Sumerian

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Lauren
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2012-09-20, 23:02

Luke wrote:Looking at the state of Sumerian and Early Egyptian, if you're looking for "old" Akkadian seems to be the next best option.

But I agree, I think Sumerian must have been a fascinating language.

Yeah, it seems so.

It already is a fascinating language to me, which is why I want to learn it. :(
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2012-09-29, 13:55

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?
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: Sumerian

Postby salam101 » 2012-12-19, 16:18

I once took up learning Akkadian, but it was so hard that I quit. First of all, there is the Akkadian language.I found the whole three root consonant thing impossible with verbs, and the morphological structure was quite complex and confusing. I personally don't know another Semitic language (Farsi is the closest thing I know to one), but I'm sure it is worse than Arabic. Then, there is cuneiform. It's probably the most difficult script I've ever seen! Some signs can have over ten different values, some syllabic, some logo-graphic, and a few determiners. Even if you know the actual Akkadian language, you'll never figure out what the text says due to the ambiguity!

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 1:40

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...
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2013-05-23, 15:32

That's the 2010 grammar?

I have a 2012 grammar by Foxvog. It has some interesting stuff, for example, the name of the goddess Inanna would actually be Inana because the script is redundant.
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 17:08

Luke wrote:That's the 2010 grammar?

I have a 2012 grammar by Foxvog. It has some interesting stuff, for example, the name of the goddess Inanna would actually be Inana because the script is redundant.

Yes. That is correct, it most likely should be Inana.

However, the 2010 grammar is much more exhaustive than the 2012 grammar. ;)
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2013-05-23, 17:21

Well it's longer.

I'm just slightly paranoid about whatever points they might disagree with. And with the change of the language over time. :para:
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Re: Sumerian

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-05-23, 19:14

Oh, and if anyone reads the older posts in this thread, don't listen to
Karavinka. He is wrong on just about everything..
Why? Because he made some strong arguments against you? You never rebutted any of his claims, so why should I believe your word over his?

Just sayin'.

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 19:26

mōdgethanc wrote:
Oh, and if anyone reads the older posts in this thread, don't listen to
Karavinka. He is wrong on just about everything..
Why? Because he made some strong arguments against you? You never rebutted any of his claims, so why should I believe your word over his?

Just sayin'.

Why? Because every single thing he quoted from that book is wrong. It's very misleading to those that don't know much about Sumerian. It would take an entire essay for me to rebut what he said; it would be easier for everyone to just take a look at A Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian.

Karavinka wrote:Phonology: "The phonology of the language is not well understood, and it is fair to say that it will never be fully recoverred."

Pronouns: "Nothing is known about inanimate third person, although it is possible that this function was fulfilled by ur5 (or ur5-bi). As already noted, not all forms are attested."

Adjectives: "No proper study of adjectives exists; recent grammars contain limited information on this category."

Valence: "Matters of valence in Sumerian have been disputed, but no concensus has been reached."

Tense and aspect: "Opinion is divided on whether the two forms of the Sumerian verb differ in tense or in aspect. ... There has been much discussion of the exact meaning of these words [hamtu and maru] as well as of whether these technical terms describe the Sumerian verbal forms or their Akkadian translations."

Mood: "The traditional description of modes distinguishes between pairs of homophonous prefixes that differ in meaning depending on the mood. ... There are reasons to reject this interpretation; certain modal prefixes are indeed usually associated with one aspect or the other, but this results from the semantics of the mode and not from any formal constraints."

Conjugation prefixes: "The prefixes that fall in this position constitute the most controversial part of Sumerian grammar. No two Sumerologists appear to agree fully on their form, meaning, etymology, and identity; the number of ranks that they occupy is equally disputed."

Syntax: "The syntax of Sumerian is perhaps the most neglected part of the grammar."

Phonology: The only aspects of phonology we are unsure about are stress, and the allocation of long vowels and geminate consonants.

Pronouns: It's very possible that Sumerian didn't have an inanimate third person. This isn't uncommon.

Adjectives: This guy says not much is known about them, because, well, they didn't really exist, save for a couple dozen. Most so-called "adjectives" are actually verbs with a simple suffix.

Valence: I have never seen a single grammar for any language talk about valence, so it's no surprise to me that no one talks about valence with Sumerian.

Aspect: Verbs are based on aspect (perfective and imperfective) and not tense.

Mood: Edzard has much to say on the subject of moods.

Conjugation prefixes: I'll give you a quote from Jagersma: "In actual fact, the so-called conjugation prefixes are mutually independent prefixes, each with its own unrelated function. Accordingly, the present grammar treats the traditional conjugation prefixes separately, in different chapters."'

Syntax: "Syntax" is too broad a term, you'll have to be more specific.
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Re: Sumerian

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-05-23, 19:31

Lowena wrote:Why? Because every single thing he quoted from that book is wrong. It's very misleading to those that don't know much about Sumerian.
This is begging the question.
It would take an entire essay for me to rebut what he said; it would be easier for everyone to just take a look at A Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian.
Since not everyone happens to own a copy of it nor can be arsed to find one, you might as well answer his claims yourself. In other words: Shit or get off the pot.

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2013-05-23, 19:35

While I also have the impression that the language is actually better understood than he made it seem, eeh, a deal of it seem to be reconstructions and deductions based on a reduced number of examples sampled at different moments in time. Many of them written by speakers of Akkadian.

So it might depend of how you look at it.
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 19:51

mōdgethanc wrote:
Lowena wrote:Why? Because every single thing he quoted from that book is wrong. It's very misleading to those that don't know much about Sumerian.
This is begging the question.
It would take an entire essay for me to rebut what he said; it would be easier for everyone to just take a look at A Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian.
Since not everyone happens to own a copy of it nor can be arsed to find one, you might as well answer his claims yourself. In other words: Shit or get off the pot.

Take a look at my previous post, I added answers to each of his claims.
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Re: Sumerian

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-05-23, 20:06

Lowena wrote:Take a look at my previous post, I added answers to each of his claims.
Thanks. You have no idea how gratifying it is when someone on the Internet actually delivers on something like this.

Not that I know much about Sumerian, but I thought he was being a bit of a naysayer. We might not understand Sumerian as well as Latin, but we surely understand it better than Sindarin, and people still write in that.

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 20:13

mōdgethanc wrote:
Lowena wrote:Take a look at my previous post, I added answers to each of his claims.
Thanks. You have no idea how gratifying it is when someone on the Internet actually delivers on something like this.

Not that I know much about Sumerian, but I thought he was being a bit of a naysayer. We might not understand Sumerian as well as Latin, but we surely understand it better than Sindarin, and people still write in that.

Yes... Either he honestly doesn't know the real situation with Sumerian, or he just really didn't want me to learn Sumerian for some odd reason. :P

Isn't it much more satisfying to find out for yourself then to have someone tell you though?
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2013-05-23, 20:17

mōdgethanc wrote:but we surely understand it better than Sindarin, and people still write in that.

They do? Sindarin is less developed than Quenya and I already found Quenya kind of limited back in the day.
Geurea dena lapurtzen uzteagatik, geure izaerari uko egiteagatik.

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Re: Sumerian

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-05-23, 20:45

They certainly try.
Lowena wrote:Yes... Either he honestly doesn't know the real situation with Sumerian, or he just really didn't want me to learn Sumerian for some odd reason. :P
He just jelly.
Isn't it much more satisfying to find out for yourself then to have someone tell you though?
Of course it is. But you're more knowledgeable than me about it, so why not get it straight from the horse's mouth?

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lur » 2013-05-23, 20:49

Yeah, plus that grammar is freaking long.

Not that I complain.
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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 21:05

mōdgethanc wrote:They certainly try.
Lowena wrote:Yes... Either he honestly doesn't know the real situation with Sumerian, or he just really didn't want me to learn Sumerian for some odd reason. :P
He just jelly.
Isn't it much more satisfying to find out for yourself then to have someone tell you though?
Of course it is. But you're more knowledgeable than me about it, so why not get it straight from the horse's mouth?

Because Jagersma knows even more than I do, and a lot at that? :P
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Re: Sumerian

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-05-23, 21:24

Because Jagersma knows even more than I do, and a lot at that?
But how am I to know that? Is there a digitized copy of his work online I can access? I'm certainly not going to the library to try to hunt it down just to satisfy a passing curiosity about a language I have no interest in learning.

EDIT: As a matter of fact, there is: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/16107

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Re: Sumerian

Postby Lauren » 2013-05-23, 21:41

mōdgethanc wrote:
Because Jagersma knows even more than I do, and a lot at that?
But how am I to know that? Is there a digitized copy of his work online I can access? I'm certainly not going to the library to try to hunt it down just to satisfy a passing curiosity about a language I have no interest in learning.

EDIT: As a matter of fact, there is: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/16107

Well there ya go. ;)
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