By John L. Hayes
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Extra info for A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts
Since most of these sounds do not exist in Akkadian, the evidence for their existence is very indirect, and individual'scholars have their own preferences. Standard transliterations of Sumerian do not try to reproduce these disputed phonemes. There is no clear evidence that consonantal length was a phonemic feature in Sumerian. There are no obvious minimal pairs, although long consonants can arise from suffixation or occasionally from assimilation (*/barbar/ > /babbar/). -w- w5, Stress Very little is known about stress.
The cuneiform sign which represents this name, @ ,can also be read engur, which lexical texts equate with the Akkadian a ~ & the , "watery deep" beneath the surface of the earth (Lesson Thirteen). Perhaps the cuneiform sign is an abstract representation of this watery deep. In some older Sumerological works, the two readings of this sign (Nammu and engur) were not clearly differentiated, so the name of the founder of the Ur I11 Dynasty sometimes appears in English as Ur-Engur or Ur-Gur. Nanna He was the city-god of Ur.
It is probable that the Sumerian phonological system had phonemes which did not exist in Akkadian, but there is no unanimity about the inventory of these phonemes nor about their phonetic nature. Moreover, there has been little investigation of the Sumerian phonological system as a whole. Any resolution of such questions about Sumerian phonology can only take place after a thorough analysis of all the details of the Sumerian writing system, with all its intricacies and vagaries. This is a major desideratum in Sumerological studies.
A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts by John L. Hayes