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Introduction to Sumerian Grammar

Introduction to Sumerian Grammar

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Published by Kurdish Liberty
Introduction to Sumerian Grammar
Introduction to Sumerian Grammar

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Published by: Kurdish Liberty on Dec 29, 2013
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03/14/2014

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INTRODUCTION TO SUMERIAN GRAMMAR
DANIEL A FOXVOG LECTURER IN ASSYRIOLOGY (RETIRED) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY Revised June 2013
 
 
2CONTENTS PREFACE 3 THE SUMERIAN WRITING SYSTEM 4 TABLE OF SYLLABIC SIGN VALUES 16 PHONOLOGY 18 NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES 23 THE NOMINAL CHAIN 28 PRONOUNS AND DEMONSTRATIVES 31 SUMMARY OF PERSONAL PRONOUN FORMS 38 THE ADNOMINAL CASES: GENITIVE AND EQUATIVE 39 THE COPULA 46 ADVERBS AND NUMERALS 51 THE ADVERBAL CASES 54 INTRODUCTION TO THE VERB 61 DIMENSIONAL PREFIXES 1: INTRODUCTION 69 DIMENSIONAL PREFIXES 2: DATIVE 73 DIMENSIONAL PREFIXES 3: COMITATIVE, ABLATIVE-INSTRUMENTAL, TERMINATIVE 78 CORE PREFIXES: ERGATIVE, LOCATIVE-TERMINATIVE, LOCATIVE 83 THE VENTIVE ELEMENT 90 RELATIVE CLAUSES: THE NOMINALIZING SUFFIX -a 95 PREFORMATIVES (MODAL PREFIXES) 102 THE IMPERATIVE 109 IMPERFECTIVE FINITE VERBS 117 PARTICIPLES AND THE INFINITIVE 127 APPENDIX: CHART OF VERBAL PREFIX CHAIN ELEMENTS 150 APPENDIX: THE EMESAL DIALECT 151 INDEX 152 EXERCISES 153
 
 
3PREFACE E
ntia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem William of Ockham
This grammar is intended primarily for use in the first year of university study under the guidance of a teacher who can describe the classic problems in greater detail, add current alternative explanations for phenomena, help the student parse and understand the many textual illustrations found throughout, and provide supplementary information about the history of the language and the culture of early Mesopotamia. A few exercises have been provided to accompany study of the lessons, some artificial, others drawn from actual texts. Both require vocabulary lookup from the companion Elementary Sumerian Glossary or its equivalent. Upon completing this introduction, the student will be well prepared to progress to sign learning and reading of texts. Konrad Volk's A Sumerian Reader (Studia Pohl Series Maior 18, Rome, 1997-) is a good beginning. This introduction may also be of benefit to those who have already learned some Sumerian more or less inductively through the reading of simple royal inscriptions and who would now like a more structured review of its grammar, with the help of abundant textual illustrations, from something a bit more practical and pedagogically oriented than the available reference grammars. Cross-references have often been provided throughout to sections in Marie-Louise Thom-sen's earlier standard The Sumerian Langauge (Copenhagen, 1987
2
), where additional information and further examples can often be found for individual topics. A newer restatement of the grammatical system is Dietz Otto Edzard's Sumerian Grammar (Leiden, 2003). An up to date quick overview is Gonzalo Rubio's "Sumerian Morphology," in Alan S. Kaye (ed.), Morphologies of Asia and Africa II (2007) 1327-1379. Pascal Attinger's encyclopedic Eléments de linguistique sumérienne (Fribourg, 1993) is a tremendously helpful reference but beyond the reach of the beginner. Abraham H. Jagersma's new revolutionary and monumental Descriptive Grammar of Sumerian (2010) is now available for download on the Web and will eventually be published by Oxford University Press. For standard Assyriological abbreviations used in this introduction see the Abbreviations for Assyriology of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) on the Web. The chronological abbreviations used here are: OS Old Sumerian period (2500-2350 BC) Sarg. Sargonic period (2350-2150 BC) Ur III 3rd Ur Dynasty (Neo-Sumerian) period (2150-2000 BC) OB Old Babylonian period (1900-1600 BC) For those who may own a version of my less polished UC Berkeley teaching grammar from 1990 or earlier, the present version will be seen to be finally comprehensive, greatly expanded, hopefully much improved, and perhaps worth a serious second look. My descrip-tion of the morphology and historical morphophonemics of the verbal prefix system remains an idiosyncratic, somewhat unconventional minority position. Jagersma's new description, based in many repects upon a subtle system of orthographic and morphophonological rules, is now popular especially in Europe, and it may well become the accepted description among many current students of Sumerian grammar. This annual revision has removed hyphens linking simple adjectives from preceding nouns, in keeping with the newest convention, and has made minor improvements to illustrations and added new scholarly references. The pagination however remains virtually the same. Guerneville, California USA June 2013

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