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Sumerian as Uralic

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  • Brian Colless
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 5, 2011
      <http://www.s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/42TurkicAndSumer/SimoParpola_Altaic-UralicAndSumerEn.htm
      >

      Simo Parpola
      Sumerian: A Uralic Language
      (Helsinki, 2007)
      53e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Moscow, July 23, 2007

      I have often heard that Sumerian is "an agglutinative language like
      Finnish".

      Now that my daughter Laurel Colless has given me two Finnish
      granddaughters, I ought to be interested in this question (she is the
      wife of Finland's ambassador in Washington, but soon to move to
      Athens).

      Simo Parpola has now argued that Sumerian is Ural-Altaic, bringing it
      in from the cold of isolation (or into the cold). He notes that this
      hypothesis has been tried before but has been rejected by Finno-
      Ugrists and Assyriologists.

      Another thing that is said about Finnish is that its nouns have
      umpteen cases (inflexions).

      From my observation, languages with cases lose them along the way
      (Latin into the Romance languages), though German has been very
      conservative in contrast to English.

      Did Sumerian have a paradigm of cases?

      Is there a connection? Parpola had found relevant 478 verbs and 589
      nouns in 2007, but I have seen, for example, a long list of words that
      shows Italian and Arabic are closely related, though I think Parpola's
      argument would be stronger.

      He has the Sumerians arriving in Mesopotamia (as invading immigrants,
      with wheeled vehicles) around 3300 BCE.

      Brian Colless

      School of History
      Massey University
      New Zealand

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Peter T. Daniels
      My first problem with Simo s paper is that he talks about Ural-Altaic. Since there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say about Uralic
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
        My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic." Since
        there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say about Uralic
        philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are typological, not genetic --
        the same sorts of things that led to the positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a
        century ago. (It was sort of a successor to "Turanian," which even in those days
        was recognized as a sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic
        unity.)
         --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
        Jersey City




        ________________________________
        From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, June 6, 2011 1:46:45 AM
        Subject: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic

         

        <http://www.s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/42TurkicAndSumer/SimoParpola_Altaic-UralicAndSumerEn.htm

        >

        Simo Parpola
        Sumerian: A Uralic Language
        (Helsinki, 2007)
        53e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Moscow, July 23, 2007

        I have often heard that Sumerian is "an agglutinative language like
        Finnish".

        Now that my daughter Laurel Colless has given me two Finnish
        granddaughters, I ought to be interested in this question (she is the
        wife of Finland's ambassador in Washington, but soon to move to
        Athens).

        Simo Parpola has now argued that Sumerian is Ural-Altaic, bringing it
        in from the cold of isolation (or into the cold). He notes that this
        hypothesis has been tried before but has been rejected by Finno-
        Ugrists and Assyriologists.

        Another thing that is said about Finnish is that its nouns have
        umpteen cases (inflexions).

        From my observation, languages with cases lose them along the way
        (Latin into the Romance languages), though German has been very
        conservative in contrast to English.

        Did Sumerian have a paradigm of cases?

        Is there a connection? Parpola had found relevant 478 verbs and 589
        nouns in 2007, but I have seen, for example, a long list of words that
        shows Italian and Arabic are closely related, though I think Parpola's
        argument would be stronger.

        He has the Sumerians arriving in Mesopotamia (as invading immigrants,
        with wheeled vehicles) around 3300 BCE.

        Brian Colless

        School of History
        Massey University
        New Zealand

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Trudy Kawami
        Peter, For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why Ural-Altaic is now a non-category (at least in some eyes). Trudy S. Kawami,
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
          Peter,
          For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes).

          Trudy S. Kawami, PhD
          Director of Research
          Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
          461 East 57th Street
          New York, NY 10022
          212-980-5400 X25
          www.arthurmsacklerfdn.org

          From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter T. Daniels
          Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 11:11 AM
          To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic



          My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic." Since
          there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say about Uralic
          philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are typological, not genetic --
          the same sorts of things that led to the positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a
          century ago. (It was sort of a successor to "Turanian," which even in those days
          was recognized as a sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic
          unity.)
          --
          Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...<mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net>
          Jersey City

          ________________________________



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sikozu Johnson
          On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 2:22 PM, Trudy Kawami wrote: For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
            On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 2:22 PM, Trudy Kawami
            <tkawami@...>wrote: "For
            those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why
            "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes)."

            Well, I can answer that in a non-specialist manner: Ural-Altaic was a
            lumping without real proof and with varying meanings depending on the
            locutor. While we are working hard to demonstrate that Altaic is a "real"
            over-family comprised of the linguistically-established Mongolic and Turkic
            families (as opposed to, say, two families whose physical nearness caused a
            great deal of loanwords, areal grammatical and phonological convergence),
            there is no solid evidence that a superfamily bigger than that is in
            existence.

            Basically, Ural-Altaic was a "lumping" idea suggested by linguists on the
            basis of very slim evidences, for example, that the languages in question
            all were spoken in East and Central-East Asia in the past. Beyond that,
            there's no evidence.

            But! It might one day be proven to be correct. Still, I have to ask what on
            earth Parpola is comparing, considering that we don't *have* a Ural-Altaic
            proto-language to compare Sumerian to...

            Anna Johnson
            Harvard College '97


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Robert M Whiting
            ... I m not Peter, but this is my understanding the current view: There is no Ural-Alataic because there is no Altaic language group. It is a ghost-family
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
              On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, Trudy Kawami wrote:

              > Peter,
              > For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why
              > "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes).

              I'm not Peter, but this is my understanding the current view:

              There is no Ural-Alataic because there is no Altaic language group. It is
              a ghost-family consisting of languages that have many typological
              similarities that have resulted from long periods of contact (much as
              English has many characteristics of French, but English is not a Romance
              language); these are generally known as "areal features" -- features that
              languages share simply by being in contact over a long period of time.
              "Altaic" then is a group of languages that look somewhat similar but that
              are not genetically related.

              The "Altaic hypothesis" breaks down because it has proved impossible to
              reconstruct a proto-language for the group. This indicates that there is
              no genetic relationship because languages that are genetically related
              were once the same langauge. And this "same language" (the
              proto-language) can be reconstructed from the daughter languages if in
              fact the daughter languages are genetically related. It is a (relatively)
              simple matter of tracing the cognate words in the daughter languages back
              through regualr sound changes and phonological laws until you reach a form
              that could have been the ancestor of all the cognates in the daughter
              languages. This works a treat for Proto-Indo-European, but doesn't work
              at all for "Altaic".

              People (including linguists) still speak of "Altaic" languages but usually
              put "Altaic" in quotation marks to indicate that while it may be
              considered as a group, the grouping is based on shared typological
              features and common vocabulary based on extensive loans and not on a
              genetic relationship between the languages.

              Bob Whiting
              whiting@...


              > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter T. Daniels
              > Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 11:11 AM
              > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic
              >
              > My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic."
              > Since there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say
              > about Uralic philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are
              > typological, not genetic -- the same sorts of things that led to the
              > positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a century ago. (It was sort of a
              > successor to "Turanian," which even in those days was recognized as a
              > sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic unity.)
              > --
              > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...<mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net>
              > Jersey City
            • Trudy Kawami
              So in other words, this language grouping is about as valid as the image of the Sumerians in their creaky 4-wheeled carts pulled probably by onager-donkey
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
                So in other words, this language "grouping" is about as valid as the image of the Sumerians in their creaky 4-wheeled carts pulled probably by onager-donkey hybrids "invading" Mesopotamia. :)

                Trudy S. Kawami, PhD
                Director of Research
                Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
                461 East 57th Street
                New York, NY 10022
                212-980-5400 X25
                www.arthurmsacklerfdn.org

                From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert M Whiting
                Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 4:02 PM
                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic



                On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, Trudy Kawami wrote:

                > Peter,
                > For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why
                > "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes).

                I'm not Peter, but this is my understanding the current view:

                There is no Ural-Alataic because there is no Altaic language group. It is
                a ghost-family consisting of languages that have many typological
                similarities that have resulted from long periods of contact (much as
                English has many characteristics of French, but English is not a Romance
                language); these are generally known as "areal features" -- features that
                languages share simply by being in contact over a long period of time.
                "Altaic" then is a group of languages that look somewhat similar but that
                are not genetically related.

                The "Altaic hypothesis" breaks down because it has proved impossible to
                reconstruct a proto-language for the group. This indicates that there is
                no genetic relationship because languages that are genetically related
                were once the same langauge. And this "same language" (the
                proto-language) can be reconstructed from the daughter languages if in
                fact the daughter languages are genetically related. It is a (relatively)
                simple matter of tracing the cognate words in the daughter languages back
                through regualr sound changes and phonological laws until you reach a form
                that could have been the ancestor of all the cognates in the daughter
                languages. This works a treat for Proto-Indo-European, but doesn't work
                at all for "Altaic".

                People (including linguists) still speak of "Altaic" languages but usually
                put "Altaic" in quotation marks to indicate that while it may be
                considered as a group, the grouping is based on shared typological
                features and common vocabulary based on extensive loans and not on a
                genetic relationship between the languages.

                Bob Whiting
                whiting@...<mailto:whiting%40cc.helsinki.fi>

                > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com<mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com<mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Peter T. Daniels
                > Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 11:11 AM
                > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com<mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic
                >
                > My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic."
                > Since there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say
                > about Uralic philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are
                > typological, not genetic -- the same sorts of things that led to the
                > positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a century ago. (It was sort of a
                > successor to "Turanian," which even in those days was recognized as a
                > sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic unity.)
                > --
                > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...<mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net><mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net>
                > Jersey City



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Peter T. Daniels
                My reply will be somewhere between Sikozu s and Bob s. These days, there seem to be more Altaicists favoring the genetic unity of the three (not just two)
                Message 7 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
                  My reply will be somewhere between Sikozu's and Bob's.

                  These days, there seem to be more Altaicists favoring the genetic unity of the
                  three (not just two) families, Turkic - Mongolic - Tungusic (the only well-known
                  Tungusic language was Manchu, which is extinct in its homeland of Manchuria but
                  survives out west in a variety not written with the Manchu alphabet) than not;
                  and the Japanese-Korean phylum (the late Samuel Martin's demonstration of their
                  unity is rather convincing) in turn is said to be related to Altaic. (See Roy
                  Andrew Miller, *Japanese and the Other Altaic Languages*.) But there was much
                  contact over the centuries, so the historical picture is very muddled, and the
                  most ancient records are IIRC from the mid 1st millennium CE.

                  But adding in Uralic is another matter. First, it's basically impossible to
                  reconstruct any vowels in Proto-Uralic,* because of the vowel harmony** that
                  pervades all the languages, so the ancestral roots are pretty meager stuff to
                  work with. And then, the time-depth for any PUA is pretty much beyond what we
                  think can safely be reached with the Comparative Method that gave us
                  Indo-European (which in its entirely goes back only about as far as the
                  closely-knit Semitic family must go back).

                  *Uralic is Finno-Ugric + Samoyed. Finnic includes Finnish, Estonian, and Saami
                  [Lapp]; and Ugric includes Hungarian and a bunch of dying languages mostly north
                  and east of Moscow.

                  **Vowel harmony says that within a word (to generalize), all the vowels have to
                  agree in one or more of their features -- so the Turkish plural -lVr is -lar
                  after a word with one kind of vowel and -ler after words with a different kind
                  of vowel.--
                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
                  Jersey City




                  ________________________________
                  From: Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...>
                  To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Mon, June 6, 2011 2:22:15 PM
                  Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic

                   
                  Peter,
                  For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain why
                  "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes).

                  Trudy S. Kawami, PhD
                  Director of Research
                  Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
                  461 East 57th Street
                  New York, NY 10022
                  212-980-5400 X25
                  www.arthurmsacklerfdn.org

                  From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter T.
                  Daniels
                  Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 11:11 AM
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic

                  My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic." Since
                  there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say about Uralic
                  philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are typological, not genetic --
                  the same sorts of things that led to the positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a
                  century ago. (It was sort of a successor to "Turanian," which even in those days
                  was recognized as a sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic
                  unity.)
                  --
                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...<mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net>
                  Jersey City

                  ________________________________
                • Robert M Whiting
                  ... Oh, it s a valid grouping , it s just not a demonstrable language family if one takes language family in its accepted historical linguistic meaning of a
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
                    On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, Trudy Kawami wrote:

                    > So in other words, this language "grouping" is about as valid as the
                    > image of the Sumerians in their creaky 4-wheeled carts pulled probably
                    > by onager-donkey hybrids "invading" Mesopotamia. :)

                    Oh, it's a valid "grouping", it's just not a demonstrable language family
                    if one takes "language family" in its accepted historical linguistic
                    meaning of a group of languages that are all descended from a common
                    language. If there is no demonstrable Altaic language family, there is no
                    Ural-Altaic superfamily. Nonetheless, there are those who defend the
                    existence of an Altaic language family vigorously.

                    It is important to keep in mind that the reconstruction of a prehistoric
                    proto-language is always an inductive proof, subject to the limitations of
                    inductive proofs. One does not "prove" that there was a
                    Proto-Indo-European language; rather one makes it impossible to believe
                    that there was not a Proto-Indo-European language by providing evidence of
                    cognate forms over a large number of languages far in excess of
                    coincidence. The farther back you go in time or the fewer the number of
                    languages you have to draw on, the more difficult it becomes. However, it
                    is also important to keep in mind that just because no convincing Altaic
                    proto-language has yet been demonstrated does not necessarily mean that
                    there is not one.

                    Bob Whiting
                    whiting@...


                    > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com On Behalf Of Robert M Whiting
                    > Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 4:02 PM
                    > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic
                    >
                    > On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, Trudy Kawami wrote:
                    >
                    > > Peter,
                    > > For those of us who are philologically challenged, could you explain
                    > > why "Ural-Altaic" is now a non-category (at least in some eyes).
                    >
                    > I'm not Peter, but this is my understanding the current view:
                    >
                    > There is no Ural-Alataic because there is no Altaic language group. It
                    > is a ghost-family consisting of languages that have many typological
                    > similarities that have resulted from long periods of contact (much as
                    > English has many characteristics of French, but English is not a Romance
                    > language); these are generally known as "areal features" -- features
                    > that languages share simply by being in contact over a long period of
                    > time. "Altaic" then is a group of languages that look somewhat similar
                    > but that are not genetically related.
                    >
                    > The "Altaic hypothesis" breaks down because it has proved impossible to
                    > reconstruct a proto-language for the group. This indicates that there is
                    > no genetic relationship because languages that are genetically related
                    > were once the same langauge. And this "same language" (the
                    > proto-language) can be reconstructed from the daughter languages if in
                    > fact the daughter languages are genetically related. It is a
                    > (relatively) simple matter of tracing the cognate words in the daughter
                    > languages back through regualr sound changes and phonological laws until
                    > you reach a form that could have been the ancestor of all the cognates
                    > in the daughter languages. This works a treat for Proto-Indo-European,
                    > but doesn't work at all for "Altaic".
                    >
                    > People (including linguists) still speak of "Altaic" languages but
                    > usually put "Altaic" in quotation marks to indicate that while it may be
                    > considered as a group, the grouping is based on shared typological
                    > features and common vocabulary based on extensive loans and not on a
                    > genetic relationship between the languages.
                    >
                    > Bob Whiting
                    > whiting@...
                    >
                    > > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com On Behalf Of Peter T. Daniels
                    > > Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 11:11 AM
                    > > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    > > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic
                    > >
                    > > My first problem with Simo's paper is that he talks about "Ural-Altaic."
                    > > Since there is no such thing, it renders suspect anything he might say
                    > > about Uralic philology. Also, many of the traits he mentions are
                    > > typological, not genetic -- the same sorts of things that led to the
                    > > positing of "Ural-Altaic" more than a century ago. (It was sort of a
                    > > successor to "Turanian," which even in those days was recognized as a
                    > > sort of "elsewhere" category and not a demonstrated genetic unity.)
                    > > --
                    > > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
                    > > Jersey City
                  • Robert M Whiting
                    ... Perhaps, but since Vovin jumped ship so dramatically in 2005 ( The end of the Altaic controversy [review of Starostin et al. 2003], *Central Asiatic
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 6, 2011
                      On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

                      > My reply will be somewhere between Sikozu's and Bob's.
                      >
                      > These days, there seem to be more Altaicists favoring the genetic unity
                      > of the three (not just two) families, Turkic - Mongolic - Tungusic (the
                      > only well-known Tungusic language was Manchu, which is extinct in its
                      > homeland of Manchuria but survives out west in a variety not written
                      > with the Manchu alphabet) than not;

                      Perhaps, but since Vovin jumped ship so dramatically in 2005 ("The end of
                      the Altaic controversy" [review of Starostin et al. 2003], *Central
                      Asiatic Journal* 49, 71-132), the momentum seems to have swung to the
                      anti-Altaicists.

                      > and the Japanese-Korean phylum (the late Samuel Martin's demonstration
                      > of their unity is rather convincing) in turn is said to be related to
                      > Altaic. (See Roy Andrew Miller, *Japanese and the Other Altaic
                      > Languages*.) But there was much contact over the centuries, so the
                      > historical picture is very muddled, and the most ancient records are
                      > IIRC from the mid 1st millennium CE.
                      >
                      > But adding in Uralic is another matter. First, it's basically impossible
                      > to reconstruct any vowels in Proto-Uralic, because of the vowel
                      > harmony that pervades all the languages, so the ancestral roots are
                      > pretty meager stuff to work with. And then, the time-depth for any PUA
                      > is pretty much beyond what we think can safely be reached with the
                      > Comparative Method that gave us Indo-European (which in its entirely
                      > goes back only about as far as the closely-knit Semitic family must go
                      > back).

                      Or, to quote Starostin: "The few scholars that studied the [Altaic]
                      languages regarded them rather as part of a common Ural-Altaic family,
                      together with Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic languages -- an idea now
                      completely discarded." (Starostin et al. 2003: 8).

                      Bob Whiting
                      whiting@...

                      Starostin et al. Starostin, Sergei A., Anna V. Dybo, and Oleg A.
                      2003 Mudrak. Etymological Dictionary of the Altaic
                      Languages, 3 volumes. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.
                    • Brian Colless
                      Well, is Sumerian still to be regarded as an orphan, having lost all its relatives, and having died out with no distant family members to attend its funeral?
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jun 9, 2011
                        Well, is Sumerian still to be regarded as an orphan, having lost all
                        its relatives, and having died out with no distant family members to
                        attend its funeral? Parpola thinks it still had contact (trade) with
                        the ancestors in the homeland.

                        Or was it unique and autogenous, a product of autogenesis, the result
                        of a game (like Esperanto) of "let's invent a language", or two?

                        (Has that eme-sal language been sorted out yet? Was it a matter of
                        different vocabulary being used by men and women?)

                        Brian Colless
                        Massey University
                        Palmerston North
                        New Zealand

                        Begin forwarded message:

                        > From: Brian Colless <briancolless@...>
                        > Date: 6 June 2011 5:46:45 PM
                        > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic
                        > Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        >
                        > <http://www.s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/42TurkicAndSumer/SimoParpola_Altaic-UralicAndSumerEn.htm
                        > >
                        >
                        > Simo Parpola
                        > Sumerian: A Uralic Language
                        > (Helsinki, 2007)
                        > 53e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Moscow, July 23, 2007
                        >
                        > I have often heard that Sumerian is "an agglutinative language like
                        > Finnish".
                        >
                        > Now that my daughter Laurel Colless has given me two Finnish
                        > granddaughters, I ought to be interested in this question (she is the
                        > wife of Finland's ambassador in Washington, but soon to move to
                        > Athens).
                        >
                        > Simo Parpola has now argued that Sumerian is Ural-Altaic, bringing it
                        > in from the cold of isolation (or into the cold). He notes that this
                        > hypothesis has been tried before but has been rejected by Finno-
                        > Ugrists and Assyriologists.
                        >
                        > Another thing that is said about Finnish is that its nouns have
                        > umpteen cases (inflexions).
                        >
                        > From my observation, languages with cases lose them along the way
                        > (Latin into the Romance languages), though German has been very
                        > conservative in contrast to English.
                        >
                        > Did Sumerian have a paradigm of cases?
                        >
                        > Is there a connection? Parpola had found relevant 478 verbs and 589
                        > nouns in 2007, but I have seen, for example, a long list of words that
                        > shows Italian and Arabic are closely related, though I think Parpola's
                        > argument would be stronger.
                        >
                        > He has the Sumerians arriving in Mesopotamia (as invading immigrants,
                        > with wheeled vehicles) around 3300 BCE.
                        >
                        > Brian Colless
                        >
                        > School of History
                        > Massey University
                        > New Zealand
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Xianhua
                        I m not really specialized in emesal but somehow I have the impression that it, perhaps similar to the UD.GAL.NUN writing system, is not far from a
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 9, 2011
                          I'm not really specialized in emesal but somehow I have the impression that it, perhaps similar to the UD.GAL.NUN writing system, is not far from a cryptography derived from "standard" Sumerian (cf. Krebernik, OBO 160/1, p. 309).

                          Regarding Prof Parpola's article, I'm more interested in his suggestion:

                          "The non-Uralic features of Sumerian, such as the ergative construction and the prefix chains of the verb, can be explained as special developments of Sumerian in an entirely new linguistic environment after its separation from the other Uralic languages."

                          Any comments from the list? Many thanks.

                          Dr. Xianhua Wang
                          Department of History
                          Peking University
                          Beijing 100871, China




                          发件人: Brian Colless
                          发送时间: 2011-06-09 22:45:56
                          主题: [ANE-2] Sumerian as Uralic


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