By Journalist Christopher Woods

The so-called Sumerian conjugation prefixes are the main poorly understood and puzzling components of Sumerian verbal morphology. coming near near the matter from a functional-typological viewpoint and basing the research upon semantics, Professor Woods argues that those parts, of their basic functionality, represent a method of grammatical voice, during which the energetic voice is decided opposed to the center voice. those prefixes are, in flip, represented by way of heavy and light-weight markers that range with admire to concentration and emphasis. As a method of grammatical voice, the conjugation prefixes supplied Sumerian audio system with a linguistic technique of changing the viewpoint from which occasions might be considered, giving audio system a chain of ideas for greater approximating in language the infinitely graded spectrum of human conceptualization and event.

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Extra resources for The Grammar of Perspective: The Sumerian Conjugation Prefixes As a System of Voice (Cuneiform Monographs)

Example text

And although he did not describe mu- specifically in terms of the active voice, this function is implicit in his meaning: “mutúm signifie ‘celui-là apporta ici (telle chose)’, ba-túm signifie ‘celui-là (vint ici prendre telle chose et l’)emporta (pour lui, avec lui)’. 6 A year had not yet passed when in early 1908 Poebel broke ranks with Thureau-Dangin and his directional theory. Making a proposal that he would develop more fully in Grundzüge der sumerischen Grammatik (1923), Poebel saw the prefix i- to be in opposition to mu- and the basis of this opposition to be one of time: with i- the verbal event is temporally anchored to the present.

1). Finally, the prefixes amma- and ammi- are treated—with respect to voice phenomena—as functionally equivalent to imma- and immi- respectively. , see [493]–[494]). However, in terms of voice, there is no perceptible difference in function or meaning between the two sets of prefixes in earlier or later connected texts. Similarly, the prefixes ammuand immu-, which are primarily late and have, perhaps, a reality only on the graphic level, are considered to be variants of imma-. The evidence upon which the theory of voice in Sumerian rests draws upon textual evidence from the third millennium through the Old Babylonian period.

This approach is not undertaken with the goal of contradicting or refuting the more formal morphosyntactic analyses that have traditionally dominated the study of Sumerian grammar. Indeed, as is true of any semantically oriented investigation of language, this study is based on certain morphological assumptions, morphology itself, of course, being the union of both form and meaning. Rather than being at odds with the traditional approach, this study should be seen as complementing, and on certain points corroborating, those more formal analyses.

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