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KI-AG2 - to love

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Apr. 26th, 2004 | 08:45 pm
posted by: shar_gaz in sumerianwotd

This week's Sumerian word is made of two cuneiform signs, "ki" and "ag2". "ki-ag2" means "to love", and looks like this:



As you can see, we've had the sign "ki" as a previous word. "ag2" is a new sign. The phoneme at the end of the sign, which in the past was written "g", is actually an "ng" sound - this phoneme is a recent discovery. (All 'g's are not 'ng's in Sumerian, though - only some of them. In older literature they're not differentiated, but they are in newer literature.) The compound as a whole would be pronounced "key ong" ('a's are always pronounced long, so the second word would rhyme with "song" rather than with "sang".)

In Sumerian (according to P. Steinkeller), love has a very specific social context. A superior loves an inferior, but inferiors cannot love their superiors. A god can love a human, but a human cannot love a god - humans fear or respect gods. Rather than exactly indicating warm, fuzzy feelings, "love" indicates something like preferment or benevolence.

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Comments {23}

A carbonated fusion beverage!

(no subject)

from: swmbo
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 05:54 pm (UTC)
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Ohh! *loves you*

NOT, you will notice, ki-ag2s you because that would imply a relationship between us that is not true!

*loves you more and more* I still get warm and fuzzy feelings for you, though *snuggles up to you*

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Not as warm and fuzzy as my feelings for you!

And sometimes we have a hierarchical relationship. Like when you make me get donuts for you.

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A carbonated fusion beverage!

(no subject)

from: swmbo
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 06:08 pm (UTC)
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Awwww!

*snuggles you* That's so true!

Speaking of which, I'll have one plain glazed and one chocolate long john, thanks!

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Dwivian

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from: dwivian
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 06:07 pm (UTC)
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My love for you knows no bounds, except that vein that made my top line curve a little.

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Hee! Thanks!

This one is a little on the complicated side, drawing-wise.

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Unrepentant Artfag

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from: 00goddess
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 10:07 pm (UTC)
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In Sumerian (according to P. Steinkeller), love has a very specific social context. A superior loves an inferior, but inferiors cannot love their superiors. A god can love a human, but a human cannot love a god - humans fear or respect gods. Rather than exactly indicating warm, fuzzy feelings, "love" indicates something like preferment or benevolence.

I think Steinkeller is probably incorrect, because we see "love" used in Sumerian writings in various ways, including gods loving one another, people of the same "social stature" loving one another, and people professing love for their gods.

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC)
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His argument is, of course, debatable. But if you're working from translations, you don't see all the options, and as Sumerian grammar isn't completely understood, often things could go multiple ways. Some translators may treat participles as active (a person loving their god) when they would be better translated passively (that the person is the beloved of their god).

Are you a Sumerologist?

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Unrepentant Artfag

(no subject)

from: 00goddess
date: Apr. 26th, 2004 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Are you a Sumerologist?

In training :) I've long studied Sumerian culture and religion on my own, and I'm now pursuing my degeee in anthropology. I may eventually narrow my focus to Sumerology, unless something else explosively interesting comes up. Sumer is my love, but it's a field that has been greatly explored already, so I might end up pursuing something else in the interest of making new discoveries.

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Badgirl

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from: autobadgirl
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 07:54 am (UTC)
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A student in my class would like to know the significance of the cuniform "Ki" in this sign. She asked what place had to do with love, I'm not sure it has anything to do with the word but she has noticed that certain Sumerian compound words do relate to the symbols that compose it.

Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 09:58 pm (UTC)
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She's right that a lot of the time, the compound words are related to their components. In this case, though, they seem to be unrelated.

I haven't done a study of this word or anything, though - it's possible that there is some connected etymology. But I'm pretty sure there's not. Good for her for picking up on this stuff, though!

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Kate Orman

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from: kateorman
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 07:03 pm (UTC)
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V. V. interesting! Do you have a cite handy for Steinkeller's observation? I'd ki-ag2 to look it up. :-)

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC)
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You know, I don't have the reference handy. That's actually from conversation with him rather than from reading an article - I'm not even sure if he's written it up, though he probably has. If I come across the reference I'll get back to you, though, for sure.

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Kate Orman

(no subject)

from: kateorman
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
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Thanks (in Sumerian) :-)

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Jimi

(no subject)

from: jungliemonkey
date: Apr. 30th, 2004 05:57 am (UTC)
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This is off-topic and I don't know how academically involved many of you are with Sumerology, but I just thought I ought to post that Dr Black, the respected Sumerologist from the University of Oxford, was found dead on Wednesday morning. He was an important contributor to the study of Sumerian (some of you might know of the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature amongst other projects) a great man and a wonderful tutor. He will be missed.

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S

(no subject)

from: greensword
date: May. 2nd, 2004 11:51 am (UTC)
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Hi - I was wondering what you thought a good resource would be to find the meanings of certain names.

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S

(no subject)

from: greensword
date: May. 2nd, 2004 11:55 am (UTC)
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Gah. Sumerian names, I mean, of course.

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Poshykitty

(no subject)

from: poshcat
date: Jul. 6th, 2004 04:23 pm (UTC)
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April 26th! That's just sad, my dude. 450 people watching, and nothing to see.

Yes, I'm taking time out of my busy schedule once again to bug the hell out you. ::spanks you with that ki-ag2 on the right there::

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Shar-gaz

from: amalasingh
date: Oct. 17th, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)
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Hello Shar_gaz,

I need your friendship to study the relationship btw Tamil and
Sumeru.

My email id is: amala2singh@yahoo.com

Tnx in advance.
Amala Singh

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Dwivian

(no subject)

from: dwivian
date: Mar. 16th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
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So..... anything new coming along?

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loudthoughts

Help?

from: eirremii
date: Sep. 19th, 2005 04:01 pm (UTC)
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Hello, I'm new here. Very intriguing, this SWOTD....though sad that it seems to have lapsed. I only hope you are still getting the comments...

Anyway I'd like to contact you directly, if I could [via e-mail].

You see, I'm writing a novel...well, I'm in the early stages of preparation...And I am strongly leaning toward using ancient Sumer as the historical starting point of this particular culture I'm creating. This culture holds on to tradition and I wanted their traditions, and language, to be rooted in an ancient civilization [can’t really get more ancient civilizationy than Mesopotamia ...*snicker*]. Though they will speak contemporary languages, I’d like to make the language, of their historical origin, a strong presence in their day to day life. [e.g. item names, and proverbs, and such things will be either influenced by or in the old language.]

So, I’d like to request some help from you. Shouldn’t need to be too in depth. If you are interested please contact me at loudthoughts@gmail.com.

Thanks!

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willis

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from: sonictooth
date: Nov. 9th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
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ki-ag literally means to measure a place. where the sumerians got love from that no one knows. ki being as you said the determanative for place, and ag(2) meaning to measure.

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inangkor

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from: inangkor
date: Dec. 30th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
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i miss the word of the day! please come back! have you finished your doctorate yet?

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(no subject)

from: ningirsu
date: Mar. 6th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
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Well, I think we can stick a fork in the site, and the word-of-the-day. I'd do some, but have no access to the forum except in these comments. Alas.

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