East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Learning Sumerian?


There’s a sort of silly rule of thumb, that goes more or less like this

no matter what stupid search string you type in Google, you’ll find something you will feel the need to bookmark and check later

For instance: a friend of mine over at his blog, suggests that when we get asked

and what do you do?

we should reply

I study Sumerian magic

instead of “I write”, because we’d get more respect and consideration.

300px-Sumerian_MS2272_2400BCSo I go and do a quick search, to find the link to Teach Yourself Babylonian, that I am convinced my friend might be interested in1, and Google hands me the link for AN INTRODUCTION TO SUMERIAN LANGUAGE, that happens to be a free course on Wikibooks.
That, compared to the thirty or forty quids the Teach Yourself book would set me off, looks quite interesting.

And so here is the link.
Mind you, I am not saying I will learn Sumerian anytime soon.
But this free resource will certainly help with my forthcoming Aculeo & Amunet stories.

  1. yes, I know – we that write for a living do some pretty stupid stuff in our downtime. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

6 thoughts on “Learning Sumerian?

  1. Hi David, Thanks for the marvelous link to an amazingly approachable text. As a friend of languages all and each, this well written and well organized wiki is a great find indeed. A pox on the charlatans who rip off the wiki and then offer it at a high price. The same kind of thing takes place with my old-radio classics. Grr and Argh! My current efforts to learn Arabic dovetail with Sumerian in ways unexpected and intriguing — the stuff that leads to much page flipping.
    And, indeed, it offers much for serious fantasy aficionados!


    • Ah, I’d love to learn Arabic, but the writing system scares me a bit.
      And this connection with Sumerian does sound like something out of an adventure novel!

      Liked by 1 person

      • As a left-hander I can now read what I write in Arabic and don’t have to plow my way into the paper. Keyboard editors help a lot when you’re unsure and I use Arabic stickers on the keys; however, my greatest surprise was discovering how the diacritical marks (normally omitted) relay precise pronunciation — millimeter by millimeter. Arabic grammar is, not surprisingly, far more intuitive than, say, German. 🙂


  2. This reminds me about a conversation that I had with a nice lady friend of mine, where we basically ended in being passionate supporters of different “teams”, except that instead of sports we were talking of the pros and cons of ancient writing systems: I was advocating the beauty and complexity of (surprisingly enough) Egyptian hieroglyphics, where every symbol could have different levels of meaning, and she was instead supporting the practical aspects and user-friendliness of Mesopotamian cuneiform.


    • I had a similar conversation about the pros and cons of Japanese and Korean.
      As I get old, I find simpler languages to be more to my tastes – complexity is fascinating but time-consuming.


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