?

Log in

No account? Create an account

sumerianwotd

KI-AG2 - to love

« previous entry | next entry »
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.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {23}

Badgirl

(no subject)

from: autobadgirl
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 07:54 am (UTC)
Link

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

Reply | Thread

shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Apr. 27th, 2004 09:58 pm (UTC)
Link

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!

Reply | Parent | Thread