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Related to Sumerian: Sumerian civilization


1. a member of a people who established a civilization in Sumer during the 4th millennium bc
2. the extinct language of this people, of no known relationship to any other language
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Sumerians, spoken until the late third millennium B.C.

Sumerian, whose linguistic affinity has not been established, is attested in cuneiform texts written in the period beginning in the 29th or 28th century B.C. and ending between the third and first centuries B.C. The texts are classified as Archaic Sumerian (before the 25th century); Classical Sumerian (24th-22nd centuries); New Sumerian (21st century); Late Sumerian (early second millennium), which is attested mainly in literary texts but also in business documents; and Post-Sumerian, which appeared in written form when Sumerian was retained only as a second literary language, after Akkadian.

Sumerian grammar includes an ergative construction, in which the subject of a transitive verb is marked by means of a special case and the subject of a verb of state (including a state resulting from an action—that is, an object) is unmarked. Verbs of action have two aspects; there is no category of tense. Sumerian has affixes that express agreement with the subject of a verb of action or of state, as well as with all indirect objects and several adverbial expressions.

Case relationships are marked by suffixes that are added sequentially to the noun; these suffixes, which may reach approximately ten in number, also serve as subordinating elements in nominalized constructions that replace subordinate clauses. There are markers for several types of plural, including, in addition to the collective and definite plurals, a plural that expresses all the objects in a given class. All nominal grammatical markers appear at the end of such syntagms as “headword—modifier” or “noun-subordinate clause” in inverse order with respect to the words they refer to. Certain words and phonemes were taboo for women.


D’iakonov, I. M. lazyki drevnei Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1967.
Falkenstein, A. Das Sumerische. (Handbuch der Orientalistik.) Leiden, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
When I began reading about the beginning of human life on this planet references to Mesopotamian and Sumerian culture kept coming up.
Since the Sumerian story preceded the writing of the Christian bible by thousands of years, it is speculated that the biblical writers got their story of man's creation from the Sumerian creation story, but which was considered to be mythical and not real.
First, a note on terminology: I found the lack of any discussion as to what exactly Espak means by "Sumerian Royal Ideology and Mythology" problematic, especially in light of the material used in the analysis.
Though it's a northern constellation, Mas-tab-ba gal-gal, the Great Twins (Gemini), was associated with the patron deity of the southern skies, Enki, the water-god of the archaic Sumerian city of Eridu.
Amazon Web Services has announced the launch of its Sumerian service, which aims to help developers build virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D applications, and run them on mobile devices, head-mounted displays, digital signage, or web browsers.
3300-2900 BC, Sumerian, sandstone, 14,6 x 14 x 15.6cm, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
However, it is important to emphasize the varying degree of historicity of the Sumerian Laments.
Dr Qusay Al Turky, who is an expert in ancient Eastern civilisation and Iraq's languages, said Sumerians considered Bahrain the land of immortality.
Great Lakes co-founder Patrick Conway and Oriental Institute archaeologist Tate Paulette will give a lecture on the Sumerian beer project.
But now some of those scholars are engaged in a project something like that: re-creating Sumerian beer.
But according to Zecharia Sitchin, an Azerbaijani-born American author and archaeologist, Nibiru is mentioned in ancient Sumerian iconography and symbology.
#quidsin @FreedomBrewery: The earliest instructions for brewing are on a 3,800-yr old Sumerian clay tablet & were sung so the illiterate could brew.