Questions tagged [sumerian]

For question about the Sumerian language, an Ancient language used from the 3rd millenium BCE upto the 1st century CE in the Iraq.

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Similarities between Sumerian and Semitic languages

I noticed that the Sumerian words for mother and father, ama and abba respectively, are very similar to the Hebrew words for mother and father, being ema and abba respectively. Given that Sumerian is ...
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How do we know that Sumerian determinatives were not pronounced?

I've read the following in Edzard's "Sumerian Grammar" from 2003: Determinatives: these are signs which precede or follow words or names in order to specify them as belonging to semantic groups. ...
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When does cuneiform numbering “carry over”?

In theory, cuneiform glyphs are numbered to distinguish homophones: if there are two common glyphs pronounced /u/, one will be named U₁ and the other will be named U₂. If a glyph has multiple readings,...
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How should the Sumerian ergative marker be read?

In Foxvog's Sumerian grammar, he assumes that the ergative marker -e was pronounced as -e, even after the possessives -(a)ni and -bi. For example, he transcribes "her king" in the ergative as lugal-(a)...
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Why are the orthographies of Ancient/Proto Languages so Impractical?

For example: In the Romanization of Sumerian, /ŋ/ is written as ⟨g̃⟩ or ⟨ĝ⟩ instead of ⟨ng⟩ or even ⟨ŋ⟩. Also in Sumerian /t͡sʰ/ is written ⟨ř⟩ or ⟨dr⟩. The list goes on with Sumerian. In Proto-Indo-...
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How to decode the Cuneiform ORACC data?

I just found this, the "OGSL Signlist" for Cuneiform. Remove the frame to get here. I click on a sign like A.EDIN and see this: Values:eribₓ; eru₄; erua; erum₄; ummuₓ; ummudₓ. for |A.EDIN| as ...
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Is the Sumerian king list etymologically understood?

While some names in the Sumerian King List contain standard Sumerian words (e.g. "sipad" : shepherd, "dumu" : son, "zid" : true, "en" : king), I haven't found a comprehensive translation/etymological ...
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Can you build words by sound in Sumerian Cuneiform?

I am messing around with Sumerian from here. Can you build words out of components and map them to "letters" of some sort? Like, how can you build new words in Sumerian? Basically, "ka-la-nu", can I ...
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How can I find the word “behind” a cuneiform logogram?

Suppose I'm looking at a clay tablet, when come across an unfamiliar sign. Looking up that second glyph in a sign list, I see that it's called GAR; putting that into the ePSD, I'm told it can be read ...
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Are there non-binary or gender-neutral cuneiform determinatives?

There seems to be a decent amount of historical evidence for categories of people in ancient Mesopotamia who were considered neither male nor female. However, the standard cuneiform determinatives I'...
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Is there a connection between the Sumerian En and the Semite El?

En means lord in Sumerian and El god or deity in Semitic. Semitic peoples use the word lord as a synonym of god, it seems that the same happens with Sumerian and its gods like Enlil, Enki, Enzu etc. ...
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(How) did Hittite borrow words from Sumerian?

It was always my understanding that Hittite borrowed the cuneiform script from the Sumerians via Akkadian. This would prevent Hittite from borrowing lexemes from Sumerian unless Akkadian borrowed them ...
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Why was polyphony a failure for the Sumerians, when English functions with heteronymy?

Source: Language at the Speed of Sight (1 ed. 2017), p. 45 Bottom.   Combining graphical elements to create words is an essential property of modern writing systems, but the cuneiform ...
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Why is a Compound Ideograph disastrous if the meaning of the characters are relevant, but not their pronunciations?

Source: Language at the Speed of Sight (1 ed. 2017), p. 45 Bottom.   Combining graphical elements to create words is an essential property of modern writing systems, but the cuneiform ...
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Similarity of I am / you are in Sumerian

It follows from this course of Sumerian grammar and basic syntax, that the forms of copula (though I prefer to call it 'a predicate-indicating final verb') for the 1st and 2nd singular were identical. ...