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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 ?
1 Note the regular correspondence of PEI /*k/ which becomes /s/ in Elamite and /k/ or /x/ in Brahui depending on the following vowel.
He was able to confirm this development by comparing the Manding and the Elamite languages, and the Sumerian and Dravidian languages.
The same is a reminder of the new Elamite civilization.
Archeological ruins verify the entire province of Khuzestan to be home to the Elamite civilization, a non-Semitic, and non-Indo-European-speaking kingdom, and "the earliest civilization of Persia".
They found collections of ancient Persian artifacts--prehistoric pottery, ornaments, and precious tablets with Elamite writing--on loan from Iran to Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute.
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.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The American academic society who refuses to return the Persian Achaemenid tablets to Iran after decades has now reached out to an Iranian expert and translator of Elamite and Akkadian languages to translate the tablets into Persian and English.
There he noted that Cyrus the Great and his ancestors were identified in the famous Akkadian Cyrus Cylinder and other contemporary documents as kings of Ansan, a claim which if taken at face value means that Cyrus was really an Elamite and not a Persian.
It also contains remnants of the Elamite, Parthian and Sassanian dynastic eras.
Mamasani is located on a major road between two former preeminent Elamite sites, ancient Anshan (modern Tall-e Malyan) some 100km to the east of Mamasani in the highland Kur River basin in Fars, and Susa/Shush some 400km to the west in lowland SW-Khuzistan.
In response to the allegations of dismissal, Chitsaz wrote, "As you are very well aware, I have resigned from my post for the reason of ICHTO's negligence toward Susa heritage sites as well as ignoring my constant protest over the illegal construction of the Amirzargar Hotel, only 30 meters from the Apadana Palace, which has been constructed on the top of the Elamite and Achaemenid dynastic remains.