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(ē`ləmīt'), extinct language of uncertain relationship that was once spoken in the ancient kingdom of ElamElam
, ancient country of Asia, N of the Persian Gulf and E of the Tigris, now in W Iran. A civilization seems to have been established there very early, probably in the late 4th millennium B.C. The capital was Susa, and the country is sometimes called Susiana.
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, located in SW Asia. It appears to be unrelated to any other languages, although some scholars see a kinship between Elamite and Brahui, one of the modern Dravidian languagesDravidian languages
, family of about 23 languages that appears to be unrelated to any other known language family. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, living chiefly in S and central India and N Sri Lanka.
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. Elamite is an agglutinative language in that different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are often joined to form one word. A number of stone inscriptions and clay tablets that have Elamite texts written in cuneiformcuneiform
[Lat.,=wedge-shaped], system of writing developed before the last centuries of the 4th millennium B.C. in the lower Tigris and Euphrates valley, probably by the Sumerians (see Sumer).
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 survive. These texts cover a period of about 2,000 years that began at the end of the third millennium B.C.



the language of the people who inhabited the ancient state of Elam. The linguistic affinity of Elamite has not yet been established, although the most promising line of research would appear to lie in the study of Elamite-Dravidian relationships.

The earliest Elamite texts were written in the Old Elamite period (30th-22nd centuries B.C.) in “proto-Elamite,” which was markedly pictographic; this writing system has not yet been deciphered (seePICTOGRAPHIC WRITING). Toward the end of the period, Elamite adopted the Accadian cuneiform writing. An inscription on the Naram-Sin stele (23rd century B.C.) is the only text that has been preserved from the Old Elamite period.

Texts from the Middle Elamite period (14th–12th centuries B.C), including several bilingual Accadian-Elamite texts, are also known. Texts of the eighth century B.C., unlike those of the preceding periods, are extremely diverse in genre.

Elamite, an agglutinative language, was an official language of the Achaemenid Empire, and the most extensive Elamite texts date from this period. The language of the Achaemenid inscriptions was strongly influenced, however, by Old Persian, which is reflected in such areas as lexicon, syntax, and style and in the presence of numerous caiques.


D’iakonov, I.M. Iazyki drevnei Pererdnei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Reiner, E. “The Elamite Language.” In Handbuch der Orientalistik: Altkleinasiatische Sprachen. Leiden-Cologne, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
Between the skeletons, we found some pottery vessels from the Middle Elamite period.
Ergativity was also found in a number of extinct languages of the ancient Near East: Sumerian, Hattic, and Elamite (all isolates) and Hurrian and Urartian (which are related to one another).
He is the only African-American attempting to confirm the theories of Diop in relation to the genetic unity of the Egyptian, Black African, Elamite, Sumerian and Dravidian languages.
Of these four terms the Elamite libaruri (libar + uri) may be singled out.
Winters had used Diop's genetic model in his research by combining anthropological, linguistic and historical methods to confirm that the center for the rise of the originators of the Egyptian and Manding civilizations, the Magyar or Hungarian civilization, the Dravidian civilization, and the Sumerian and Elamite civilizations was the Fertile Crescent of the highland regions of Middle/Saharan Africa.
According to a report by Press TV, the tablets date back to the early Elamite period and bear information about the economical situation and the management system of the era.
Thus the studies deal with Akkadian and Elamite Mesopotamia, Roman collecting, Urartian and Hellenistic Armenia, the post-depositional treatment of the dead in Mycenae, the positioning of a Roman temple on Athens' Acropolis, architecture in the eighth century BC Napatan (Nubian) landscape, early medieval temples in India and finally the use of space in two urban centres in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
The Elamite ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil supports this interpretation with directional symbolism.
AT LEAST Nik phrased his accusation more eloquently than Greece's foreign ministry which a day earlier came up with the sort of put-down you would expect to read in a yellow rag or hear from an Elamite.
The Bardi castle is a huge structure which was built during the Elamite period and made of large slabs of stones (without mortar).
The 75-year-old specialist in the Avestan, Pahlavi and Elamite languages was assigned in early June to decipher the brick and stone inscriptions, which are kept at the Shush Castle near Susa, the capital of ancient Elam in the province of Khuzestan.
The Karun River valley was once inhabited by the Elamite civilization which rose about 2,700 B.