Term Paper: Sumerian Origins

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This term paper is on sumerian origins. Sumerian was not the language of some overland or maritime marauders who had established in Mesopotamia sometime in the fifth or fourth millennia.

Sumerian was not the language of some overland or maritime marauders who had established in Mesopotamia sometime in the fifth or fourth millennia. The history of archaeology is filled with speculation on cultural rifts that may signal the arrival of some new population group that may possibly be identified as “Sumerian”. The evidence is tenuous no matter how one looks on the matter, several distinct sets of data support the view that Sumerian was one, if not the major spoken language in Mesopotamia from very early on. The relatively late human occupation of the southern Mesopotamian alluvium does not leave much room for too much linguistic history. There is at present no evidence at all for any other early language in the area, now that Gonzalo Rubio (1999) has persuasively rejected the Proto-Tigrido-Euphratean idea. The Sumerian language is definitely present in some form or another in the Uruk III tablets.

The facts are limited and will perhaps stay that way for a long time to come. There is no way of avoiding the obvious: one cannot recover information on languages before the invention of writing, and all the languages from premature Mesopotamia have been dead for a very long time. This The existence of these languages has been contingent from the analysis of certain “non-Sumerian” elements in the Sumerian lexicon, but the arguments do not hold up very well, as it turns out that most of these words are either native Sumerian, Semitic loans, or Kulturw` rter (Rubio 2). One must admit, however, that most of the geographic names in Southern Mesopotamia are neither Sumerian nor Semitic.

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