Paratactic relative clauses in Sumerian

G. Zólyomi(1)

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Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
Department of Assyriology and Hebrew Studies

Cite as: Zólyomi, G. 2020: Paratactic relative clauses in Sumerian. Hungarian Assyriological Review 1: 9–19.


Open Access


Using the interpretation and analysis of the passage Ur-Namma 28 1:10-13 as starting point, this paper argues that copular clauses in Sumerian may function as paratactic relative clauses in biclausal constructions. It also demonstrates that the choice that which participant of the copular clause will function as head is determined not by the syntactic but by the pragmatic function of the participants. In the concluding part, the paper contends that the grammatical construction used in the frequently discussed passage E-ana-tum 5 5:10–17 is the same as that of Ur-Namma 28 1:10-13. It shows that the oddity of the E-ana-tum passage is due to the phenomenon that the name E-ana-tum is used once as an expression referring to a person, the ruler of Lagaš, and once as an expression referring to his name.

Keywords: Sumerian grammar, copular clauses, left-dislocation, paratactic relative clauses, royal inscriptions

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