>>601321 Ask me about the Sumerian language, Third Dynasty of Ur period preferably.
Some quick FAQs: >Should I learn Sumerian? Only if you love memorizing patterns and technicalities and incredibly long lists of exceptions to all the rules you thought you were comfortable with >What can I read in Sumerian? Here's just about everything: http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/etcslbycat.php >Is it worth it? No. Learn Babylonian or Akkadian or Aramaic instead. >Why did you learn it then? I have a history boner for Sumer, and learning the language gives one some really interesting insights into the character of the people.
So, from my cursory understanding, general academic consensus is that the Sumerians were non-semetic because Sumerian as a language is non-Semetic.
Is there anything else to this? I mean, the now pretty much entirely debunked theories of the Khazars being the forerunners of European Jews had to do because of linguistic origins in Yiddish having certain Turkic bases. (Or so I understand, I'm hardly a linguist of any stripe and I only know a smattering of Yiddish).
Granted, it would take something funny to happen, but you can and in fact have historically observed separation between ethnicity and language, so I was wondering if there was anything other to the assertion than linguistics. (Which I don't mean to knock either, I mean, let's face it, trying to dig up information of a people at least 6,000 years old is tough)
That's not Biblical Aramaic script. That's the Syriac script, a relatively modern script which evolved around the same time as the Arabic script, if a little earlier. The Syriac script was used to write Aramaic and Arabic starting around 1st century AD.
The Aramaic script looked pretty much like Hebrew.
Not>>602633, but here's a random page of the Babylonian Talmud and commentary, the former being written predominantly in Aramaic and the latter being written predominantly in Hebrew. If you don't know the layout of such, you'd probably have trouble telling which is which.
>>602437 >Why are all of the symbols so goddamn complicated? The script developed from pictographic/ideographic origins, similar to ancient Chinese. However, eventually certain symbols began to be used as syllabograms in addition to their other types, leading to a shitload of homonymic fuckery.
For example, a sign like "sag" (head) started as an actual picture of a dude's head. Eventually, it began to represent things other than "head" in addition, such as the concept of "beginning" or "upper portion". To make things even worse, sometimes a sign like "sag" (well, not specifically) might be used in a construction of a loanword from some other language (like Akkadian or whatever) just due to it's phonetic value. At the end of the day, you might find yourself drawing the equivalent of a detailed image of a human head just to represent a sound which could be compared to a modern letter "E", devoid of any pictographic/ideographic/logographic meaning.
When you look at that table of syllabic signs I posted, you're really looking at a collection of pictograms which have evolved over time into symbols which can represent either sounds, concepts, grammatical modifiers, or physical things, and which oftentimes represent all of the above.
The closest comparison I could give to someone not experienced in the language is this: imagine writing in Japanese, except all the kanji could also be used as normal syllabic values in addition to their other meanings. That's why shit's so hard to learn.
It's no surprise to me at all that people eventually began to favor alphabetic or purely syllabic scripts instead. It ain't easy being humanity's first real test run in written language.
>>602505 >So, from my cursory understanding, general academic consensus is that the Sumerians were non-semetic because Sumerian as a language is non-Semetic. This is correct. >Is there anything else to this? Tragically, precious little headway has been made in decoding the "Sumerian Problem," as it is called. The best we've come up with (that is, that can be traced using the archaeological record) is that the Sumerians are descended from an earlier "Ubaid" people of unknown origin, who entered the region around 5000 BCE.
What is evident, however, is that the Mesopotamian region itself was fairly racially diverse, and there existed a sizeable Semitic element within Sumerian society which was largely excluded from the scribal tradition. It is certainly possible that the language that the Sumerians wrote in was distinct from that which was spoken. For example, many Sumerian kings/aristocrats actually had Semitic names and titles. To make things even more ambiguous, some skulls found at burial sites seem to be of a Mediterranean racial origin, fuck if I know what's up with that.
In all honesty, I don't think that we'll ever have a clear answer as to who the Sumerians actually were. We know them to be racially distinct from very early archaeological evidence, but due to the degree of race-mixing in the region it's hard to keep track of. The fact that they also seem to be a linguistic ground-zero doesn't help at all. If you want a really dense read on the topic, try >http://www.dli.gov.in/data15/Kerala_Sahitya_Academi/English/1822/826_W_O.pdf maybe.
That said, I'm not an archaeologist, so maybe some other anon would know better.
>>602912 If you're interested, you should definitely check out "Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization" by Leo Oppenheim. It's a little dated, but it is still by far the most comprehensive and ambitious survey of the region ever written. You can really tell the author is passionate about his work, which makes the reading much more enjoyable.
It's available free here: https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/ancient_mesopotamia.pdf but if you prefer physical books I got a hardcover ex-library edition off Amazon for like five bucks.
>>602961 It depends. From what I've heard, Homeric Greek might as well be a different language, but Attic/Koine Greek can transition into Modern fairly easily. I don't personally have any experience with the languages, but that's what my classics major buddy told me
>>601321 I studied Latin for about 3 years in HS. Never actually studied, basically didn't know shit but the teacher liked me and I always got through with an A or a B despite all my tests being in the E-F range.
It was a small class, we sat in 1 row around the teacher. Once I fell literally asleep in front of him, at which point he asked everyone to keep their voices down because I might be dreaming.
All you really need to know is that most of the speakers are dispersed and the language is dying because their is no reason for Christians to remain together in Iraq/Syria where the language could thrive.
>>603055 It reveals how they thought about certain things and concepts. Due to the very limited vocabulary stock of the language, representing more abstract or complex things would be done by combining various elements, Kirby 64 style.
For example, the word for "spouse" is a compound form of "to give birth" and "human", roughly meaning "other person who assists in the creation of more people". Another fun one is that the word for "exorcist" is just the sign for "profit" repeated twice. I could go on: >Nomad: "born from/in a wagon" >Unreliable person: "wind-man" >To pay respects: "to fasten the hand to the nose" >Sacred place: "hiding spot"
>>601321 ancient greek and latin . Wasnt too hard since I greek is my native language . But fuck you have to really get into it in order to reach a decent level. I remember i felt I was high after 4-5 hours of studying.
>>606313 I guess that's just how shit goes, the supposed ancestors of Syriac speakers are the Assyrians and if that's true then it is quite a contrast from the peaceful and victimised are today. We have some of the cleanest DNA in the Middle East, not weird admixture from Africa, Europe or East Asia, which of anything, proves how still and non-invasive we were. Now none of that matters and I'm thinking that my future kids will probably be half Euro similar to how Sephardic Jews are.
>>601460 It's only hard when you keep comparing it. Try to look at it from Inside the language and it'll suddenly make sense and reveal a beautiful, liquid language. The signs are also something that can be mastered. They are sorted by Relation. One sign can mean mouth, but it also means tooth, tongue, language and word. Another is thing but also food. Combine the signs for food and mouth and you have "to eat". Of course, the language is different, but not every language works according to indo European rules, and that's why I study Sumerian. Not an Assyriologist though
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