Sumerian/Grammar/Lesson Three - The Genitive Case

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The Genitive Case[edit]

There are a variety of uses for the genitive case. One frequent use is to indicate posession. The case marker for the genitive is .ak. As is typical in Sumerian, this particle is subject to the loss of the final -k unless succeeded by another particle. For instance, the Sumerian sentence lugal Unug.a(k) = the king of Uruk, will typically be written without the final -k, but when the phrase is followed by, say, the ergative case marker (which is .e), we get lugal Unug.ak.e.

This is very typical in Sumerian. Whenever a word ends in a consonant from a case marker (or other grammatical suffix), that consonant is often dropped. When we add another suffix, though, we restore that consonant before adding our new suffix.

The genitive marker may be repeated if the semantics require. The phrase the house of the king of Uruk will be written e lugal Unug.ak.a(k), where we interpret the logical chunking to be [e [lugal Unug].ak].a(k).

[Thomsen §161, Edzard §5.4.2.3]

Quick Quiz[edit]

Vocabulary[edit]

iri = eye
amar = calf
Urim = a city in ancient Sumer

Translate[edit]

iri.ene nin.ak
lugal Urim.ak
amar ses.zu.ak

Generate[edit]

the brother of the king
the sister of my mother

Answers