5810Re: [ANE-2] Re: Cuneiform question.
- Aug 1, 2007Robert Whiting wrote:
> --- In ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org, jimw wagner <jpw@...> wrote:Sorry, your transcriptions do not come through.
>> The other day, I was looking at pl. 48 in the British Museum series
>> part 40, "omens concerning the surdu bird (falcon)."
>> When I looked up this word in the Akkadian Dictionary at:
>> It gave the name as surdu(MUÅ EN), MUÅ EN apparently being the
>> determinative for at least some birds.
>> The ePSD (http://psd.museum.upenn.edu/epsd/nepsd-frame.html)
> confirms this.
> This is quite correct.
>> However, the second part of the determinative, as it occurs in BMC4000,
>> does not appear in any of the Neo-Assyrian lists I have, that is,
>> Borger, Bauer, or Labat.
> I do not understand what you are talking about. There is no "second
> part of the determinative". The determinative is a single sign, MUÅ EN,
> which represent the Sumerian word for 'bird'. The sign is also used
> logographically for the Akkadian word iá¹£á¹£Å«ru 'bird'.
I see what my problem is here, then. the two signs (in Assyrian seeming
to be gag-h(u) are actually read as one sign, mus(en, as in the word
read _weapon_, which appears to be two different signs.
>Thanks. I suspect I learned much of this stuff back in my Cuneiform
>> This same sign occurs in several times in the cylinder of
> Sennacherib (BMC2600) with the value of 'á¸«u'.
>> Can anyone give me enlightenment on this? For instance, I haven't found
>> any other bird-names that took the determinative though I haven't read
>> more than a limited sample of cuneiform texts. Also, can anyone give me
>> any notion of why the value of the sign should be so radically
>> between Sumerian and Neo-Assyrian. (Yes, I realize that one is a
>> language-isolate and the other is Semitic. Is there any reason
> beyond that?
> Do you need a reason beyond that? But you are looking at the problem
> from the wrong end. The sign does not have different values in
> Sumerian and Akkadian. The sign has the same values in both. It
> simply depends on what the sign is being used for.
> I'm not sure that I can explain this to you because you really need to
> have some idea about how writing systems work and how they express
> language before you can grasp the concepts involved here.
> First, although Sumerian and Akkadian use essentially the same writing
> system, they use it in different ways. Sumerian writing is
> logo-syllabic (i.e., most content words are written logographically
> while most function words as well as bound morphemes [markers of
> person, number, gender, plurality, and case relationships] are written
> syllabically; foreign words and concepts that have no logogram are
> also often written syllabically); Akkadian writing is essentially
> syllabic (i.e., everything can be written syllabically, although
> logograms are frequently used as shortcuts to represent words or as
> determinatives for resolution of ambiguities resulting from the use of
> logograms representing different words).
> Second, cuneiform is both homophonic and polyphonic. That means that
> different signs can have the same value and that a single sign can
> have more than one value. When this sign means 'bird' a Sumerian
> would read it as muÅ¡en (but an Akkadian speaker would read it as
> iá¹£á¹£Å«ru; we write is as MUÅ EN in Akkadian context to show that it is
> being used logographically and is not to be read according to the
> value of the sign). But being polyvalent, the sign also has the value
> 'á¸«u'. It has this value in both Sumerian and Akkadian. This value is
> strictly syllabic (i.e., it has no meaning associated with it). The
> Sumerians had a term for such values, KA.KA-si-ga, the interpretation
> of which is obscure, but whose meaning is undisputed. KA.KA-si-ga
> refers to values of a sign that are syllabic only (i.e., there is no
> logographic meaning associated with the value). In Sumerian, 'á¸«u' is
> found most often as an optative particle in verbal prefix chains
> (interestingly enough, the Sumerian sign KUâ,+ [meaning 'fish'] also has
> a KA.KA-si-ga value 'á¸«a', which also appears primarily as an optative
> particle as well). In Akkadian 'á¸«u' is simply used to write the
> syllable /á¸«u/; it has no logographic use (as it does not in Sumerian).
> Similarly, MUÅ EN is used only logographically; it has no syllabic use
> (as it does not in Sumerian).
>> One of my main curiosities, I suppose, is that if a sign occurs as a
>> part of a determinative, why is it not in the major sign-lists?
> I still don't know what you mean by "part of a determinative". But
> one of the reasons why you won't find all Sumerian logographic reading
> for a sign in the modern sign lists is that they are geared toward
> Akkadian. If a Sumerian logographic value is not used in Akkadian
> (i.e., doesn't have an Akkadian equivalent) it is likely not to be in
> a modern Akkadian sign list. Since determinatives really don't have
> an equivalent in the language (being used as mnemonic-identifying
> devices), they are likely not to be represented. For that you have to
> go back to Deimel.
>> If I'm asking the wrong questions, I'd appreciate being told that as
> Consider yourself told (gently, I hope).
course near to forty years ago, but not having dealt with it until just
recently, it's slipped out of my mind.
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