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sumerianwotd

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}

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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