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Indo-European languages outside of Europe: Euphratic 28 Oct. 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Indo-European languages outside of Europe: Euphratic 28 Oct. 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indo-European languages outside of Europe: Euphratic 28 Oct. 2014


3 The Issues When did the Indo-European (i.e. Indo-Anatolian) continuum end? Alternatively, when did Indo-European migrations begin? Where was the (final) Indo-European homeland? How early are Indo-European languages attested? How likely is it that some migrations have gone undetected? Can loanwords be used as evidence? Does Mesopotamia offer a pertinent case study?

4 The Sumerian Question What do we know, or can surmise, about the early linguistic landscape of Mesopotamia? From what period on are Sumerians present in Mesopotamia? Are they the original inhabitants of Southern Mesopotamia? Was the linguistic landscape of Mesopotamia in the 4 th millennium B.C. less complex than in later periods? If the Sumerians were not the only or earliest population, what other speech communities may have been present or have preceded them?

5 Relevant Evidence Names, especially place names Lexical data Elements in the writing system References in written documents The language of written documents

6 Place Names Landsberger (1974 [1944]): “None of the ancient cities had a Sumerian name” Edzard (2003): “It cannot be excluded that, within Mesopotamia proper, Sumerian had neighbours who spoke a language – or languages – […] which left their traces in Sumerian proper names (gods, places) and vocabulary” Michalowski (2005): “One must admit, however, that most of the toponyms in Southern Mesopotamia are neither Sumerian nor Semitic”

7 Lexical Data Landsberger (1974 [1944]): lists 30 alleged polysyllabic technical loans, including one brewing term, from a suspected substrate Salonen (1968): assigns polysyllabic terms to loanword strata on basis of meaning and ending Civil (1996): “practically all” brewing terms are “foreign” Rubio (1999): “all” brewing terms are “foreign”

8 Syllable Structure in Sumerian Monosyllabic or polysyllabic? Edzard (2003) and others have sharply criticized what he calls the “monosyllabic myth” Phonotactic structure of Sumerian (Whittaker 2005): Category A: mono- and sesquisyllabic terms Category B: polysyllabic In the Ninmešara of Enheduanak (ca. 2285-2250 B.C.): Category A: 810 words Category B: 54 words (incl. names, loans)

9 Phonotactic Circularity Rubio (1999): claims Landsberger’s šidim ‘mason’ has a “well-attested Sumerian pattern” but fails to note that silim ‘peace’ (from Akkadian) does, too Edzard (2003) dismisses the “monosyllabic myth” but states: “divine names such as Nanše or Ĝ atumdu … may belong to a substratum … because these names defy all efforts to explain them by way of Sumerian etymology”, failing to notice that it is their polysyllabic shape that disturbs him

10 Potential Loanwords in Sumerian Polysyllabic, yet morphologically unsegmentable: hanzalub ‘reed pulp’ Medial cluster: uktin ‘appearance; facial features’ Disharmonic vowels (subject to vowel harmony): tabira ‘joiner; artisan’ > tibira Multiple variants: lu-um-gi ~ lu-un-ga ~ ni-in-gi-in ‘brewer’ uk-ra ~ u 2 -še-ra ‘reed bundle’

11 Elements in the Writing System Early signs with phonetic values lacking motivation in Sumerian Sign order not consistent with Sumerian word order Early sign compounds or groups unexplainable within Sumerian Lack of correspondence between sign usage in proto-cuneiform and historical Sumerian documents

12 Where the Debate Stands Englund (2007: 5-6): “The discussion about the ‘Sumerian Question’ continues, at least in my mind, and has taken a rough edge of late, the more so with publication of contributions to a Leiden Rencontre that, particularly with contributions by Rubio and Wilcke, added wild speculation to the fairly stale list of ‘proofs’ that Sumerian phoneticisms were a clear element in Late Uruk documents.”

13 Dass nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf Dass nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf Rubio (1999) mocked: “Indo-European before the Indo-Europeans” Melchert (n.d., “The Position of Anatolian,” 1 st draft): “Suffice it to say that I find most of the claimed instances of lexical borrowing [in Gamkrelidze and Ivanov 1995] wholly unconvincing, […]. There is even less merit to the claims of Whittaker (1998 and elsewhere) of an Indo- European “substrate” [sic] in Sumerian. For a detailed refutation of his proposal see Rubio 2005.” Cf. Melchert (1998) on an unrelated matter: “I would like to see a genuine debate on this issue, not a summary dismissal based on … prejudice”

14 Euphratic and the Euphrateans Scenario 1a: A pre-Sumerian language and population (present by the mid-4 th millennium B.C. at the latest, and a Sumerian-period substrate or superstrate) Scenario 1b: Or a Sumerian-period superstrate from the beginning of Uruk IV (ca. 3400-3100 B.C.) onwards Scenario 2: Involved in the so-called Uruk expansion (ca. 3700-3200 B.C.) and thus responsible for early Indo-European loanwords in Egyptian and Semitic Scenario 3: Influenced or initiated the development of proto-cuneiform (ca. 3400-2900 B.C.)


16 Gender Is there any evidence for gender in Euphratic? If so, was it an animate-inanimate opposition, as in Anatolian? Or was there a further differentiation of animate into masculine and feminine? Sumerian preserves a series of polysyllabic (mostly disyllabic) terms ending in –ah

17 Terms in -ah Almost all of these are nouns: nerah ‘snake; Nerah (god); Nerah (city)’ But there is also an adjective: dara 4 (h) ‘dark-coloured, dark red’ (cf. Old Sumerian derih in sign name derihum at Ebla) Thus, concord indicating the presence of (feminine) gender

18 Case Marking Singular Nominative ( -s, -os ): semed ‘(value of sign ONE)’ < *sem-s ‘one’ lugud ‘pus (written BLOOD+WHITE)’ < *louk-ó-s ‘bright’ lugud 2 ‘miscarriage’ < *lóg h -o-s ‘childbirth’ lugud 4 ‘place to put things’ < *lóg h -o-s ‘storage place’ Accusative (- i-m, - o-m, - eh 2 -m ): gilim 2 ‘rat (Old Sum., Ebla); mongoose’ < *glh 1 -i-m ‘rodent’ aktum ‘garment’ < *h 2 nt-ko-m ‘garment, cloak’ anzam ‘large drinking vessel’ < *h 2 ens-eh 2 -m ‘strap handle’ Vocative (- e ): lu-bi/be 2 ‘o dear, o darling’ < *léub h -e ‘o dear, o darling’

19 Case Marking Plural Locative ( -su ): apsu ‘subterranean waters (used in divine epithets such as ‘child of the waters’; ‘king of the waters’)’ < *h 2 ep-su ‘in the waters’ (cf. Vedic divine epithets ‘child in the waters’; ‘king in the waters’) Instrumental (- b h i ): -BI ‘(Old Sum. scribal convention for -da with instrumental/ comitative plural)’ < *-b h i ‘(instr. pl.)’

20 EYE (der.) (IGIgunû) sig 7 ‘(phonetic value)’ < *sek w - ‘follow’ (cf. Germ. see ) agar 4 / ugur 2 / ukur 5 ‘(phonetic values)’ < *h 3 ok w - ‘eye’ imma 3 ‘physiognomy, (facial) features’ < *h 2 im - ‘copy’ (cf. Hittite himma - ‘imitation, substitute, replica’ < *h 2 im - no -?; Lat. im ā g ō ‘image’)

21 EYE (der.) +FORM (IGIgunû.ALAN) uktin ‘appearance, facial features’ < *h 3 k w - ti - m (acc.) ‘appearance; expression; sight’ ulutim 2 / ulutin 2 ‘appearance, form, facial features’ < *wl-ti-m (acc.) ‘appearance, facial features’ (cf. ulutim / ulutin ‘written notice, notice of intentions’ < *wlh 1 -ti - m (acc.) ‘wishes’)

22 NAIL/CLAW umbin ‘nail, claw’ < *h 3 ng wh - ‘nail, claw’ umbin ‘(container for animal fat)’ < *h 3 ng w -en- ‘fat, salve’ umbin ‘wheel’ < *h 3 nb h - en- ‘navel’

23 DUNG šed 6 ‘shit’ < *skeid - ‘shit (vb.)’ šurum ‘dung, droppings’ < *skor-(o-m) ‘shit, dung’

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