Luke wrote:On the question of the neologisms. I'm unaware of how some aspects of the Sumerian grammar seem to have worked, but I've looked at some vocabulary and I wonder, would it allow to create words from scratch like Finnish?
OK, I have read over 200 pages of a grammar (A Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian), and can now touch on this.
Sumerian has very little in the way of derivational affixes. There is pretty much only one, a prefix, nam. It makes a verb or noun into an abstract noun.
Here are a couple examples:
namti.l* < ti.l*; noun - life, verb - to live
namlugal < lu+gal (man+great/big; meaning king); meaning kingship
namdumu < dumu (child); childhood
There are two ways to make compounds, one productive and one not.
The unproductive way, right-headed compounds:
eša.g* < e (house/temple) + ša.g (heart); "innermost part of the house"
šusi < šu (hand) + si (protrusion); finger
The productive, left-headed way:
dubsarmah < dub (tablet) + sar (write) [dubsar means scribe] + mah (great/chief); chief scribe
ušumgal < ušum (snake) + gal; dragon
*The dot separating these phonemes means that the final consonant is lost in some cases.
So Sumerian isn't greatly suited for neologisms, but it's not impossible.
Oh, and if anyone reads the older posts in this thread, don't listen to Karavinka. He is wrong on just about everything...