Orthography

This grammar will attempt to reflect Assyriological conventions as much as possible in its representations of cuneiform, but certain modifications will be adopted that make it easier to represent the writing system on the web. Where this grammar departs from Assyriological convention, it will generally adhere to the ASCII Text Format (ATF) conventions adopted by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary.

In dealing with Sumerian, Assyriologists use the word “sign” to refer to the cuneiform sign itself, whether on the original tablet or represented in a photograph or drawing. This usage corresponds to the term “character” in Sinological work and “glyph” in Mayanist practice. Assyriologists, however, also frequently represent cuneiform signs using a set of alphabetic codes known as “transliterations” such as the following:

[fig. 1: {PA} PA ZERO, pa "branch, leaf", ugula "boss" in table]

Each transliteration consists of one of more letters, all of which are in either upper or lower case. If the letters that make up the transliteration are written in upper case, e.g., “PA” in fig. 1, then the transliteration merely refers to or represents the cuneiform sign without making any claim about how the sign is pronounced. Letters in lower case, e.g., “pa” in fig. 1, presuppose a phonetic interpretation on the part of the modern text editor. “pa” is a close approximation of the pronunciation of the Sumerian word for “branch”.

Click here for a list of cuneiform sign-lists.

uploaded 20070405 johnson, j. cale revised 20100104 ong, matthew c.

sumerian/orthography.txt · Last modified: 2010/01/04 22:18 (external edit)
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