Sumerian Study Group

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-12, 22:22

Well, I did say "long live," after all!

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-12, 23:17

Sorry, I totally forgot to reply to this!
dEhiN wrote:Shall we continue on with the next section, or even part of the next section?

Yeah, I say we go for trying to do the next section.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 5:29

vijayjohn wrote:Sorry, I totally forgot to reply to this!
dEhiN wrote:Shall we continue on with the next section, or even part of the next section?

Yeah, I say we go for trying to do the next section.

The whole section by Saturday? We could try and see how it goes. Section 2.2 goes from page 29 to page 32 and consists of several what I find to be confusing examples of vowel harmony. So, one option is we just do pages 29 and 30, and then 31 and 32 next week. Chances are, however we split it up, I'm going to be asking on here for help analysing the examples.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-13, 6:33

Okay, I just took a look at that section, and, errr, yeah, let's split it! :lol:

EDIT: God it's annoying how he never provides translations for the Sumerian examples in that section :evil:

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 18:30

vijayjohn wrote:EDIT: God it's annoying how he never provides translations for the Sumerian examples in that section :evil:

I know, right?! The first time I saw those examples, I was super confused because I was trying to follow the four-line dissection that he explained in Lesson 1 and was getting nowhere. Eventually I realized he didn't include the fourth line of translations.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 18:44

Alright all, I updated this week's assignment. I know it's Tuesday already, so we have a shortened week, but it's only 2 pages: the first half of section 2.2 (pp. 29 - 30).
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2018-11-13, 19:40

Already read until the beginning of page 34 the week before last when I was in the bus without internet and had forgotten until where. So no need to wait for me ^^

I also found his glossed transcriptions a bit confusing, but I decided to look only at the relevant parts of the examples and ignore the rest of it for now. I also don't think we already need to remember which suffix undergoes vowel harmony and which exact sign it then is replaced with, but that this will be covered again when those suffixes are taught.

I like the idea behind that technical term graphoneme. I hadn't heard it before, is it common?

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 19:54

Eril wrote:Already read until the beginning of page 34 the week before last when I was in the bus without internet and had forgotten until where. So no need to wait for me ^^

Quite the keener, aren't we? :P :D So, you finished up to the end of Lesson 2, except for the exercises? I didn't realize there were exercises until just now. How do you guys want to handle the exercises?

Eril wrote:I also found his glossed transcriptions a bit confusing, but I decided to look only at the relevant parts of the examples and ignore the rest of it for now. I also don't think we already need to remember which suffix undergoes vowel harmony and which exact sign it then is replaced with, but that this will be covered again when those suffixes are taught.

That makes sense, and I'm glad you said that. I won't stress out so much about trying to understand the examples fully.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2018-11-13, 20:00

dEhiN wrote:Quite the keener, aren't we? :P :D So, you finished up to the end of Lesson 2, except for the exercises? I didn't realize there were exercises until just now. How do you guys want to handle the exercises?

Yes, that's how far I got. I would say we handle the exercises as the lesson texts and give 2 weeks time for them (either for all of them or part of them, I don't know how long they will take compared to the mere reading).
They look quite nice and thought through to me, so I wouldn't want to skip them.
Perhaps we could then do them on our own and if we encounter any problems or are unsure about our results, we could ask here. Or one provides solutions and the others compare with their own solutions.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 20:50

Eril wrote:Perhaps we could then do them on our own and if we encounter any problems or are unsure about our results, we could ask here. Or one provides solutions and the others compare with their own solutions.

I like the idea of providing solutions; that's what some of us have been doing in the other study groups. Whomever finishes first (and is up to it) can provide their answers, and then the others can compare and correct if need be.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-13, 21:00

I was reading through the consonants table again - I had decided to write out the consonants and their transliterations in my notebook for future reference - and I was curious about the fact that 4 phonemes are transliterated with {-}: /j/, /h/, /tsʰ/ and /ʔ/. The same happens with {d}, both /tsʰ/ and /t/ are transliterated with it. As well, with {r}, both /tsʰ/ and /ɾ/ are transliterated with it. So, how are we supposed to know which phoneme to use when either of those 3 graphonemes?

Also, what about this sentence at the end of section 2.1:
The voiceless aspirated affricate ([tsʰ]) appears in the earlier literature as the /dr/-phoneme.
How is this /dr/ phoneme indicated? What graphoneme is used for it? I guess since the table shows {d} and {r} as graphoneme transliterations for /tsʰ/, does Zólyomi mean that in the earlier literature, a graphoneme of {dr} was used for /tsʰ/? Because he writes phoneme, not graphoneme. So what graphoneme is used in the earlier literature for this /dr/ phoneme?
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-14, 6:23

Since you expressed some confusion regarding vowel harmony, and I'm not sure whether everyone else is on the same page regarding this concept, either, I thought maybe I'd try to explain what it is in this post. I'm not going to promise this is the best explanation at all (just my attempt without looking at anything), and you may all already know some or all of this, but I thought it might still be better than none at all.

Suppose you try to make the sound [ i ] - the "ee" in "see." (Of course, I have to use spaces here or else phpBB will assume I mean to italicize the text :P). If you then slowly lower your tongue, the sound you produce will eventually be [æ] - the "a" in "cat." For this reason, linguists classify [ i ] as a high vowel and [æ] as a low vowel. The difference between [ i ] and [æ] is a difference of vowel height. In this section of his book, Zólyomi lists two high vowels for Sumerian, [ i ] and [u], and two low vowels, [e] and [a].

When you make the sound [ i ], the front of your tongue is the part that's highest, compared to other parts of your tongue. However, when you make the sound [u], it's the back of your tongue that's the highest. For this reason, linguists also classify [ i ] as a front vowel and [u] as a back vowel. The difference between [ i ] and [u] is one of backness. In this section, Zólyomi lists two front vowels in Sumerian, [ i ] and [e], and two back vowels, [u] and [a].

Vowel harmony is a process where one vowel's height and/or backness matches the height and/or backness of the vowel in an adjacent syllable. To take his first example, there is a prefix in Sumerian that is written as {e} when the next vowel grapheme (the next grapheme representing a vowel, in the next syllable) is {a}. This is because both [e] and [a] are both low vowels, and so the vowels in both syllables have the same height. If the next vowel grapheme was {e} instead of {a}, the prefix would probably be {e} as well. However, before {i} or {u}, the prefix would instead be {i}, since and [u] are both [i]high vowels.

Does that make some sense?
Eril wrote:I also found his glossed transcriptions a bit confusing, but I decided to look only at the relevant parts of the examples and ignore the rest of it for now. I also don't think we already need to remember which suffix undergoes vowel harmony and which exact sign it then is replaced with, but that this will be covered again when those suffixes are taught.

Same.
I like the idea behind that technical term graphoneme. I hadn't heard it before, is it common?

Not that I know of!
They look quite nice and thought through to me, so I wouldn't want to skip them.

Aw man, I thought we were gonna skip 'em. :silly: Nah, I think you're right. Doing them shouldn't do us any harm. :)
dEhiN wrote:I was curious about the fact that 4 phonemes are transliterated with {-}: /j/, /h/, /tsʰ/ and /ʔ/. The same happens with {d}, both /tsʰ/ and /t/ are transliterated with it.

That's because /j/, /h/, /tsʰ/ and /ʔ/ were all lost by the 3rd millennium BCE and are thus ignored in most transcriptions of Sumerian.
As well, with {r}, both /tsʰ/ and /ɾ/ are transliterated with it.

That's because /tsʰ/ also merged with /ɾ/ (or /t/) before a vowel by the 3rd millennium BCE.
Also, what about this sentence at the end of section 2.1:
The voiceless aspirated affricate ([tsʰ]) appears in the earlier literature as the /dr/-phoneme.

I think it's possible that here, he's referring to earlier research on Sumerian, not ancient literature in Sumerian. If I'm right about that, then he's saying that earlier research said that Sumerian had a phoneme /dr/, but he thinks that [tsʰ] is a more accurate representation of how it was pronounced, at least at some point before the end of the 3rd millennium BCE.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Widukind » 2018-11-14, 8:45

I might just join in. I know plenty about the Sumerians, having studied them extensively, but I’ve put off learning the language.

I’ve run out of excuses. :ohwell:

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-14, 20:01

Widukind wrote:I might just join in. I know plenty about the Sumerians, having studied them extensively, but I’ve put off learning the language.

I’ve run out of excuses. :ohwell:

Yay, welcome! Are you ok to catch up? If you've studied the Sumerians, you could probably skip Lesson 1 if you're pressed for time.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Widukind » 2018-11-15, 1:13

Thank you!

I think I can catch up. I'll let you guys know if it won't work out for some reason.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-18, 5:20

Um...has everyone but Widukind and me forgotten about this study group? :para:

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-18, 6:07

vijayjohn wrote:Um...has everyone but Widukind and me forgotten about this study group? :para:

No, not at all. Eril said he had finished up to the end of 2.2, or the beginning of the exercises. I also read ahead and finished up to the end of 2.2; I even tried the exercises, though I found them challenging.

I also meant to respond to your lengthy explanatory post: thank you very much for explaining all that! It was quite helpful, to me at least.

What were you able to read up to? We'll also need to see how much Antea was able to do. The assignment was only up to the end of page 30.
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-18, 6:18

dEhiN wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Um...has everyone but Widukind and me forgotten about this study group? :para:

No, not at all. Eril said he had finished up to the end of 2.2, or the beginning of the exercises. I also read ahead and finished up to the end of 2.2; I even tried the exercises, though I found them challenging.

Wait, what? I read all of 2.2, but the exercises come after the Further Readings section, which is right after 2.3! (Okay, those two sections are really short, but still, I didn't read them :P EDIT: Or haven't read them yet).

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-18, 7:29

vijayjohn wrote:
dEhiN wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Um...has everyone but Widukind and me forgotten about this study group? :para:

No, not at all. Eril said he had finished up to the end of 2.2, or the beginning of the exercises. I also read ahead and finished up to the end of 2.2; I even tried the exercises, though I found them challenging.

Wait, what? I read all of 2.2, but the exercises come after the Further Readings section, which is right after 2.3! (Okay, those two sections are really short, but still, I didn't read them :P EDIT: Or haven't read them yet).

I'm sorry, I meant Eril finished up to the end of the Further Readings section and I did so as well.

So, for this week, we could just finish up 2.3 and the Further Readings section, again giving Widukind and Antea a chance to catch up? Or, if they have caught up, then we could do both those sections as well as try the Exercises?
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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-11-18, 7:50

Either way sounds fine to me. :)


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