Sumerian/Grammar/Lesson Three - The Absolutive Case

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The Absolutive Case[edit | edit source]

In light of the discussion above about ergativity, we just need to note that the Patient and Subject of ergative constructions are marked by a suffixed . This is the "null" suffix. It means that there is no vocalized marker of the absolutive case. While it might seem silly to attach a "nothing" to words, it is really just an analytical tool so we can clearly delineate which participants in a sentence are performing which tasks.

In (1) above, note that the temple (e) is the thing being built. Hence, it is the Patient of the ergative sentence. So we mark it with the null prefix, and we have e.Ø, signifying that e is in the absolutive case.

[Thomsen §169, Edzard §]