Sumerian Study Group

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-03, 16:35

Still struggling to get anywhere, I did a few more of the translations/glossing problems :( But the other study groups don't seem active at the moment, so maybe that'll help me finally get something more done.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby księżycowy » 2019-03-04, 14:40

If that's the case, I might have to change my strategy for you Vijay....

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Ashucky » 2019-03-04, 21:00

Somehow I've been completely oblivious to this thread until now 0.o I don't think I have the time to join in (I totally would, though), but I had no idea An Introduction to the Grammar of Sumerian by Gábor Zólyomi existed - I've browsed through it and it looks fairly promising. I've read Bram Jagersma's A descriptive grammar of Sumerian about twice (because I've made a conlang based off it, a sort of modernised Sumerian, as one does), and it's amazing.

Gábor Zólyomi's book might be a good way of checking whether I understood Sumerian properly :D

Also, good luck to you guys when you reach lesson 6 and onwards. Sumerian verbs are ... quite peculiar :lol:
Slovenščina (sl)English (en)Italiano (it)漢語 (zh)Español (es)Suomi (fi)Svenska (sv)日本語 (ja)فارسی (fa)Nešili (hit)
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
Največji sovražnik znanja ni nevednost, marveč iluzija znanja.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-05, 19:37

Well, you can join in any time! Currently progress is fairly slow here, you should be able to catch up, especially if you already have previous knowledge.

And yeah, from what I remember of that introductory course I once took, we do have something to "look forward to" regarding the verbs...

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-10, 19:21

Decided to skip deciphering the cuneiform for now and instead simply took a look at that sentence in transcription and, with the help of the translation, analyzed it.

So I would say I'm done with that chapter's exercises - how is your progress, @vijayjohn?

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-10, 20:42

It's kind of funny that you asked now because I was just working on it (before I posted in the Arabic forum just now, anyway)! I've been working on it for hours, but I'm still on exercise #2. :oops: I've tried to do a through m (but haven't checked my answers yet, since I haven't even finished the exercise yet!).

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-13, 19:00

Well, if it's taking you long then that at least means you are learning something from the exercises :)

If you have any questions, fell free to ask!

I did not find them too difficult, but well, seems like I learnt much more from that introductory seminar to Sumerian I once took than had been my impression at that time, so I might have some advantage there.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-16, 4:32

Okay, I completed exercise #2 at last although I haven't finished checking my answers yet. I have absolutely no prior familiarity with Sumerian at all, so I'm pretty confused by a lot of things. For one thing, I was trying to follow the style of the glosses in the text, but the answer key doesn't use the same style. It also makes the seemingly unfounded assumption that everything must have either an ergative suffix or an absolutive one even though this is not borne out in the glosses even in the chapter itself.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-16, 19:25

vijayjohn wrote:Okay, I completed exercise #2 at last although I haven't finished checking my answers yet. I have absolutely no prior familiarity with Sumerian at all, so I'm pretty confused by a lot of things. For one thing, I was trying to follow the style of the glosses in the text, but the answer key doesn't use the same style.


You're right, the solutions especially omit the number of slot a given morpheme belongs to - but those don't appear very often in later lesson either.
They are in 3.3, though.
It also makes the seemingly unfounded assumption that everything must have either an ergative suffix or an absolutive one even though this is not borne out in the glosses even in the chapter itself.

In Sumerian, any full noun phrase ends with a case marker, or with nothing, i.e. the "zero suffix" for the absolutive.
I think the author wanted to make it easier by mainly including the most common cases, ergative and absolutive, in the exercise. There is also one with an equative, though, and one with a dative.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-17, 6:26

Is there some reason why the absolutive isn't simply analyzed as unmarked? Why posit the existence of a null morpheme to mark the absolutive instead of assuming the default form to be in absolutive case?

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-17, 14:26

Probably depends on which linguistic theory you subscribe to whether you posit a null morpheme or not.
For didactic purposes it makes sense in so far as by doing so you mark the case in the annotation, so that it is clear that here the noun phrase ends.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-18, 22:12

Eril wrote:They are in 3.3, though.

I just did this exercise and completely forgot that this was the exercise you specifically mentioned! I thought it was in the next chapter or something for some reason.

I don't get the locative cases at all.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-19, 19:02

vijayjohn wrote:
Eril wrote:They are in 3.3, though.

I just did this exercise and completely forgot that this was the exercise you specifically mentioned! I thought it was in the next chapter or something for some reason.

I don't get the locative cases at all.

You mean, that there are several locative cases?
I skimmed a bit through other places in the book mentioning the locatives, and among other things, the locative 3 can also be used to mark the causee of a causative verb. So seems like they have different grammatical (and possibly semantic) functions.
The author mentions that there are also other theories on the number of locatives, and that he explains his position here: https://www.academia.edu/618027/The_Cas ... rian_Cases

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-03-21, 1:35

Eril wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Eril wrote:They are in 3.3, though.

I just did this exercise and completely forgot that this was the exercise you specifically mentioned! I thought it was in the next chapter or something for some reason.

I don't get the locative cases at all.

You mean, that there are several locative cases?

No, I mean how to interpret them (in particular, how to translate the case markers into English). I thought they all just meant 'in' or something and don't know how to tell they mean something else.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-03-21, 18:30

vijayjohn wrote:
Eril wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Eril wrote:They are in 3.3, though.

I just did this exercise and completely forgot that this was the exercise you specifically mentioned! I thought it was in the next chapter or something for some reason.

I don't get the locative cases at all.

You mean, that there are several locative cases?

No, I mean how to interpret them (in particular, how to translate the case markers into English). I thought they all just meant 'in' or something and don't know how to tell they mean something else.

I think they do normally at least refer to a place, but in 3.3 j) they are referring to a movement towards. And at this point of the book we are not yet expected to know how to interpret them.
In the solutions, I think there might be a mistake in the translation of the locative in 3.3 c), but as it's only part of a sentence we can't really tell. I didn't look at the translations that closely before.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-04-29, 21:16

I've finally managed to get through 3.4 and 3.5. I haven't done the last four exercises yet, but I'm not too worried about that since there's no answer key for them anyway. :)

Eril, are you still here? Where are you in the book at this point?

Thanks! :)

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-04-30, 4:40

Hi, great to hear from you again!
I've actually not yet continued but instead put my focus on other languages that I'm learning.
So if you want we can simply move on to the next chapter now.

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby Eril » 2019-05-14, 6:03

Well I've found time to read the next chapter now and started learning the vocab.

Took a look at the exercises and there are some to translate into Sumerian, great that the textbook teaches that as well :)

How's the progress on your part?

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-14, 6:12

Yikes, I didn't even see that you replied until just now!! :o This week seems pretty busy, but I'll still try to do the same as you or at least read the next chapter! Thanks! :)

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Re: Sumerian Study Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2019-05-19, 15:28

Okay, I've finally finished reading it!


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