂗𒄀 (k-en-gi(-r), how would you turn that into an adjectival form or demonym like how -n is added to America to turn it into an adjectival form denoting to the American people, culture, etc.?

Similarly, how would demonyms be formed in Akkadian?

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  • Are you asking about Sumerian or Akkadian? The title mentions both but the question body is only about Sumerian.
    – Draconis
    Oct 13, 2022 at 15:12
  • I actually meant both but I forgot to write Akkadian in the body.
    – GatLikha
    Oct 13, 2022 at 15:29
  • I don't know for sure that it's attested in Akkadian, but the nisba suffix is found in this sense throughout Semitic and Egyptian, so is likely in Akkadian. That may a good place to look for confirmation
    – Tristan
    Oct 13, 2022 at 15:50

2 Answers 2

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Sumerian has very few words that can be described as "adjectives". Someone's homeland would instead be indicated by just combining nouns: lú adabki "the man from Adab". So if you wanted to talk about a whole population, you could extend this to nam.lú.ulu₃ adabki "the people from Adab". This is generally written without a genitive marker, but I believe the marker should be there in the spoken language even if it's not written.

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Most Afro-Asiatic languages would indicate this with a nisba suffix (or as Huehnergard calls it, a "relative adjective"). And indeed, Akkadian has (or at one point had) that suffix too, though it usually gets absorbed into the final vowel of whatever it's attached to: aḫ-um "border" + > aḫ-ī-um > aḫûm "outsider".

Thus, the most common way to form a demonym is (practically speaking) to lengthen the suffix: Amurr-um "Amor" > Amurrûm "Amorite".

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  • should ahûm read aḫûm or is the shift to h correct?
    – Tristan
    Oct 14, 2022 at 13:11
  • @Tristan: It should be aḫûm, yes. However, since plain "h" is not normally used in Akkadian transliteration, and "ḫ" can be a tricky character to type, it's quite common to drop the underbreve. Oct 14, 2022 at 14:20
  • @IlmariKaronen ah yes, I'd forgotten there was only one guttural in Akkadian. Still, the transcription should be consistent
    – Tristan
    Oct 14, 2022 at 14:33
  • @Tristan Yep, just a typo. Fixed.
    – Draconis
    Oct 14, 2022 at 14:40

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