By Bram Jagersma

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Extra resources for A descriptive grammar of Sumerian

Sample text

The two basic Sumerian verbal forms have had several different labels over time. Until the late 1960s they were usually called the ‘preterit’ and the ‘present-future’. 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.

4). Because these texts were produced by scribes who were not native speakers of Sumerian, I have generally excluded them from my corpus. After the early Old Babylonian period, scribes continue to produce Sumerian texts until the late first millennium BCE but with interlinear Akkadian translations added. Sumerian had become a language of scholarship and cult. These later texts are primarily lexical lists, literary texts, incantations, and cult songs. 3. Dialects Sumerian was spoken during a long period and over a large area, in many different states, towns, and villages.

1 Standard Sumerological transliterations do not distinguish between logograms and phonograms, but the present grammar transliterates phonograms with italics (cf. 7 below). Many signs have more than one usage. g ‘speak’, or inim ‘word’. 2 Another example of a multifunctional sign is NI. 1 Sumerologists generally use the terms ‘syllabic’ and ‘syllabogram’ instead of ‘phonographic’ and ‘phonogram’. The latter two terms are preferred here because they refer unambiguously to the function of writing sounds, whereas the terms ‘syllabic’ and ‘syllabogram’ suggest a function of writing syllables, a function that does not really apply.

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A descriptive grammar of Sumerian by Bram Jagersma

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