LANGUAGES
   Numerous languages were spoken in Mesopotamia throughout the ages, although not all of them are represented on written documents. It appears that the simultaneous presence of several linguistic groups contributed significantly to the success of urbanization and the richness of the intellectual culture.
• Nonclassifiable languages are Sumerian, which has an agglutinative structure and was spoken in southern Mesopotamia throughout the third millennium B.C.; Elamite, current in southwest Iran from the Early Dynastic until the Persian period; Hurrian, spoken in Upper Mesopotamia and southern Anatolia; and Kassite, the language of the political elite in the second millennium B.C., which was not rendered in cuneiform except for some technical terms and personal names.
• Semitic languages form another important group. Known as Akkadian in cuneiform sources, the language refers to the different historical stages of old Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian. Akkadian contains numerous loan words from Sumerian. Immigration from the west brought in people speaking West Semitic languages, such as the Amorites and Arameans. Semitic languages were widely spoken in the ancient Near East; they also include Hebrew and Ugaritic. The written form of Aramaic, using an alphabetic system, became current side by side with Babylonian and Assyrian in the first millennium B.C.
• Indo-European languages had comparatively less currency in Mesopotamia. They were spoken by foreign elites, such as the Mitanni or the Persians. Hittites, Medes, and Parthians also spoke such Indo-European languages.
   There has been some speculation about the pre-Sumerian and preAkkadian language substratum in southern Mesopotamia, which seems to have left traces in place names, but the evidence is too scant and vague to allow any conclusions as to what type of language it may have been.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Languages —    The term for the Berber language today is Tamazight, and the name of Berber speakers is Imazighen. The term Imazighen refers to the free, noble, and indigenous inhabitants of the historic Tamazgha, or Berber homeland, stretching east to west… …   Historical dictionary of the berbers (Imazighen)

  • Languages — (Kurdish)    The Kurdish languages belong to the Indo European language family and are thus distantly related to English and most other European languages. Persian (Farsi), however, is the major language most closely related to Kurdish. On the… …   Historical Dictionary of the Kurds

  • languages —    Many languages were spoken over the course of the millennia in ancient Mesopotamia. The first widespread and important one was sumerian, which modern experts have noted was unlike any other known tongue. its original source remains uncertain,… …   Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary

  • Languages —    The status of Brussels as capital and its location close to the country s linguistic divide has made the city both the focal point and the flash point of issues raised by language that have riven modern Belgium.    A Dutch dialect was the… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • languages — The OT was written in Hebrew, apart from a few passages in the books of Ezra and Daniel which are in Aramaic, the language which predominated in Palestine from the 4th cent. BCE. (Aramaic is another Semitic language closely akin to Hebrew.) With… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • languages — lan·guage || læŋgwɪdÊ’ n. body of spoken or written words with which people communicate thoughts and feelings; specialized vocabulary; nonverbal means of communication (system of symbols, etc.); manner in which a person writes or speaks;… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • LANGUAGES — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Languages of the European Union — Official language(s) Bulgarian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of the United States — Official language(s) none Main language(s) English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo European 3.8%, Asian …   Wikipedia

  • Languages of Canada — Languages of Canada[1] Official language(s) English (58%) and French (22%) Indigenous language(s) Abenaki, A …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”