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sumerianwotd

KA - mouth

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Jun. 29th, 2006 | 04:39 pm
posted by: shar_gaz in sumerianwotd

Today's Sumerian word of the day is the sign KA, which has a number of different readings. The sign looks like this:



You can see that this is the SAG ("head") sign, with a few extra strokes. These are called "gunu" marks, which highlight an area of the sign. Because the SAG sign was originally a drawing of a head (turn the sign 90 degrees clockwise and you can sort of see it), these gunu marks are over the region of the mouth - and that's the basic meaning of ka, "mouth".

By extension, this sign can also represent a number of other Sumerian words. It can be read "dug4", which means "to speak", and it makes sense that a picture of a mouth would be used to represent speaking. It can also be read "gu3", which means "a loud noise, voice, a cry", "inim", which means "word", or even "zu2", which means "tooth". As well, the gunu marks can be seen as over the nose, so the sign can mean "kiri3", "nose". And finally, the idiom for becoming angry in Sumerian and Akkadian was the nose getting hot (which is pretty awesome), so this sign can be read "sumur", "to become angry." Phew!

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Comments {13}

Hepcat

(no subject)

from: nwhepcat
date: Jun. 29th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
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That is an all-purpose word, all right.

I can't wait to go all, "damn, that makes my nose hot!"

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
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It's fun when one sign can mean 30 things!

Heeeee. Hot nosed is the best.

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Taro

(no subject)

from: mother2012
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
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I now know about 80% more Sumerian than I did. This is great. Thank you.

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
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My pleasure!

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(Deleted comment)

shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
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It's a pretty fun process, writing development!

Heh, I can see how they could look like teeth, but they used gunu marks on a lot of signs when they wanted to express a part of a whole (sole of the foot, etc), so it's just highlighting the mouth area.

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a fair and balanced birdthing

(no subject)

from: raaven
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
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This is utterly fascinating. Thank you for these posts.

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shar_gaz

(no subject)

from: shar_gaz
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
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You're very welcome!

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Respice finem

(no subject)

from: malsperanza
date: Jun. 30th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
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So the inim for ire is sumur? How cool is that. I tried turning the sag sign on its side and sort of saw a face, but the gunu marks seemed to be in the region of the forehead or hat. Oh well, I'll take your inim for it that that's where the mouth is.

The word cluster of
head-area --> mouth --> tooth
head-area --> mouth --> speak --> word
head-area --> mouth --> voice --> cry

all makes sense. I could even see "hotmouthed" as being an idiom for angry. But hot-nosed? I suppose not so different from our "nose out of joint" idiom, and god knows where that comes from--probably pugilism, like so many of our best idioms.

Thanks for posting new words! These are wonderful!

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remi_jakovlevic

(no subject)

from: remi_jakovlevic
date: Jan. 4th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
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It seems you've stopped posting those nice Sumerian things... But maybe you still get messages from here?
I've come across your post when looking for the non-cuneiform (should i say "proto-cuneiform"?) Sumerian sign for KA-DUG4-GU3 (or just for SAG, if it's easier!) The only ressource i found - http://cdli.ucla.edu/downloads.html - provides a file format i cannot use :/

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yuri_rudnitsky

(no subject)

from: yuri_rudnitsky
date: Nov. 30th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
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I just cannot think such a complicated system was developped to express words so simple, and stayed the same for millenia. There's something more into it I'm sure.

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yuri_rudnitsky

(no subject)

from: yuri_rudnitsky
date: Dec. 2nd, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
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Sag rather means "head" in terms of a slave head, and Ka means "mouth" in terms of "ninda eating mouth", and a mouth that can speak to defend own right to eat that ninda. LOL

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Omid S. Daoud

Justic

from: Omid S. Daoud
date: May. 22nd, 2016 08:53 am (UTC)
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Can you please give me the word "Justic" cuz i need it for school project

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