Learn to Read Ancient Sumerian: An Introduction for Complete Beginners.

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Learn to Read Ancient Sumerian: An Introduction for Complete Beginners.

Learn to Read Ancient Sumerian: An Introduction for Complete Beginners.

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The language was of course inscribed into clay tablets using a reed stylus and, while working with clay has become a common enough activity in the Sumerian classroom, there is a certain artifice to reproducing signs with pen and paper. The corpus contains Sumerian texts in transliteration, English prose translations and bibliographical information for each composition.

Our understanding of Sumerian is heavily influenced by lists of phoenetic values compiled by speakers of Semitic languages, and they may not have pronounced Sumerian exactly as native speakers did.

L. Thomsen’s The Sumerian Language: An Introduction to its History and Grammatical Structure [Akademisk Forlag; Ref 4 PJ4021 . Any grammatical terms that are used are explained in clear language, and a handy index provides definitions just in case you need a reminder! Foxvog has published his Introduction to Sumerian Grammar [CDLI; available online] directly to the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) preprints collection. Additionally the dictionary is limited in that it doesn’t cover every Sumerian word presented in the cuneiform sign list.

Sumerian cuneiform evolved out of a logographic accounting system which originally only had signs for common nouns and numbers. I also enjoyed how invested it is in just the language itself, avoiding a tale of the culture, history and gods that could hurt the book’s goal of teaching the language (though, perhaps an acknowledgment of figures persons and places may be good to distinguish say, a god’s or king’s title, from a body of text). To some extent you can see the same cuneiform symbols in later Akkadian texts, but forget about the grammar. The project has catalogued, photographed, and digitized more than 320,000 artifacts, nearly half of which include Sumerian text.It's extremely niche topic and I can guarantee that you'll have absolutely no use for this knowledge[1], but if you're into learning exotic languages, this can be fun.

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