A descriptive grammar of Sumerian - download pdf or read online

By Bram Jagersma

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Example text

Sumerian, too, borrowed many lexical items from Akkadian. Such lexical borrowing occurred already quite early. Sumerian actually shows several layers of loanwords borrowed from Akkadian during the third millennium. The most recent layer consists of nouns like za-ba-lum (a tree) (Cyl A 12:5; L; 22) from Akkadian supālum. They show the Akkadian nominative suffix -um. An earlier layer consists of nouns like damha~ -ra ‘battle’ (Ent. 28 1:26; L; 25) from Akkadian tamh~ārum. They have a suffix -a. , silim ‘whole’ (Nik 1:287 2:2; L; 24) from Old Akkadian *śalim.

That the rather uniform scribal traditions hide a great deal more from us is obvious from occasional slips into nonstandard spellings. g. ECTJ 81 3; N; 24). Such differences in pronunciation must have been common but are only rarely reflected in the written language. While the dominant written language during the Ur III period was a variety of Southern Sumerian, this changes during the subsequent, Old Babylonian period. The first centuries of the second millennium have yielded a great many unilingual Sumerian texts.

Then, these terms were generally replaced by two completely opaque terms taken from Akkadian: h~amtu and marû. 1). Note, however, that their usage differs strongly from their namesakes in the Slavic languages. Two terms are used in a potentially confusing way in this grammar: ‘oblique object’ and ‘participle’. The former is the normal linguistic term for any object which is not a direct or indirect object. 1). The second potentially confusing term is ‘participle’, which I use in the newly coined labels ‘present participle’, ‘past participle’, and ‘imperfective participle’ for three basic Sumerian non-finite verbal forms.

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A descriptive grammar of Sumerian by Bram Jagersma


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