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Sumerian Grammar (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section One, the Near [And] Mi) Bilingual Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1589832527
ISBN-10: 1589832523
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  • Sumerian Grammar (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section One, the Near [And] Mi)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'"Edzard's long familiarity with Sumerian has produced an insightful volume. He is frank about the problems with the languages and sometimes the inherent ambiguity of the evidence for testing various solutions...the breadth of sources used (both primary and secondary) is impressive."' John Gee, "Review of Biblical Literature," 2005. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dietz Edzard is a professor for the Institut f?r Assyriologie und Hethitologie at the University of Munich. He has been active over the years at the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, and Italian excavations at Tell Marikh (Ebla), Northern Syria. He is a member of the International Committee for the Ebla texts, the Bavarian Academy, the Royal Netherlands Academy, the American Philosophical Society, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary), and the University Museum, Philadelphia. He has contributed work to the RIM Project since 1985, and currently Editor in charge of Early Periods.
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Product Details

  • Series: Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section One, the Near [And] Mi
  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature; Bilingual edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589832523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589832527
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John O. Freed on December 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dietz Edzard's Sumerian Grammar is not a book for an absolute beginner. You will not learn to translate a Sumerian text from this book. There are no vocabulary lists or exercises and there are only two cuneiform characters in the entire book. But that is fine since this book is not aimed at a begining student.

Instead, Dr. Edzard has written a book that is aimed at more advanced students and specialists in the field, and he has done a great job of it. The author discusses differences of opinion between scholars regarding the finer points of Sumerian grammar and does a good job of illustrating how our knowledge of Sumerian is tied to ancient Akkadian texts which translate Sumerian into Akkadian. The long chapter on the Sumerian verb is daunting, but that is strictly due to the complexity of the material.

This book is also wonderfully concise. The material is properly covered, yet the book is only 190 pages long.

A student wishing to learn Sumerian from scratch should probably start with "A Manual of Sumerian Grammar" by John Hayes. Once they have mastered the material in Hayes' excellent book, they should then turn to Dr. Edzard's book for further study.
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Format: Hardcover
Sumerian, the language and the culture of the 39 firsts, writing being one these, is a fascinating language, though most people who study it mix into their studies a good share of Akkadian which is very irritating. Akkadian is a Semitic language that has nothing to do, or so little (a few loan words) with Sumerian, except that they used the Sumerian invention of cuneiforms to write their own language, and apparently being a good share of the scribes at the time, they imposed some strange writing habits, such as writing the word "lugal" ("king") the wrong way, that is to say "gal+lu".

The second remark we have to do is that Sumerian is mostly agglutinative and this here grammar lists the agglutinative elements both on the side of the nouns and on the side of the verbs. Agglutinative it is and yet that is not enough to say so. Edzard has the tendency to freeze some presentations in traditional ways and thus to lists the marks that are not really present in the chain but are "mentally" present, that should be present. I mean Sumerian is in the process of restructuring its agglutinative marks in many ways: it discards the use of some when it is not necessary due to the redundant discursive context. For example a locative-terminative implying an ergative, the ergative may not be marked in the verb chain.

Then Sumerian is making its marks more and more abstract, which means they lose all semantic value to only keep their syntactic formal value. The various marks are restructured so that some cases use the same vocalic marks and others only use a particular consonant or vary the consonant on the basis of these vocalic marks. Sumerian is in the process, under our eyes, of reducing the number of marks and making them more and more abstract.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Grammars of ancient languages (and of modern ones, too) have a lamentable tendency to be a dry tunnel-vision presentation of paradigms, rules and exceptions, without any time to note the parallels to more familiar languages or to wonder at some of the oddities that make language learning interesting. Professor Edzard's book is both classroom tested, and very fluently written, especially for a non-native English speaking author. It has been said (on the basis of the inadequate evidence for it) that as many versions of the Sumerian language exist as grammars that have been produced for it. But of the several reference grammars I have skimmed, this is the most readable. (I would also recommend Hayes's lively Primer for a more gradual introduction.)
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Very well written and compreensive grammar. A good and very helpfull handbook if you are studying this language. Easy to understand, even if you are studying for yourself without guidance from a tutor. Highly recomend this book for introduction to Summerian language studies, a must have!
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