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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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Jimi

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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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