LINGUIST List 32.3331

Sat Oct 23 2021

Summer Schools: Sumerian Online Course / Online

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 22-Oct-2021
From: Khachik Gevorgyan <>
Subject: Sumerian Online Course / Online
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Host Institution:

Dates: 22-Nov-2021 - 10-Dec-2021
Location: ONLINE, ONLINE, Armenia

Focus: ASPIRANTUM's Sumerian language course is organized so that undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and professors, and anyone interested in learning Sumerian and becoming familiar with the corpus of Sumerian inscriptions will benefit from it.
Minimum Education Level: No Minimum

This course will be organized on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays each week (4 days each week, 12 days over three weeks) and will include 42 hours of intensive Sumerian teaching (3.5 hours during each day).

The students will receive a detailed syllabus of each day's class. Currently, only the 1st week of the syllabus is available online on our website

We are planning to start the online classes at 9 PM Yerevan time. This time is mainly comfortable for the students from European and American countries. Depending on applicants' geography, the time may be changed, and all applicants will be informed about the time changes before the course.

Classes each day will be divided into the following sections:
First class - Homework and discussion
Second class - Sumerian Grammar and Readings
Third class - Sumerian Readings

During the Sumerian classes, the following components will be covered every day:

Grammar: Everyday class will cover the main grammatical concepts of the Sumerian language.
Vocabulary: During the 3 weeks (42 hours total) course, the participants will learn more than 500 Sumerian words.
Speaking: Participants will be forced to speak Sumerian and tortured if not, just like in ancient Babylonian schools. This language teaching methodology has been productive at all times :) (this is a joke, no one will be tortured, and it is impossible because the class is online).
Translation: Each day, the participants will have translation assignments and other homework to complete for the next day.
Readings: During the course, students will read several Sumerian texts, including Old Sumerian texts from kings like Ur-Nanshe, Eannatum, and Lugalzagesi, Sargonic and Gutian period texts from kings like Gudea of Lagash, and Neo-Sumerian (Ur III) royal inscriptions.

Since this course aims to be as comprehensive as possible given the time constraints, the Sumerian texts will come from as many of the eras of the language as possible. The Old Sumerian texts, which come from approximately 2700-2350BC, are the earliest royal inscriptions we have that contain important historical information. The texts from the Ur-Nanshe dynasty of Lagash are especially important, which is why they will be the focus of the first week of the course. In this period, the writing system and system of determinatives were in an early stage of development, but regardless, the Old Sumerian period was when the writing system of Sumerian became solidified and really cemented cuneiform’s place in history. During the last few weeks of the course, we will be taking a look at how Sumerian developed during the incredibly important reigns of Gudea of Lagash in the 22nd century BC and the Ur III dynasty.

The benefits of the course: Familiarity with Sumerian benefits not only for those interested in Sumerian linguistics, history, and religion but also for students and researchers interested in a more in-depth understanding of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East as a whole. While most are aware of some aspects of Ancient Near Eastern history through the lens of Greek historians, the Bible, and even post-Sumerian era texts like the Code of Hammurabi, reading foundational Sumerian texts gives one a more thorough perspective to better understand Ancient Near Eastern civilization and royal ideology as a whole.

Truly understanding the history of even the later Mesopotamian empires of Hammurabi, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar is impossible without a thorough knowledge of the Sumerian text corpus of the third millennium BC.

Knowledge of Sumerian will also provide the student with the necessary tools for a better understanding of other ancient cuneiform languages, including Akkadian and Hittite. The cuneiform writing system was invented especially to write Sumerian, and this is also reflected even in non-Sumerian languages like utilized cuneiform.

Linguistic Field(s): Writing Systems

Subject Languages: Sumerian

Tuition: 900 USD
Tuition Explanation: The participation fee for the 3 weeks Sumerian online course is $900.

Registration: 10-Nov-2021 to 10-Nov-2021
Contact Person: Khachik Gevorgyan

Registration Instructions:
To apply, please fill in the application form.

Page Updated: 23-Oct-2021