A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts (Aids and Research by John L. Hayes

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By John L. Hayes

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Additional info for A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts (Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, No 5)

Sample text

It is not always easy, however, to define "word" in Sumerian. 0, "his temple". ani is the third person animate possessive­ suffix. The antecedent is ambiguous; it could refer to Ur-Nammu, or it could refer to Nanna. ani refers back to Nanna. 0 is the case-marker for the absolute case. This case indicates what we would call the direct object of a transitive verb, or, more appropriately, the patient. , are commonly used. 0. 7. 0, "he built". This line contains the verbal phrase. The verb in Sumerian works rather differently than the verb in the Semitic or Indo-European languages.

Instead, they use case-endings at the end of nominal phrases, that is, "postpositions". Also, in most S-O-V languages, adjectives follow their head noun, not precede. As will be seen in Lesson 2, this is also how Sumerian works. Thus, in many ways (not in all), S umerian is a typical S-O-V language. G. Haayer ( 1986) discusses some of the characteristics of S umerian in light of the universal tendencies of language. He points out, for example, that "Most ergative languages have SOY basic word order", and "The combination of ergativity and postpositions in a single language points almost invariably to S OY basic word order" (1986:80).

Jacobsen believes that Inanna was originally the "numen of the communal storehouse for dates". He thinks that the / ani-component of her name meant "date-clusters": "Her name ... would appear to have meant originally 'the lady of the date-clusters'" ( 1957 : 1 08); later, her name was "re-interpreted" as "lady of the sky/heaven". Ki-en-gi This ON is always written syllabically. The etymology is unsure; this is dis­ cussed below. The word ended in a /r/, not reflected in the script. The Akkadian equi­ valent of Kiengi was Sumeru.

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