11 votes
Accepted

What's going on with ŠÁR?

TL;DR: The sign ŠAR2 was originally a numeral sign meaning 3600 = 60 × 60. Like all early cuneiform numerals, it was made by pushing the tip of a round stylus into the clay. When these round styli ...
11 votes

Tabannusi in cuneiform script

As noted by Draconis, this is not a Sumerian but an Akkadian word, specifically a form of the verb banû, "to build". Specifically, I would analyze it as the G-durative (for the D-stem, the ...
9 votes

Tabannusi in cuneiform script

This is an Akkadian word, a form of banû "to build". My grasp of Akkadian conjugation isn't the best, especially for "weak" verbs that lose one of their consonants, but it looks ...
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8 votes
Accepted

What is Ugaritic "Ž"?

In the monograph Угаритский язык [1965, Сегерт С.] (“The Ugaritic Language”, 1965, by Stanislav Segert), page 22, section 3.14, the author states that in the latest stages of the existence of Ugaritic ...
  • 16.7k
8 votes

How do Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs differ?

The biggest difference, as you mention, is that the oldest forms of hieroglyphic writing don't indicate vowels at all and the oldest forms of cuneiform writing do. (By "oldest forms" here I ...
  • 57.8k
7 votes
Accepted

How are cuneiform glyphs numbered?

In theory, the signs with the lowest index numbers are the most frequent. In practice, the numbers were assigned when the pronunciation of signs were first identified. For example, after u1, u2, u3 ...
  • 23.1k
7 votes
Accepted

How to find translation for cuneiform script containing "man" and "heaven/god"

It appears to be a made-up combination of signs from different periods, with one of the signs flipped backwards. The first sign appears to be a combination of the Neo-Assyrian forms of LÚ = "man" (...
6 votes

What is Ś in Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform?

ś is the conventional transliteration for Hebrew שׂ ( śīn ), and is used also for its Semitic source, now more usually transcribed as s₂. It is believed that Old Akkadian (at least) still retained ...
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5 votes

What is Ugaritic "Ž"?

To add on to Yellow Sky's excellent answer, and based on suggestions by Vladimir F in the comments, here's an excerpt from Segert's later A Basic Grammar of Ugaritic Language (1985): In some late, ...
  • 57.8k
5 votes
Accepted

Is there a standardized graphical encoding for cuneiform?

I haven't heard about anything like that concerning cuneiform glyphs, but there's a very interesting paper, The Xixia Writing System (Bachelor of Arts Honours Thesis), 2008, by Alan Downes (...
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5 votes

How do we know that Sumerian determinatives were not pronounced?

Another good indication is the use of determinatives in linguistically-unrelated languages that share the same writing system. Classical Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform was used to write Sumerian (a ...
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5 votes

How do we know that Sumerian determinatives were not pronounced?

A good argument for determiners being silent can be this: names of different kinds of trees and names of wooden things were preceded by the determiner G̃IŠ (tree, wood, tool), for example: G̃IŠ.nàd, ...
  • 16.7k
5 votes

How is Urkesh spelled in cuneiform?

It's not that surprising for the cuneiform spelling of proper names to sometimes vary, as they indeed seem to do here. The first tablet (AO 5678) on the page you linked to is somewhat damaged, but ...
4 votes
Accepted

How to decode the Cuneiform ORACC data?

A is the conventional name for a particular cuneiform glyph, typically its most common or best-known pronunciation. But the sign A can be read as a, aya₂, e₄, ea, ŋa₁₀, or many others. The JSON is ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Can you build words by sound in Sumerian Cuneiform?

Yes, Sumerian scribes did sometimes write words entirely or partly phonetically using syllable signs. This could occur for several reasons: As Draconis already noted, grammatical prefixes and ...
4 votes
Accepted

Were long vowels distinguished in cuneiform?

In Akkadian, Ca-a, Cu-u, Ci-i are often used to indicate Semitic long vowels, but this is not consistent. For example, dabābu “word” is usually written as da-ba-bu, but sometimes it appears as da-ba-...
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4 votes
Accepted

How many sibilants did Old Akkadian cuneiform distinguish?

Gelb proposes that there were four sibilant series, somewhat confusingly named z, š₁₂, š₃, and š₄. The z series was written with signs ZA, ZÉ, ZI, ZU, and represented the outcome of what Semiticists ...
  • 57.8k
3 votes
Accepted

Are there non-binary or gender-neutral cuneiform determinatives?

If I'm not mistaken, the determiner DIŠ (which is literally just the sign for "one", a single cuneiform wedge) can sometimes be found also with female names. The double determiner DIŠ.MUNUS is also ...
3 votes
Accepted

A question about cuneiform transliteration

Yes, when a sign is transliterated in lowercase, it's being used to indicate the pronunciation of an Akkadian word—but the origin of that pronunciation is not specified. For example, the sign a is ...
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2 votes

Can you build words by sound in Sumerian Cuneiform?

To some extent, yes! Sumerian did use some of its characters phonetically to spell out inflections. For example, dumu-tur-bi-ne-da son-small-DEM-PL-COMIT "with those small sons" would be written with ...
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2 votes
Accepted

How were glottal stops indicated in Akkadian cuneiform?

According to Huehnergard's grammar (appendix D.1.d), Babylonian scribes distinguished the sign 𒄴 from the sign 𒀪. The former was used for VH, and the latter for the glottal stop—some authors call it ...
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2 votes

How many sibilants did Old Akkadian cuneiform distinguish?

I think you have examined this issue thoroughly. I was misled by von Soden's confusing notation. It does indeed seem that no known variant of Akkadian distinguished between Semitic s1 and s2.
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2 votes

How do Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs differ?

I don't think much is known about the early stages of Egyptian writing. We get either a few objects with Hieroglyphic labels in the first few centuries or full blown passages in the pyramid texts a ...
2 votes
Accepted

Difference between 𒄣 and 𒄤

gum ( 𒄣) usually means to beat something to pieces, while gaz ( 𒄤) means to crush something. This glossary shows gaz as something similar to gum. They're synonyms.
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1 vote

What is Ś in Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform?

Hasselbach 2005 discusses the use of ś in OAkk transcription, which she says was introduced by von Soden, but ultimately rejects it as unclear. According to her, modern (post-Gelb) scholars generally ...
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