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Was reden die da? Sumerisch und Emesal zwischen Alltag und Sakralität
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Was reden die da? Sumerisch und Emesal zwischen Alltag und Sakralität

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Discussions that seek to determine a distinction between “sacred language” and “secular language”... mehr
Was reden die da? Sumerisch und Emesal zwischen Alltag und Sakralität
Discussions that seek to determine a distinction between “sacred language” and “secular language” frequently make use of both verbal and non-verbal evidence. But what seems obvious for present-day observations is not necessarily applicable to languages that have survived in a purely written form.While the Sumerian language variety Emesal can be characterized assacred language with no difficulty, “normal” Sumerian, which was used to write literary and everyday-life texts in Southern Mesopotamia until the 20th cent. BCE needs more detailedconsideration. Though it appears simple to distinguish texts of everyday-life from literary texts, it is less simple to track down the “sacred nature” in these literary texts. Since archaeologicaland speech contexts are oftenwanting, the non-verbal evidence will be left aside in the course of this paper, while strictly linguistic parameters will be followed instead. The paper starts with a general discussion of “sacred language”. It then focuses on two text examples for which the parameters “participants”, “content and register” and “setting” are tested for their validity to extract the “sacred nature” in the use of the Sumerian language. The paper ends with a brief discussion of the language variety Emesal.